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July 10, 2014, 1:49 am

The heart knows, if we would but listen

In the spirit of the times, I was wondering about what it really means to have a personal relationship with God, the operative word being personal. I’m learning that as one starts his or her journey toward the Almighty, it becomes more and more obvious that when you get to the inevitable fork in the road, which path you take is a matter of choice, not circumstance, not fate and certainly not an accident. Once you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, what’s in your heart takes priority over what’s in your mind, and certainly what comes out of your mouth. When faith takes over, the claim of ignorance as defense for unholy actions, unholy practices and hypocritical conduct fall by the wayside. The proof is in the heart.

Like the child who responds in silence to the paren, who states, “I know you know the difference between right and wrong, or, I know you know, you weren’t raised that way,” the silent child knows in his or her heart that the parent is correct. No answer is the answer. And I believe so it is with God. No matter the situation or the circumstance, when you acknowledge God, you can no longer use the excuses that you didn’t know, or you didn’t have control or, well, after all it was an accident. This is God we’re talking about, and it’s your heart he’s talking to. You can deny it if you want to, but no answer is an answer and no decision is a decision. Faith in the face of temptation does not automatically mean we’ll always make the right choices or decisions. As a matter of fact, more often than not, we’ll let God down as well as ourselves. A true understanding of faith, however, will not allow you to stay down. Through faith and a personal relationship with God, each of us can get up and try again. We can even go back to that fork in the road and make that right when we previously made the wrong left. It’s called try again. Personal relationships allow you to make mistakes and realize the relationship lets others know, what you did is real. But what your heart says or meant, is understood. You don’t get a pass. But you do get the benefit of the doubt.

You see, this personal relationship makes you aware somehow of the distance between you and God, much like the distance between you and a loved one. Time and distance are supposed to make the heart grow fonder. In this case time and distance bring no peace and no satisfaction. For a true believer, one recognizes if God ain’t happy, you ain’t happy. Until you know the source of this angst and this anxiety, the choices you make will continue to be wrong. When you submit to the will of God, I promise you you’ll begin to see the path God has laid out for you. Hence, when you choose incorrectly, it’ll become obvious that you’re headed in the wrong direction. You’ll understand God hasn’t moved. You have.

“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Romans 4:7-8. Is this possible? I understand it is if I can just get to, “…circumcision of the heart by the (Holy) Spirit…” Romans 2:29. All things are possible to those who love the Lord. Again, as the child who knows he or she has disappointed a loving parent, there is no joy until the relationship is again put back in balance. Or, the couple who realizes anger and argument cannot last forever and must be resolved in order to find conjugal peace. Walk with God. Better yet, simply attempt to walk with God and trust me, you’ll know when you’re out of step. You’ll feel it. It will make you stop and think. You will not have peace, and we all know what it does to you when you don’t have peace where and with whom it counts the most. However, being in right relationship allows you to make the first move. It’s called humility in the face of being wrong. I guess what I’m saying is when you know you’re wrong, if you take the first step by reaching out your hand for forgiveness, God will show you he’s there. In fact, he was there before you ever moved your hand.

May God bless and keep you forever.