The blinking cursor on the facebook screen asks “What’s on your mind?” I wonder how the status updates would change if people were instead asked: “What’s on your heart?”
My heart has been so heavy lately; feeling like silly putty – stretched and distended. How apt the familiar term “heavy-hearted” is. I’m not even sure how to put the aching of my heart into words on a page, but, as the Bible says, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” This has been on my heart for such a while that my heart is spilling over as my mouth is trying to catch it and filter it. I pray that the words of my mouth are capable of doing the feelings of my heart justice.
In a word. Love. That’s the bottom-line of the disquiet of my heart. Why are we so wrapped up in what we want, who we think we are, what we think we need…deserve, even— that we seem to have lost sight of love? I am heartsick over the fact that we, as Christians, are too often so caught up in ourselves that we don’t even notice the ones around us who are quietly suffering. Worse yet, we recognize it and choose not to respond.
I was doing a Bible study recently that asked the question “What does it mean to be clothed in Christ?” I wrote down my immediate thoughts and moved on to the next question, but later that week, the Lord brought this question back to mind as I was doing laundry. Our clothing is very personal to us; we take time to pick out the things that flatter our figures, that fit perfectly, and that represent our personalities. So much of my wardrobe I pamper, washing it on the delicate cycle, hanging it up to dry.
God met me there that afternoon, right in my laundry room. Our clothing is personal to us because it represents us. We carefully choose it. Being “Clothed in Christ” is a very intimate and personal thing, like being clothed in our most flattering dress, or our favorite pair of jeans. What we are clothed in is how we represent ourselves to the world. Do we represent Jesus? Does Jesus fit like our favorite pair of jeans? Are we carefully choosing to clothe ourselves in Christ?
Is He so intimately close to us that He is what represents us, that when others see us, they don’t see that pretty new sweater — they see grace?
I’ve had this song running through my mind for weeks now – you know it: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…”
How my heart aches for a world where we are able to get outside of ourselves. Oh that we’d be broken-hearted at the realization that there are people, precious sisters and brothers in Christ, who are hurting—who need for us to come alongside them, and just love them. Reserve judgment, give them the acknowledgement that they need, and just be clothed in Jesus. What a selfish people we are if we are apathetic to that. What breaks God’s heart should break our hearts. God forgive us.
It’s so troubling to me to see Christians not encouraging one another. Why is the love missing so often? Do we even recognize it as a lack of love? Why the comparisons? Seriously, why the competition? God knew what He was doing when He handed out spiritual gifts, why aren’t we supporting each other in our callings more often, rather than being competitive? I long to see a world where we embrace the gifts that God has created each of us for, and allow one another to shine…because as members of the same “Body of Christ”, it is ultimately He who shines. We all share the same ultimate purpose. His purpose.
Why does it seem as if we are often lacking the confidence that realizes that your success is my success, and vice-versa? Can love and pride coexist? I don’t know that they are compatible. I see pride as the antithesis of confidence. Loving each other, supporting each other, rejoicing with each other–That. Let us be confident in that.
Lately, it’s my heart’s desire to see us, as Christians, loving each other more. Not paying lip service to love, but really, realllly loving each other. In sacrificial ways. In genuine Jesus-jeans ways. How can we love the world when we, often, aren’t stepping outside of ourselves enough to love each other well? I want my Jesus to fit perfectly; I want to wear Him well. I want less of me and more of Him.
(Originally written October 2011)