In a world full of false messages, we need to hear God’s truth, specifically the truth about who we are as God’s children. This is not merely hearing factual truths about our identity, but opening our hearts to receive God’s truth, which means we must let go of things in our hearts that hinder these truths from sinking in.
In this sermon, Shawna Boren opens up 2023 with an invitation to reset our lives before God and allow him to speak into our hearts. Her message arose out of the song “Here’s My Heart Lord” by Casting Crowns. We need to hear God’s truth and allow this truth to seep into our souls. We have been, and will continue to be inundated with messages, and if we don’t take the time to hear what is true then those other messages will control our lives.
There are two basic truths we need to hear. The first is the truth of who God is. God is good, faithful, trustworthy, full of grace and compassion, light, actively present, and, most importantly, God is love. These basic truths about God must be taken to heart, as lies about who God is bombard us from every side.
The second basic truth arises out of the first. It is about who we are. We are loved, a friend of God, restored, redeemed, forgiven, accepted, delightful and valuable. When God looks upon you, he sees someone he loves and delights in. Yet there is plenty of noise that gets in the way. Even when we earnestly desire to offer our hearts to the Lord, our hearts sometimes lack the ability to receive these truths.
One of the things that gets in the way is the fact that our hearts are wounded, bruised and tattered. We are living with loads of stress and anxiety. We have been hurt, abused and beat up. Many of us feel invisible, a state of being unseen. We can’t hear the truth about what God says about us because we only hear competing voices that define who we believe ourselves to be.
These competing voices often come from words that have torn us down. Words have the power to build us up or destroy us. We can be blessed or cursed through the words that we use. We need to receive the power of spoken blessing. Unfortunately, we live in a culture of carelessness, where we speak to one another without care. We berate each other as if our words have no meaning.
James wrote about the power of the tongue, saying: “Consider ships: They are so large that strong winds are needed to drive them. But pilots direct their ships wherever they want with a little rudder. In the same way, even though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts wildly. Think about this: A small flame can set a whole forest on fire” (James 3:4-5).
Our hearts need mending, and we need the voice of God to speak what is true. When we feel inadequate, God speaks to our hearts that we are enough. Jesus was a master at noticing those who were unnoticeable, unremarkable, inadequate. He was a master at seeing in people the value and worth that others could not see. This is illustrated in the story of Jesus calling Matthew to follow him, as quoted above.
We must not confuse our perception of ourselves with God’s truth. When we feel lost, God speaks to our hearts that we are found, that we are his. When we feel unclean, God speaks to our hearts that we are pure. When we feel as if we lack purpose and meaning, God speaks to our hearts abundant life. When we feel as if the only option is to live out of our brokenness, God speaks to our hearts healing and freedom. When we feel as though nothing is certain, the world is chaos, and the darkness is closing in, God speaks to our hearts his total and complete love for us and shines his light to vanquish the darkness.
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