Friday, July 17, 2009

Miles Apart

"And so the Lord says, 'These people say they are mine. They honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.'" Isaiah 29:13

I'm usually not that emotional. In fact, I've been praying for the Lord to soften my heart. After years of building a wall and being strong, it takes a lot to penetrate this tough exterior. This verse had me sobbing on the floor beside my bed. Wounds from a Friend. God was speaking to me.

I know this verse well. I've quoted it. I've used it to reflect the actions of others. I've prided myself in having a 'close heart'. I could write volumes around it. I could impress and astound you with profound thoughts that great minds have shared in regards to this teaching, but I'd be doing the very thing this verse warns against. I'd be honouring the Lord with my words, while my heart is far from Him.

Oh Lord, I'm so tired of words. Growing up in the church I know them all. I can easily persuade and move emotions with my pen. I know how to express thoughts to evoke and manipulate a desired response. Writing is often my way of wearing a mask. I can hide behind sentences and paragraphs.

Like children who holler out "Jesus" for every question asked in Sunday School, I know the expected response and can give it out with clarity and conviction. But, where is my heart?

My heart is far from the Lord. My heart is immersed in lesser things. My heart is cold and dry. My heart is resentful and envious. My heart is jealous and angry. My heart is hurt and confused. My heart is repentant and broken. My heart is weeping and longing to see the Lord. My heart is tired.

My worship is nothing. It's lost it's love and passion. It stands when called to stand and sits when told to sit. Where is that unbridled desire that used to burn for more? Complacent and content to conform, the call to contagious joy is gone.

Lord, Your Word says, "The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord." (Isaiah 29:19) Father, I need that filling of 'fresh Joy'.

God, empty me completely so that You can begin a new work within. I need to see You. Lord, I beg for a revelation. Not answers. Not action. I need Your abiding presence. I need to know You are here in this very room. I need to see Your smile. I need to feel Your touch. I need to rest my head on Your shoulder and be embraced by Your loving arms.

Lord, I desperately need only You.

Father, please forgive my wayward heart. Remove again all other gods that have taken Your place. Lord, remove the pressure of performance and the longing to be loved by anyone but You. Remove comparison and competition and replace it with acceptance and assurance. Bridge the gap Lord, between my heart and Your presence. We've been miles apart.

"I'm so tired. I'm tired. I've read every book. I've sung every song. My mind may be right, but my heart feels so wrong." ("Could You Be Messiah?")

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Danielle said...

I do not have words. I see your heart... and it mirrors mine.

Thank you for that video. I have saved it and want to share it with my husband. It was beautiful and moving. I've never heard it before.

Praying that God would fill you with His presence like never before.

Love in Christ

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

I'm sorry that I have to miss out on the wonderful videos you leave for us because of my slow dial-up internet! But I can so identify with the words you have put down today! So often I,too, have all the right answers on the surface but in my heart I have questions.

Thanks for being real today Joy!

God bless you!


Unreasonable Grace said...

Joy, tears filled my eyes as I read your post. Seems as though you've been reading my mail. Thank you for your total transparency.

Tulabell said...

What a humbling post...I often sometimes think I am being diligent in my efforts to praise the Lord but like you said, so often it is the motion of it knowing the response it will create. I also keep a lot of my worship to myself and have yet to experience sharing it abundantly and not fearing what others will think. When I do this I know how strong my heart can become.

I find that my heart is very soft when it comes to tribulation, but when there is none it is hard to stir the heart to empty emotion and let God in. Why is this so hard to do? To praise Him with happiness from my heart has been sometimes harder for me than to be humble and seek blessing in a time of trial.

~Grace and Peace said...

Your post forces me to look into my heart. And what I find is no better than what you have in yours. Oh, we are all sinners in need of our Savior.

Thank you for your honesty. And the gift of the video. Gary Valenciano was one of my idols back in the Philippines. (swoon) He was a teen sensation back in the day before he gave his heart to the Lord.

Genny said...

Your honesty is so beautiful, and really tugged at my heart. I've been there, too. I pray that you will feel a new sense of refreshment and freedom and hope today!

On Purpose said...

Go look at your signature of your blog...

Yep thats right!

You are His Joy!

Your heart is fully being lived out for Him...and even though it hurts and is painful...friend it is so amazingly beautiful and filled with purpose...eternal purpose! I love you!