Finding your true self in God
"Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place." (Psalm 51:6)
It’s a Big Life you’re called to lead. There’s a Big Dream in your heart, placed there by God himself. You know it’s there, even though, like most of us, you lose track of it from time to time. It bubbles up in you, though, most every day. It comes upon you as a persistent desire for something more out of life. A desire to do something more. A desire to be something more. You know, deep down, that there’s got to be more to your life than this.
It’s like you’re being summoned to a Higher Purpose, and a Bigger Life.
Because, in fact, you are.
But there’s a difficult truth we have to face. Living a Big Life is hard. It takes work and sacrifice, and most of all, a lot of faith. Leading a small life is far easier and more comfortable.
However ultimately dissatisfying, a small, cozy, ordinary life is far less threatening. To die from a slow painless bleed seems better on the surface than to perish in the manner of a hero like William Wallace in the movie Brave Heart.
But then, no one around us would be set free.
The real question is this: On what will you spend your life? For it will surely be spent on something, whether consciously chosen or not. If you must spend it, why not then spend it for something as big and meaningful as God’s big dream for you?
To spend it on your own comfort or glory is the height of egocentricity. To spend it on trying to keep your heart "safe" is wholly insane.
As Helen Keller so rightly pointed out, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure."
To choose the greater way—not the way of safety or comfort—is to abandon your life to a Greater Power and a Greater Purpose.
It is to dive headlong into the rapids, knowing full well that in the moment you do, you relinquish your right to choose your own course. The ride through this world is no longer yours.
Your job now is simply to stay in the main flow of the current, to enjoy the thrill and glory of the ride and the beauty of the surroundings. And to laugh for the joy you have found in surrendering your life to a Higher Call.
Isn’t that the life you’ve always wanted, anyway? Of course it is. Because it is precisely the life you were designed to live.
In his book, Waking the Dead, John Eldredge writes, "[Jesus] wants truth in the inmost being, and to get it there he’s got to take us into our inmost being." But what does it mean to go into our inmost being? The Hebrew word for "inmost being" refers to our deepest thoughts and desires, the core of who we are. In other words, it’s talking about our hearts.
When Christians talk about the "heart," they often think they’re simply talking about emotions. But the Bible describes the heart as much more than just your feelings. For Jesus to get his transforming truth into our inmost being, he needs us to take a journey into our hearts—and let him show us what’s really there.
If you are frightened by the prospect of going into your deepest heart—don’t be. For the heart is the place where Jesus dwells; it is his home in you.
It’s the place he meets with you, and you with him. And he has planted treasures there he’s waiting for you to find—visions and longings of the life he meant you to have, which—contrary to what you may been taught—is precisely the life you really always wanted.
"Life to the full" isn’t about self-worship or creating a life that serves your flesh. It’s about becoming all that you were meant to be, being fulfilled in that regard and bringing that gift to the world.
To choose this path, to actually lay plans to pursue the life of abundance Christ meant you to have, is a brave decision.
It means breaking rules and busting through barriers that may have become quite familiar and even cozy because of the illusion of safety they convey.
It means surrendering your control to a Power and a Will greater than yourself—and letting him carry you to the very place you always wanted to go. "If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it." (Matthew 10:39, NLT)
That’s one reason the choice to live a fulfilling life in Christ is a radical act. We all live in a world that favors the mundane, the ordinary, the "just be like everybody else." There will be a cost to going after "life to the full" in God. (They murdered Jesus because of it, if you’ll recall.)
But at the end of the road, when you finally appear before the throne of God, you will be able to say with genuine joy that you lived well in Christ; that you went after the dreams he planted in your heart, and that you fulfilled your purpose in exactly the way you were meant to.
Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes once said, "Too many people die with their music still in them." Committing your heart to pursue "life to the full" in Christ grants you the stage where you can finally let loose your own special song and dance in the special way that God made you to dance—a way that no one else has ever seen, or could ever do.
Excerpted from The Transformed Heart devotional book by Michael D. Warden. Used with permission. You can learn more about Michael’s books and other work at michaelwarden.com
To learn more about what your heart really is, look up every reference to heart or hearts in both the Old and New Testament. Examine the way the word is used in context, and take note of all the qualities the "heart" refers to within us. Be warned! Doing this will likely transform your relationship with God—and with yourself.
"Lord, thank you for the abundant, fulfilling life in Christ that you promise to those who will give their lives to you. Please strengthen me with power through the Holy Spirit so that I joyfully step into the Big Life you placed in my heart. Amen."