When challenges come our way, the world tells us to “be strong”, “power through it”, “only the strong survive” and “just put your mind to it”. Sometimes we may need to hear those messages, but seldom are we advised to have a humble surrendered heart toward God.
Some years ago, I tried to power through and quit smoking, but it never seemed to happen. I quit about 100 times. My “just put your mind to it” simply wasn’t enough. Perhaps you can relate to something in your life you want to change right now.
So, what do we do when our strength to change things falls short?
You may remember the story of Mary. Jesus brought Mary’s brother Lazarus back to life (yes, back to life!) and later on she expressed profound worship for Him by pouring expensive perfume onto His feet.
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. – John 12:3 (NIV)
In those days it was common to anoint someone’s feet as a way to provide relief and show honor, courtesy and respect. However, it was not common to use perfume worth tens of thousands of dollars.
What was Mary saying when she did this outrageous act of worship? What was in her heart when she gave Jesus her most precious worldly possession.
If your heart is your most precious possession, I want you to see that giving your heart to God is perhaps your highest act of worship.
Whether your heart is filled with wonder, rage, love, shame, gratitude, temptation, peace or anger…or some of all that…God wants us to pour out our hearts….just like Mary did…at the feet of Jesus. As a pastor recently said, “He doesn’t want us to fall to the sin of “self-protection”…holding back from God what is most valuable to Him.” When we hold back on God, we put up a wall that He, as a gentleman, will not pass.
He wants us to humbly empty our heart and very lives to Him, so He can then fill us up with Himself. If God is trustworthy, if He really has our best interests at heart, wouldn’t you want to give Him your all?
Yet, the world tells us to hide our real heart, hide our hurt – get tough, solve the issue, keep moving, put it in overdrive, power through whatever….and not to talk to anyone else about it. Keep it all inside…where it will swirl around unresolved forever.
Conversely, Jesus say’s to put things in the light. Pour them out. Give them to Him.
When we allow the light (Jesus) to expose our hurts and sin, those things get illuminated by Him and then those things become reflectors of Him to others.
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. – Ephesians 5:13 (NIV)
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12 (ESV)
Mary’s act of worship produced a sweet fragrance througout the room. I believe that when we pour out our hearts and lives to God and then get filled with Him and His love, we will walk with a wonderful fragrance that fills every room we enter.
Lord, right now I want to stop and give You the heavy issues on my heart which are ______ & _______. I pour them out at Your feet now. (Pause and just sit here for a moment)
I confess I’ve tried to resolve these issues by myself to no avail. Lord, continue to remind me to bring my most valuable asset (my heart) to Your feet where I can receive the life You have for me; Your light. Help me to not “hold back” and try and solve my life challenges by myself or with human wisdom. Help me see that my coming to You is an act of worship, submitting to You in humility. In Jesus name, Amen.