Crowded Heart

Once upon a time, there was the me that God created, sitting happily on the throne of my heart. Then one day I let Jesus come in and take over the throne. He also brought along this “New Me”, who was supposed to replace the “Old Me”. But the “Old Me” never really went away. He just kept trying to get the throne back from Jesus. So the Holy Spirit came in to help the “New Me” beat down the “Old Me”, so he wouldn’t get the throne back. And ’round and ’round we’d all go, fighting over that one stupid chair.

Well – that’s sort of how it was explained to me. It was quite a crowded scene: two of me and two of God, all crammed into this one little bitty heart, playing a perpetual game of King-of-the-hill.

Really? That’s what life in Christ is all about? This constant, internal conflict?

For many years I believed just that. And I was miserable.

These days, I see it a bit differently.

Now, instead of a throne, my heart has a table. Each day, Jesus prepares a feast for us to enjoy together. He meets me at the end of a long day, sits me down and washes my feet. Gently He cleanses away:

all my sin
all my guilt
all my shame

until I am clean. Then we sit down at the table and enjoy a nice, peaceful meal together – without arguing over who gets what chair.

No more crowded heart. It’s just the two of us: Creator and creation, joined together, one in His Spirit.

Nowadays, life in Christ is all about finding inner peace. And love. And joy.

I think I can live with that…

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5 responses to “Crowded Heart

  1. Pingback: Who You Are | Ken's Back Home blog

  2. I always found that “who’s going to sit on the throne of your life?” thing just so trite and belittling of Jesus.

    “If the human race could have straightened up its act by the simple pursuit of goodness, it would have done so long ago. We are not stupid; and Lord knows, from Confucius to Socrates to Moses to Joyce Brothers, we’ve had plenty of advice. But we haven’t followed it. The world has taken a five-thousand-year bath in wis­dom and is just as grimy as ever. And our own lives now, for all our efforts to clean them up, just get grimier and grimier. We think pure thoughts and eat wheat germ bread, but we will die as our fathers did, not noticeably better.

    Once again, the world cannot be saved by living. And there are two devastatingly simple reasons why. The first is, we don’t live well enough to do the job. Our goodness is flawed goodness. I love my children and you love yours, but we have, both of us, messed them up royally. I am a nice person and so are you, except for when my will is crossed or your convenience is not consulted—and then we are both so fearful that we get mean in order to seem tough. And so on. The point is that if we are going to wait for good living to save the world, we are going to wait a long time. We can see goodness and we can love it. We can even love it enough to get a fair amount of it going for us on nice days. But we simply cannot crank it up to the level needed to eliminate badness altogether.

    The second reason is more profound. The world’s deepest problem is not badness as opposed to goodness; it is sin, the incur­able human tendency to put self first, to trust number one and no one else. And that means that there is nothing—no right deed, however good, noble, lawful, thrifty, brave, clean, or reverent—that cannot be done for the wrong reason, that cannot be tainted and totally corrupted by sin. As I observed earlier, the greatest evils are, with alarming regularity, done in the name of goodness. When we finally fry this planet in a nuclear holocaust, it will not have been done by a bunch of naughty little boys and girls; it will have been done by grave, respectable types who loved their high ideals too much to lay them down for the mere preservation of life on earth. And lesser evils follow the same rule. When I crippled my children emotionally (or when my parents crippled me) it was not done out of meanness or spite, it was done out of love: genuine, deeply felt, endlessly pondered human love—flawed, alas, by a self-regard so profound that none of us ever noticed it.

    Life, therefore, for all its goodness—the act of living, for all its lawfulness and even occasional success—cannot save. I am sorry to disappoint you, but we are back at death—faith in Jesus’ death—as the only reliable guide, the only effective opposite to sin, which otherwise can play havoc with goodness and badness alike.”

    (Robert {YouKnowWho}

    • Tom,

      I agree that the throne metaphor is trite (especially when accompanied by stick-figure illustrations). I can appreciate the attempt the make things simple, but it just ends up being simplistic, creating an unhealthy sense of separation between me and God, and me and myself for that matter.

      All of us on planet earth are faced with moment-to-moment choices. The hope is that we will choose the highest good in any situation, but we know we all fall far short of that goal. Certainly a spiritual path can provide valuable wisdom and insight to help us make better choices. But we are always free to ignore the wisdom, and often do. As has been said, “There is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path”.

      The beautiful message of Jesus is not that we will always choose the best, but that we are forgiven when we don’t. When we stumble on the path, God is there with a hand to help us back up, rather than a foot to hold us down in the dirt. His Divine Presence is a friend with whom we share our journey, not an adversary seeking to wrest some imaginary bejeweled butt-warmer from our control.

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