The title to this blog has nothing to do with the agenda of an activist pre-occupied with some social issue. It deals rather with “heart content” and how that content defines us as it bubbles out to touch the lives of those around us. It has been said that most things that we take into our bodies does not morally defile us. It is what may come out of our hearts that serves to defile us and to injure those around us. Our heart is truly an icon of ourselves at any point in our lives.
For those who really savor the interest of their Creator and others the heart will be an abode of peace and joy: a fitting place to house the Holy Spirit. Creating that environment however is a task most difficult and indeed impossible without the grace that flows from our relationship with God as we know God.
If we are awake to our responsibilities as Christians, most of us will know how often we have failed in maintaining our heart as an abode of peace and joy. I know that I have often failed miserably in this regard but now recognize that I need to engage a housekeeper to assist me. The housekeeper is the Holy Spirit whose function in our lives, among other things, is to guide us, convict us, reassure us, and provide us with the grace we need to live the lives we are called to live as Christians.
Most of us know from our own personal experience how quickly hurts and feelings of injustice can fester in our hearts and cause all sorts of poison to start accumulating that comes out in ways that defile the environment around us. We also know how judgmental we can be, how greedy we can be, how unloving we can be, how lustful we can be and how puffed up we can be about our own importance. These are obviously not the attributes of a spiritually healthy heart but rather symptoms of spiritual decay.
As we reflect on these realities, we need to remind ourselves that our God is a God of love who calls us constantly to rely on the Holy Spirit to provide us with the grace we need to tend our hearts. The task is one we might expect to preoccupy us during our lifetime. We are weak and the enemy has one agenda and that is to deprive God of our souls.
I am finding that one of the keys to effectively fight the battle is to strive towards “detachment”. Recognize that much of what we have around us while licit in its own right is there not to be “possessed” but rather to be sparingly used as it is needed to assist us in the plan God has for each of us to find our way home. All of God’s creation is in its essence good. Material possessions if properly used reflect that goodness. What defiles us and perverts us is our determination to mistake the “thing” for its Creator. If material things become the object of our affections, then we might expect our hearts to savor the refuse that comes from worshiping what provides us only with false comfort.
Take “heart”! Half the battle is being aware that there is a problem. The other half is being willing to do something about it.