Before you go further—take 2 minutes of silence. Become aware of your breathing. Note that the very breath you breathe is a gift from God.
I cannot see into your soul or into your heart or read your mind. What is going on on the inside of you is a mystery to me. Now, what is on the inside will eventually make itself known, but we truly cannot know what is going on inside another person at any given moment. We know this and so live with a private interior life. Our thoughts are ours. Our feelings are ours. Our daydreams or fears or anxieties are all our own.
But, God knows. Read this out loud:
12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.Hebrews 4:12–13 (NLT)
The Jesus follower becomes more and more aware that while we are given autonomy in our interior life, God shares that space with us. Now, you, like me, might blush a bit when we come to realize that God is aware of what we’ve thought: a lustful bit there, a surge of hatred, a short story through which your recent ‘enemy’ gets the justice you think they deserve.
You might think, well, aren’t you glad, Isaac, that my thoughts and interior feelings never get out? Jesus confronts the Pharisees about this very idea. He lets them know that what is in the heart will eventually come out.
18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.Matthew 15:18–19 (NLT)
This is why Jesus says,
8 Flourishing are the pure in heart because they will see God.Matthew 5:8
Jesus is interested in changing our hearts. He is interested in aligning our feelings, motivations and imaginations to his way.
It might be hard for you to imagine that Jesus could change your interior thoughts. You might be someone who has to work really hard to keep your resentment, bitterness, lust or duplicity from being known. You might have even come to believe that Jesus may be able to help you keep that all in, but the torment of your soul is untouchable.
That is a lie from the enemy.
Jesus wants us to flourish.
As we continue through the Sermon on The Mount (Matt 5-7), we are going to over and over have to confront our motives and interior life.
Jesus desires that you would become a person of love. And, a person of love doesn’t just work to restrain their interior life, but their interior life overflows with joy.
Read the following prayer:
Lord, my heart is yours. I ask you to give me the courage to invite you into my interior life so that I can flourish as a person of love. Today, I ask you to reveal to me the places of resentment, lust and deceit. Heal me. Amen.