CHRIST IN OUR HEARTS
Many may say that they have Jesus Christ, but this could mean that they have Him on their tongue. Others may have him on a paper icon and say that he has Christ and honors Him. Another may have a framed image of the Lord hanging on the wall telling others that he honors Him as his Lord. But Christ does not need honor from us nor does He accept this as true worship. Christ seeks much more for He seeks the hearts of men as His dwelling place. And those who have Christ feel His presence in their hearts where they love and magnify Him. Thus, it is only when Christ dwells in our hearts that He becomes our Master and God. If we are not aware of His presence within our souls, all we must do is ask and ask again, and if we are sincere, He will come and dwell in us and make us aware of His presence..
What is man composed of and where is his heart? Man is the image of God, who was created body and soul from the clay of the earth, and then a breath or spirit of life was breathed by God into the first man’s body and soul, and he received life from the spirit of life and became a living soul. The Bible does not say that God breathed a soul into man for the soul was not breathed into Him, rather the soul comes from the earth. Thus, God did breathe a spirit of life and not a soul out of himself into man.
Man is formed of body, soul and spirit. The soul of man has three faculties which are intellect, affection or feelings and a free will. Man’s intellectual faculty is located in his head, which is also called the mind through which he cognizes, responds and remembers. He has a heart with which he feels love and hate, joy and sorrow, his heart being located in his breast. Man has a will also located in his breast, which decides what to accept or reject, or whether something is true or false. So we must know God through our minds and love Him with all our hearts, and firmly decide with our will to obey and worship Him in spirit and truth.
If Christ is not in our heart, but on paper or on a wall, then He is a plaything, for God must be worshiped as the first commandment says “with all our hearts, in spirit and in truth.” Our hearts are small organs but God can does choose to dwell in our hearts and He will fill them abundantly to overflowing if we approach Him in deep and abiding faith and if we open widely the doors of our hearts to Him. God is life and is the source of all life and by His dwelling in us, He causes our hearts to be filled with His life and delightfully enjoy the love He offers to all. We in turn, upon being aware that our life comes from God, will gladly return our deepest and sincere love to Him, and this mutual love will cause our hearts to jump for joy as we thrive on His sweetest love.
For these things to take place, we must read the Bible every day, giving our attention to the many important things which God clearly tells us; we must with all our strength strive to do all that He commands. We must not have the Lord only on paper icon or in a frame on the wall, but must have Christ living within our hearts and there He will quench our thirst; such consequent delight and joy cannot be found elsewhere. But we cannot we cannot welcome and invite the Lord if we have any contrary or corrupt ideas or thoughts in our hearts for they are poisonous. We must say with David the Psalmist: “Create in me a clean heart O God and renew an upright spirit within me.”
We must control of our bodies and not to sin, guarding carefully what our eyes see, what our ears hear, what we speak and what our body feels, for these bodily members need to be purged, purified and cleansed then we will have God dwelling and remaining within us. All the glorious Saints of the Church struggled in order to purify their souls and bodies and this attracted immense grace from God, empowering them to dedicate their entire lives to Him, and many wth great joy sacrificed their lives with hearts filled with love whom we celebrate as martyrs.
Love of God causes fear of God to arise in the soul, and this is as important as love. Fear of God, says Scripture, is the beginning of wisdom. For one may know the exact number of stars in the sky and knew the names of all the fish and creatures in the sea and the identity of all the flowers of the fields and the names of many animals and wild beasts, but if he does not have the fear of God, the other knowledge has no value, instead his knowledge would be like water going through a sieve.
We are called to the partaking of the Holy Mysteries with fear of God, with faith and with love, so we have a better understanding of how these three function together in the soul. We do not have great knowledge of God and know very little about why we should fear Him. But when God commands that is sufficient reason. For God will judge us for our faith and obedience as well as our deeds in this life, and they are not presently deserving of much praise for they are not complete and perfect . “The Lord never says an idle word and He demands a continuous struggle saying: “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect!”