When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. The process of sin and death awoke with a vengeance to destroy mankind. The first thing they felt was shame. The first thing they did was hide. Gone were purity and innocence who once welcomed a walk with God in the cool of the day. Communion severed. Paradise lost. And a whole new world emerged, where sickness, pain and death became reality. Dark attitudes and defense mechanisms began to shroud the hearts of humanity.
What clothes your heart? What material is it made of? Is it bright and inviting or dark and reserved? Is it soft and pliable or cold and hard? Too often external beauty and natural clothing capture our attention, yet the heart attitude can be clearly seen in how we handle things. As Mathew 12:34 says, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
So what is abundant in your heart? Are you able to let go of hurts and disappointments? Or have circumstances caused your heart to become black as a moonless night, covered with barbs, where none dare approach? Difficult situations, which are inevitable, can make us bitter or better depending on how we a handle them. I’m sure we’ve all met people whose hearts are clothed with anger, resentment, or jealousy – and seldom is a kind word spoken.
Some time ago I heard someone say, “I hurt, before I get hurt!” That comment took me so off guard that I never forgot it and it caused me to ponder the condition of the heart. My discovery? Painful experiences had torn a hole in the garment of what was once soft and beautiful. The venerable became harsh. The caring became calloused. The joyful became judgmental. The results compounded the problem. Because no one dared get close, loneliness fed the anger and the anger kept everyone at bay.
I’ve known others whose situations were just as tough, yet instead of getting defensive, they protected their hearts by the covering of God’s Spirit. In their darkest hours, they chose to put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. They became better. They became fruitful. They became beacons of hope for others who had lost their way.
With these two extremes in mind, what dictates your actions? Do you make decisions solely by how it will benefit you? Do you respond totally by how you are treated? Or do you cover your heart with the Spirit of God? Do you allow Him to keep you from taking the offensive at the risk of hurting others to protect yourself? Are your actions deliberate and your words positive?
It’s so easy to react. To hurt, before being hurt. It amazes me how we can do or say all the right things most of the time, yet one harsh or ill-advised answer or reaction can change people’s opinions of us for a long time. It doesn’t seem fair, but it is true. This fact alone should make us mindful of how important it is that we keep our heart attitudes in check and our emotions in control.
Eph 4:22-24 tells us, “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” (NLT)
Our hearts can be clothed with His righteousness. We can walk in character and integrity if we allow His Holy Spirit to work a renovation within us. Transformation comes when we seek Him with our whole heart and are obedient to His Word. Then are we changed from glory to glory into His image and likeness.
I’m the author of: Created to be Creative
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