Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Reclaiming the Heart

A gracEmail subscriber and preacher writes, "I really believe that our pendulum swing away from emotionalism and the heart has cost us. I think we are missing out on powerful avenues of help."

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For several centuries, a sizeable portion of the Christian church has been blindfolded to the powerful presence of God here and now. Today, across the Christian spectrum, many are seeking God's face with fresh intensity, hungry for a deeper personal relationship with him. Thousands of believers in most denominations (and nondenominations) are discovering the emptiness of human-powered "Christianity." These faith-pilgrims have seen the futility of religion based on external forms without internal life (2 Tim. 3:5; Col. 2:20-23). They will no longer sit and listen to doctrines which present God as a retired and absentee deity, reduce the Holy Spirit to words on a page, and exchange the gospel for a do-it-yourself salvation kit.

Thank God there always have been many solid saints across the board -- people who walked with God, trusted in Christ and rejoiced in the Holy Spirit. These noble souls always knew that God is there and that he rewards those who seek him (Heb. 11:6). Like ancient King David, they prioritized a living relationship with the living God. With that man after God's own heart they exclaimed: "One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to meditate in his temple" (Psalm 27:4). These people have known that God is very, very near, though unseen by physical eyes. They have heard his invitation "Seek my face," and their hearts have replied "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek" (Psalm 27:8). Many who seek God are still unrelated to the church, often because the church has not seemed to share that same agenda.

The greatest commandment, according to Jesus, is to love God with all the heart, soul and mind (Matt. 22:37). The problem is not that we sometimes love God too much with our mind, but that we love him too little with our heart and soul. The truth is that we are holistic people and God desires relationship with us in every aspect of our humanity. Our minds ought to tell us that the Creator, the Father of Jesus Christ who raised him back from death, calls us to religion of the heart, to worship from the soul. We need to be sure that our minds, hearts and souls remain always open to the Lord. There is no greater tragedy than to miss God when he comes calling because we are distracted by "religion" (Lk. 19:41-44). None of us has any special claims on God's grace or his truth. However sacred the name on our church door, it is nothing but false advertising if we do not focus on, center in, depend on and seek after the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father who sent him to bring us home to himself.

2005 by Edward Fudge.

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