When we speak of spiritual matters, we are speaking of the invisible.
When we speak of the invisible, we are left to use similes, figures of
speech, parables, parallels, and analogies. When we use these
constructions of grammar, we are trying to express what truly cannot be
expressed. When we try to express the workings of God, the love of God,
or the actions of Christ within a person's life, we will always fall
short of the mark. We will fall short of the mark because words can
never truly express His love, let alone the workings of His love in the
heart of a sinner or in the heart the redeemed.
YOUR HEART IS LIKE A VESSEL OR CONTAINER
The heart of a human being is like a vessel or a container. What you
put into your heart is a choice you make. God does not invade your heart
or the container of your spirit. God permits you to make your decision
about Christ freely. You are called to eternal life by the love of God
in Christ Jesus. Your decision is to either accept Him or reject Him.
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the
eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession
in the presence of many witnesses. (NIV)
Having or holding God's love in your heart is also a decision you can
make. You can make a decision to hold Him in your heart and pray in your
mind for Him stay within you as you walk your daily Christian walk. When
you want Him to live in your heart, you must open your heart, your
container, or your vessel to let Him in.
You can think or say the words "Lord Jesus, please come into my
heart." However, just because you say these words does not mean
that you really mean them. Too often, people want Christ in their hearts
solely for an emotional benefit for themselves. To have His love in you
and to sense His presence you must open the door of your heart.
Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone
hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and
he with me. (NIV)
The door of your heart is opened as you stand at the foot of the
Cross, see Christ's suffering, and feel the guilt of your sin pinging
your conscience. When you stand at the foot of the Cross and the grief
of your sinfulness overwhelms you, then your heart is in a position to
be surrendered to Christ. If you stand at the foot of Cross and do not
feel any grief or you do not feel or acknowledge any responsibility for
His suffering then your heart is not ready for His love. When your heart
is hardened and closed to the grief of Christ's suffering, you can ask
Him to come into your heart but you may not really want Him. You can
repeat the invitation in your mind but if your heart is not open then
you will leave Him out.
The invitation for Christ to come into your life may not take the
form of active words of invitation. The invitation may take the form of
offering your life and your heart to Christ as you fall prostrate at the
foot of the Cross in godly sorrow. Most often, we expect that every
sinner will use words to communicate to Christ. However, the invitation
to Christ must go beyond words. Like all communication with God, we must
have the desire in our heart and soul for Christ to come in and live
within us. We must have this holy unction underpinning anything we say
to Him. What happens, quite often beyond our understanding, is that we
have the vision of our life and our guilt for crucifying Christ before
us. Upon seeing this vision of our life and our guilt we then turn
towards Christ standing at the door with His light and love of
forgiveness. Then there is an opening of the door.
Just the mere realization of our need for Christ and our turning
towards Him combined with His willingness to touch us, forgive us, and
live within us culminates in His love filling our life. In so many
instances, Christ has an answer for us before we have a question for
Him. The Great Shepherd knows His sheep and guides and leads them.
Christ is already working to restore the broken heart before the heart
Matthew 6:7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans,
for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not
be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to
salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See
what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what
eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what
longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. (NIV)
When you fully accept that you personally crucified Christ, and you
then fully realize the gravity of what you have done, there is the
probability you will be overcome with godly sorrow. When this godly
sorrow comes over you, your heart breaks from the grief of your
responsibility in placing Christ on the Cross. Godly sorrow consumes you
and makes you want to change.
Some persons may not experience godly sorrow. Their heart may not
accept that they were responsible for Christ's death. There may be
circumstances in their life preventing them from going to an emotional
point where godly grief can be experienced. It has long been debated
whether a person can accept Christ into their life based solely upon an
intellectual decision. Only God the Father and Christ the Son can look
into a person deep enough to know whether the person fully understood
the responsibility of nailing
Christ to the Cross. We must understand that people are different.
They are often different in dramatic ways. Some people want eternal life
so in their minds, without great feelings of passion, guilt, or emotion,
they do ask Christ to come into their lives. They invite Christ into
their lives like they ask or invite a repairman to come into their house
to fix the washer or dryer. Does He come into their life? Yes, very
politely, very tenderly, always calling, always asking this person to
get to know Him more. It is because Christ does come into the heart of
every person who asks Him in, regardless of how the asking occurs, that
we must not be judgmental or demanding about how the asking takes place.
For millions of persons, the Christian life walk of faith begins at
different points and different levels of understanding. As we walk His
path, our understanding grows and our capacity to hold His love in our
heart grows and expands.
Acts 4:10 …then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is
by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God
raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. (NIV)
When you experience godly sorrow and grief over having been the
person who placed Christ on the Cross, your old heart cannot take this
grief and this pain. Your old heart is crucified with Christ.
Romans 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so
that the body of sin might be done away with,A that we should no longer
be slaves to sin-- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from
sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live
with him. (NIV)
The only way godly grief and sorrow is assuaged, or the only way the
crucified heart can be made new, is to express your contrition to Christ
and to express your desire for His forgiveness. Saying in your mind,
with no real meaning or intent, the words "I'm sorry" does not
suffice. Firstly, anyone can say "I'm sorry", but do the words
mean anything to the person saying them. Secondly, anyone can say
"I'm sorry" but to whom are these words addressed? If you come
to the Cross with Jesus hanging there and you do not fall upon your
knees in grief and sorrow for what you have done then words that are
thought or spoken are of no consequence. However, you may come back to
the Cross at a later point in life with a fuller understanding and a
heart more ready to accept Him.
If you come to the Cross with Jesus hanging there, and you do fall on
your knees in grief and sorrow for what you have done, then there are no
real words you can say in your grief that can match the condition of
your broken heart. With Christ, words are so often feeble. However, we
need not worry for Christ sees the heart as well as hearing the words.
Psalm 33:13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; 14
from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-- 15 he who
forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. (NIV)
It is presumed that anyone who has fallen at the Cross in grief and
sorrow does express their contrition and guilt to Christ. Expressing
grief and sorrow to anyone other than Christ while at the Cross seems a
bit ludicrous. However, in this world there may be a few persons who do,
on purpose, speak to someone other than Christ the Son, God the Father,
and the Holy Spirit at that critical moment in life.