Monday, March 26, 2012

Holey, Wholly, or Holy?

I'm sitting here right now with a hole in my heart. While it does create a heaviness in my chest, it's not a literal hole in the organ that pumps blood through my body. It's, instead, an emotional, spiritual hole. 

We all have these holes in our heart. For many of us, the holes form a well documented record of all our past hurts, disappointments and failures. Our holes fuel our insecurities, feed the fire of self-loathing and give justification to our self-sabotage. The pain ranges from an unnoticeable twinge to a tortuous affliction that steals our mind and takes our breath. For some of us, the holes fester and swell until they become the proverbial black hole, which feeds itself by sucking every ounce of matter into it's growing black pit.

How do we fix these holes? How do we make these holey hearts become whole and finally holy and sanctified to Almighty God? There are two steps:

1. Stop trying to fill the hole with things other than Jesus.

2. Fill the hole with Jesus.

It may seem slightly redundant to separate those two steps. It seems intuitive that if you are going to fill the hole with Jesus, then you have to stop filling the hole with other things. But in my own life, I don't have too much trouble with step 1.  I have a ridiculously difficult time with step 2.

Step 1 is all about finding your comfort, your purpose, your identity, your worth and other needs in earthly things instead of in God. You may try to fill the holes in your heart with food, alcohol, sex, ministry work, or any other earthly, temporary fix. The problem is our holes have infinite nooks and crannies that can only adequately be filled by an infinite God. Anything else you try to fill those holes with is an idol.  You are telling God, "it's better right now if I fill this pain with food instead of with you". You know that isn't the truth, but either out of fear or laziness or pride, you allow yourself that idol.

What I have more trouble with is putting God back where He belongs.  I know I try to fill the love and approval hole in my heart with love and approval from other people. And while it fills it temporarily, it eventually melts away and I'm again left with a hole, possibly even bigger than it was before. I know I should fill it with Christ's love and with God's approval based on His scripture, but it isn't so easy to do.

First, you have to make a conscious decision to not go to anything other than Jesus.  Now, that doesn't mean that all you can do is sit there and muster up some kind of warm Jesus feeling.  Take some time to pray.  Read scripture.  Sing along to worship music.  Praise God as you take a walk in His creation.  Seek out Godly counsel or people who will fill you with a Godly love.

If that alone doesn't begin to fill those holes, then you want to take a look about why Jesus isn't sticking.  Are those holes in your heart lined with lies that keep Jesus from making contact?  Are you in submission to Him?  Are there sins that damage those holes over and over again?  Are there holes that you haven't discovered yet or don't admit that they are there?

This process isn't quick, nor is it easy or pain-free.  It takes a lot of self-examination, submission and vulnerability to allow Jesus to fill the holes.  But once those holes are filled, your heart is made whole.  And once it is made whole, Jesus can work on sanctifying you and making your heart holy.

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