Cardiology is the medical study of the structure, function and disorders of the heart. In this mini-series of four blogs I want to share some thoughts around the importance of the heart, as revealed in scripture. The state of our hearts, is right up there as a subject matter to our Father, in fact it is His number one subject – above all else, guard your heart! Prov 4:23.
God the Father is a committed and highly proficient cardiologist!
The heart has the ability to have affections, to think, to guide and set our life’s boundaries. It also has an overflow; the mouth which in turn has the power of life and death attached to it, namely the tongue.
The heart is so strategic to all of life, we are commanded to guard it, (Prov 4:23) as if it contained the crown jewels. The thought behind the word is to show vigilance more than over anything else we have or own. One commentator refers to it as the master-controller!
One man in Scripture understood this and that was David. He was after all, described as a man after God’s own heart! Acts 13:22. This king, warrior and minstrel penned these words –
“search me O God and know my heart…Ps 139:23”
David had the confidence, prior to Christ and Calvary’s grace, to ask God to know his heart. This is high level trust and a little risky but is the kind of prayer Father loves and will answer. David was asking His God and creator to know his heart through observing, experiencing and reflecting. All of these are the core dynamics of what the word know depicts. David was also saying “let me in,” on your observations, experiences and reflections.
For David, there were two aspects of his heart that he wanted His Father’s feedback on – the thoughts and the ways within his heart and that through these reflections Father would lead him in the way everlasting. This word everlasting means the old path and is made of two words that differ slightly. One means the right way, the way a man should go and the other, the way a man goes by habit. David’s son would learn this from his father and his own experiences –
“there is a way that seems right to man but its end is the way of death. “Prov 16:25
Here’s my attempt at paraphrasing David’s request from within this verse Ps 139:23
“I want you God to test through observation and experiences the thoughts and ways within my heart and reflect back to me, any habits that are not leading me in the well-established path of life which is Your desire for me!”
David’s prayer would be answered, numerous times and some of these were not good feedback but every time God spoke into David’s life about the state and condition of his heart, David responded with humility, transparency and faith! It is for this reason I believe God defined David as a man after my own heart, who will do my will.
David was far from perfect, however, he always, apart from sixteen months of complete madness, went after and stayed after God’s heart! Like David I have prayed his prayer and invited God to search and try my heart and give me feedback because I want what David had and I can only have that, if I do what he did!
God is a proficient cardiologist understanding the hearts structure and function like no other, he designed it but He also knows the disorders of the heart and these fall into six categories –
- unclean heart Ps 51:10
- proud heart Prov 21:4
- hard heart Prov 28:14
- cold heart Matt 24:12
- double heart Ps 12:2
- unbelieving heart Heb 3:12
The beginning of the answer to that part of us described as deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jer 17:9 NIV Is to humble asks God to do in us what He did in David – search me and try me and give me feedback!
The next three blogs I’ll take two disorders from the list and share some thoughts.
One of Satan’s favourite weapons against the masculine soul is intimidation. The sole purpose of intimidation is found within itself – timid.
To overwhelm the masculine soul with a sense of timidity. Of perceiving and feeling the difference within you with regard to who or what you are facing. To stir up feelings of inferiority and inadequacy.
One man who the Father chose to raise, train and discipline was David and he had many opportunities to be intimidated but only once was he defeated by it.
Have you ever had the experience of standing in a crowd as two captains pick their teams. Your hope and prayer is that you’ll be pick first and you won’t be picked last. This was my first major time with the spirit of intimidation.
It’s important to remember that intimidation is a spirit. After all, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Intimidation will come through flesh and blood but its real source is from beyond.
David had a moment when he realised that there’d been a ‘pick a king moment’ and he was not even considered for the short list. A list compiled by his own Father.
How’s that for major league intimidation! Not even your father thinks you have what it takes.
In fairness to Samuel, this was his first time at interviewing for a King. As Jesse brought all his sons, minus David, Samuel said “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands before me?” Father answers his question – Nope. Not him. Not Eliab!
What happened next I am sure put Samuel in a sweat. He watches as all of Jesse’s other sons are paraded and rejected by God. Whoops!
Samuel asks an obvious question – is this all your sons? Jesse’s reply is insightful. There is still the youngest!
The word for youngest is haqqaton, describing not only age but rank. David is the little brother. The last one in the line but according to the mind of the Father, the first and only one on His list to fill the vacancy
I was never chosen first or last, when the captains where making up their minds but I do know what the intimidation of your dad not thinking you have what it takes, feels like.
It casts a long shadow!
From this moment David’s life begins to change and he faces many more intimidating times. When Satan knows that the Father has chosen another son to raise, train and discipline and take their predetermined place within His epic story.
He will try to intimidate the life and potential out of that son, all the way through the journey.
As stated, David had many but his most well-known one was facing the champion of Gath Goliath. Just before David enters the valley and they get into it, Satan attempts three times to intimidate Father’s chosen masculine soul of the moment.
Satan often tries to use those closest to you and he sifts David’s oldest brother Eilab –
“When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”” 1 Samuel 17:28 NIV
Two questions and two statements designed to intimidate David.
I love David’s response: “Now what have I done!” And he turned his back on his brother! David turned his back on both his brother’s opinion.
Coincidentally, what had Eliab been doing for 40 days but watching Goliath and doing nothing! Huh!
Attempt No 2. Saul wants David to look like him from a distance!
Years ago when playing football there were a few lads who had all the gear, even the latest Georgie Best boots with bright red linings. Some of these lads were really good footballs, others were empty shirts!
David was a warrior, he’d been waging war against the bear and the lion, protecting the sheep in his care!
He wasn’t a lookalike he was the real deal!
“David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.” 1 Samuel 17:39 NIV
This is not me and so he took them off!
Another great and prompt response to the spirit of intimidation.
Attempt No 3 Water!
“Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.”
1 Samuel 17:40 NIV
There was a moment, just a moment when David would have caught sight of himself in the reflection of the water of the stream.
He could have paused and thought about who he was and what he was facing. He didn’t. He broke any false reflection of himself, any fear based fiery dart thought by thrusting his hands through and onto his stock choice of weapon – a stone!
It was a moment the enemy could have used to put him in pause.
To get him look at who he was, where he’d come from and what people thought of him.
David’s hand breaks through the water and demolish any attempt at passing on an old reflection.
David was not a captive to his past and its opinions by endless reflection.David was compelled by who his Father was and where he was taking him.
David’s focus was not on who was waiting for him in the valley:Goliath.But who was waiting upon him in the valley His God!
David’s hand broke up the reflection and released the pebble and he knew his God would do the rest.
David knew this public gigantic moment was very similar in kind to his private moments of killing bears and lions.
We need to have private victories that precede and prepare us for public ones!
Intimidation has to be dealt with otherwise our masculine soul stays on the side watching the action and forfeiting the benefits of victory. See 1 Sam 17:25.
It is a wonderful thing to be led back to the double take in the margins which was written in your own hand.
It’s one of the great joys of the Holy Spirit to double take us, get our attention and lead us into truth.
I know that when He is engaging me in this process I will experience more freedom and liberty in my soul, mind, emotions and then down stream into my life and contexts! I am learning to honour these moments with my full attention.
Pay attention is all the way through both the book of proverbs and my school days!
What did I write in the margin? Wow and appropriate.
These were in response to an amazingly succinct sentence written by Alec Motyer in his commentary on Philippians –
“As we become in experience what we already are by grace!”
As we become in experience is the language of appropriation and this is a lost spiritual discipline. This discipline empowers and enables us to become in our day to day what we are already, the day we reunited with His grace.
” yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name He gave the right to become children of God.” Jn 1:12 NIV
He gave the right are vital words to grasp in relation to the dynamic of appropriation.
The use of appropriate in our culture is predominately about taking what you have no permission or authority to take.
It’s not yours so you cannot take, use or appropriate it!
The Father gave permission and authority to ALL who received and believed His Son and His work, to make their own, ALL He has given us in Christ.
Who we are. What we been given. What we can do.
Identifying with His work is the beginning but not the end of our journey back to Father.
Making real to our experience and contexts, all He has done, given and commanded is!
And the shorthand for that is appropriation
We cannot be more connected, loved, empowered, resourced, protected and thought of because we are in Christ and seated at the right hand of Father.
We have the best seat in the house. This is hospitality beyond five star.
These and many more truths are a part of being in Christ and yet for many the reality of their day to day is anything but!
Every time I eat the appropriate nutrition, take in the appropriate hydration and lift the appropriate weights I appropriate to my body, life and world what is there but needs to become visible!
The Holy Spirit’s primary role after conferring on us the spirit of sonship (adoption) is to testify or witness to our spirits that we are children, heirs and co-heirs!
He double takes us, show us the truth that’s already been given and reveals to us the principles we need to work to make His finished work a reality in our day to day.
I call this my ‘road work!’ My punch the clock workouts!
The only work that made me worthy and deserving of His grace has been done. My ‘road work’ empowers me to become in experience what I already am by grace.
To make visible what is invisible at the moment!
To bring from His dimension into my dimension.
To use theological language justification is all gift. Sanctification is graft!
I am three weeks into a lifestyle change. I say lifestyle change not diet because diet infers an end date, whereas lifestyle change; well…!
As part of my prep, I have read and am re-reading my notes, from Bigger, Leaner, Stronger by Michael Matthews. An excellent, challenging, informative and empowering read.
This book has reminded me of the power of the immutable law of combination that my Father has put in place and also the mantra – principles work if you work the principles! To which I would add the importance of finding and understanding the principles.
In the past, I have not bottomed this rule and acted but not with a full enough understanding, so my application did not bring transformation!
The science underpinning the gains that can be experienced post weight training has really captured my imagination and heart and has me saying over and over again – “that’s how He is!
His grace always gives us more than we can imagine or ask. Eph 3:20
This principle is at the core of His character and one example of it is found in Luke 6:38 –
“Give and it will be given to you: A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive.””Luke 6:38 NET
The measure you use, not hold, He will use to measure back to you…..but
Pressed down, shaken together, running over!
The picture of The Father in this interaction of measure and measuring back reveals how committed He is to the law of return.
Three times He adds to the measure, pressing and shaking until every part of the measure is full and as a result begins to over flow!
He keeps working after we have used the measure, making sure we have the return on our effort.
The science supporting proteolysis is ‘so how He is,’ and in some clinical test where a post infusion of amino acid mixture was given, they saw increases of between 30 – 100% of protein synthesis! Cf Mark 4:20
The stats regarding carbs post training is also indicative of who He is. A carb post meal workout resulted in elevation of insulin levels that were still working 2 – 5hrs after all the effort of the sets and reps!
Father does not help those who help themselves.
He honours those who work the principles He’s put in place and to those who acknowledge and honour him He makes a greater promise –
“I will do exceedingly abundantly above all you can imagine of ask, according to the power that’s at work within you. Eph 3:20
The exceeding abundance of the Father is waiting to be draw upon or downloaded.
He’s waiting for someone to set the bar and beginning repping with it!
“Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, so the LORD spread out his wings and took him, he lifted him up on his pinions.” Deuteronomy 32:11 NET
What do you do when the one who has been caring for you, suddenly starts to destroy what you’ve been comfortable in?
Their action produces a force that destroys the comfortable and clears the ledge, which has been home?
The above are the results of the mother eagle ‘encouraging’ her young to leave the nest and ledge and release their potential.
The nest and the ledge have been necessary and important for a season but now it’s time to soar.
This deliberate activity of the eagle is used as an illustration of the Father’s love to His own. Indeed, the sentence structure of the verse indicates ‘habitual or typically behaviour.’
In my local parlance – “Its how He is!”
Typically, Father will at sometime, mess with the nest and clear the ledge, to release the potential that’s dormant!
Desiring to be comfortable is at the core of being human and yet so too is being disturbed and stirred into action! Comfortable is much easier and like anything will become a habit if another option is not chosen.
The only constant for the disciple of The Father, is change!
We are all being change from one degree of glory to the next! 2 Cor 3:18
Are things in our world being stirred?
Are will feeling the ‘draft and down force’ of the Father?
Is the comfortable falling apart?
Are we on the ledge and there’s nowhere to hide?
Father is probably at work and it’s time to take the leap and leave the ledge!
The promise for ‘ledge leapers’ is that He will spread His wings, catch and carry us to the next part of our progress and maturity.
Maybe it’s time to stop flapping about His flapping and take up His offer of a lift!