Spring is approaching, the season of hope, reminding us of new life, the promise of warmer days, sunshine and spring flowers. God’s word reminds us of the hope that he has given us in our hearts for all seasons through to eternity. Romans 15 v 13 –“ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
There are many references in Scripture to our hearts “Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart” 1Sam 16v7 and “He writes his law upon our hearts” Heb 8 v10 . The heart is at the centre of our being, it is the motivator of our actions and our behaviour which in turn influences our relationships both within our families and the network of our friends and contacts.
The heralding of Spring often focuses our minds on clearing out some of the clutter that we seem to collect throughout the year. This may involve sorting through our clothes etc. Often those which can be re-used are sent to the Charity shop and then those that are too worn out are placed in the rubbish/trash bin. When our children were very young it was almost impossible to sort through their toys, ultimately there was nothing that could be thrown away and that same process is being repeated with our grandchildren. The fridge is often the last thing on the list to be sorted, sauces, jam and dressing jars abound and somehow it always seems easier to take a new one out rather than search for the old one.
This process of spring cleaning sometimes needs to be looked at with reference to our own heart. For example, can I empty the contents of my heart, my mind, my memory and sort through the clutter? Are there things harbouring there that need to deal with by simply discarding them or throwing them away? What should I keep? When we first become a Christian we feel that a real ‘burden’ has been lifted when we accept that Jesus died for us, we experience a sense of freedom and our heart is lifted. Yet gradually over the years we begin to acquire more clutter. Are there things we need to let go of? Do we harbour feelings of guilt and inadequacy or even anger or resentment concerning particular people or situations. The Bible tells us in 1Cor 13v5 that “We should keep no record of wrongs”. Sometimes even comparing ourselves to others we feel guilty if we don’t measure up – so are we storing unnecessary baggage? Do we need to sort out some of the clutter? Often when we are faced with difficult circumstances we are forced to search deeper into out hearts. We all make mistakes but then so often we can learn from them and this enables us to exercise good choices.
There are indeed many facets to the heart that we are able to give away such as friendship, support, hospitality, encouragement, faith and prayers are just a few. In our own families memories are wonderful things we can give away, fun memories of family gatherings, holidays, special days, photo albums and all the other adventures that come our way. As parents and grand parents we are so thankful for all the special memories we have to share. This extract from Focus on the Family expresses this well:
“Our children are shaped forever by the love and training received at home. They will always be influenced by the experiences that characterised the family in which they were raised. No experience is ever completely lost. Even at 50 years of age they will remember and be guided by that which was taught in childhood. It’s an awesome thought”.
Encouragement needs to be given away especially within our families. Abraham Maslow once said “It takes 9 affirming comments to make up for each critical comment we give to our children. This puts an awesome responsibility on those of us that are parents . How many of us have been warmed and uplifted through prayer, either person to person or by being in a situation where several people are praying for us. These are all gifts of love which we can all so easily do.
Psalm 119 v 11 tells us to keep God’s word in our hearts and this will help us
keep the clutter out and focus on the things that God wants us to focus
on. Anyone for spring
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