My dad played an old cheap guitar during my growing-up years. He loved to sing the old twangy country songs — especially the Johnny Cash songs. When he became ill, he played less and less frequently. The old guitar would sit idle and quickly fall out of tune. Eventually, tuning the guitar took longer than he had the energy to play it. After several months, he completely gave up playing. Tuning the guitar took all his energy and stole the joy out of his playing.
Our hearts are a lot like an old guitar; we must tune them regularly, or they fall out of tune. They can easily become tuned to the world around us. Even worse, they become tuned to our basest fleshly desires.
John, Jesus' beloved disciple, spoke clearly about this problem:
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever (1 John 2:15—17 NLT).
Religiosity can seep into authenticate faith and displace true spiritual tuning with practices and traditions that replace tuning our hearts to Jesus and his call to live for God's Kingdom. We work on tuning outward selves and not our inner selves. We focus on tuning our external worlds and not our interior worlds — our souls — to the ways of Jesus. This kind of religiosity works on ridding our behaviors of evil and keeping external rules rather than dealing with the internal problems of the heart.
Obeying what God commanded and avoiding the things he condemns is important. However, the way we deal with them must involve our interior world — our hearts, our souls. As an old country saying I learned growing up put it:
Jesus battled with the religious leaders of his day over the externals. For the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law, keeping the external traditions was crucial for holiness. Jesus sternly warned them:
And then [Jesus] added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you” (Mark 7:20-23).
So, what are we doing to deal with the spiders in the corners of our hearts?
Yes, we commit to obey what the Lord has taught us (Matthew 7:21-27, 28:18-20). But, we also choose to tune our hearts daily to the will of God, with the help of the Spirit of God, by offering our complete selves to God (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
How are we going to tune our hearts to Jesus?
How are we going to re-tune our interior worlds to the will of God?
We have to walk with Jesus each day. We need to ask the Lord to use the Holy Spirit to tune our hearts and our lives and transform us to be like Jesus.
But, how do we do that?
We invite you to join us each day in reading a chapter from one of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), and asking these questions of Jesus each day as you read:
- Know from my reading today.
- Feel about what I have learned from you today.
- Do from what you taught me today.
Download a free copy of the "Chasing Jesus Reading Plan, and let's retune our hearts to Jesus!