SPRING IS HERE
Spring is my favorite time of the year! Looking outside, I see the flowers blooming, birds chirping, and everything is turning bright, bold colors.
As we watch the exit of the cold and darkness of Winter, we see the refreshing emergence of warmth and sunshine.
There’s something about Spring that resonates new life and fresh beginnings.
Scripture tells us in Proverbs 4:23 (NIV):
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
That’s so true, isn’t it?
Our words, attitudes and actions are a direct reflection of the posture of our hearts.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to get caught up in and weighed down by the troubles of this world. Overwhelmed by the disappointments, the health issues and the heartaches, and at times it becomes quite easy for my heart to be hardened. Hardened by my earthly perspective. Easily allowing bitterness, frustration or even anger to take root. And then, fear and anxiety take hold of my thoughts. Which in turn, can negatively influence my words and my actions.
Isn’t that how it works for all of us?
NEW LIFE IN JESUS
Just like the cold Winter season, our hearts can become filled with darkness and negativity. And it takes a good spiritual Spring cleaning to sweep out the cobwebs from the corners of our hearts. Scripture reminds us in 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV) that, as Christians, we are given new life in Jesus.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.”
What a great promise of new life to all believers! When we choose to follow Jesus, we enter into a relationship with Him. It’s a lifelong journey, and one in which we are constantly growing, learning and being molded.
IN THE POTTER’S HANDS
One of my favorite stories from Scripture can be found in Jeremiah 18. We see the refining process of God in our lives as told by Jeremiah the prophet. It’s a picture that, when I close my eyes, I can see so clearly. God, our Father sitting patiently at the potter’s wheel. Moving His loving hands over our lives. Refining. Shaping. Molding. Developing. Scripture tells this story from Jeremiah’s viewpoint as he recounts it in Jeremiah 18:3-4 (NIV):
So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.”
Shaping it as seemed best to him. That is just what God does to us. You see, God knows what is best for us. He knows the plans He has for us, the direction He would have us take in our lives. But we tend to step in and think we can play the role of God. That we can play the role of our Father, the potter. So, we start to come up with ways to refine ourselves, calling it “self-care.” Setting earthly goals and aspirations ahead of heavenly ones.
Let’s be honest, I do this as well. We all do. It’s part of our human nature. And there’s nothing wrong with caring for ourselves. It’s important to replenish our souls, but the problem that we run into is that when our focus is not where it needs to be, we are met with disappointment.
Disappointment in others, disappointment in our circumstances, even disappointment in God. We think we know how things are supposed to go and when they go differently, that disappointment takes a hard turn and nests deep in our hearts.
And honestly friends, from there… it festers.
Into our words, our attitudes and our actions. We begin to let negativity enter our minds, allowing our thoughts to be rooted in pity and despair. We lash out with unkind and harsh words. And we make choices that we might not otherwise make if we were focusing on the refinement that God brings.
But how do we do that on a daily basis? I think there are 3 important ways to Spring clean our hearts as we enter into this new season.
PRAY GOD’S PROMISES
The first way to clean out the yuck from our hearts is to pray God’s promises into our lives. No matter what our circumstances are, we can find great comfort and peace in His promises. These promises are found throughout Scripture, time and time again. They promise God’s goodness, strength, rest and everlasting presence. I’ve shared a few of my favorites below.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11 (NIV)
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.” Is 40:29-31 (NIV)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Mt 11:28-29 (NIV)
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Pet 1:3-4 (NIV)
REST IN HIS TRUTHS
The second way to do some Spring cleaning is to rest in His truths. Rest in His character and WHO God is. The entire story of salvation in the Bible attests to the character of God, but I’ve listed a few verses that I find helpful when I want to find rest in God’s truths.
The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” Ex 34:6-7 (NIV)
“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 Jn 1:5 (NIV)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jn 3:16 (NIV)
“As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” Ps 18:30 (NIV)
BE STILL IN HIS PRESENCE
The final way to Spring clean our hearts is to take time to be still before God. To rest in His presence and try to wrap our minds around His sovereignty. Busyness can take its toll on our hearts and our minds. Rushing from one thing to the next, and not making time to just be still and worship Our Creator. Scripture reminds us of the importance of being still in several great verses. Below are just a few.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Ps 46:10 (NIV)
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Ex 14:14 (NIV)
“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.” Ps 37:7 (NIV)
“But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.” Ps 131:2 (NIV)
By taking time to reflect on the status of our hearts, we can redirect our focus toward God.
. That cleansing of our hearts will ultimately flow through to our thoughts, words and actions.
Won’t you join me in the newness of this Spring season as we take time to turn our eyes up to Heaven as we clean out our hearts?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for this new season of Spring. Help us to take time to reflect on areas of our hearts that need to be cleaned out and redirected toward you. Let us focus on praying your promises into our lives, resting in your truths, and being still in your presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.