Hand in Glove

 

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His old leather gloves are worn and soft, wrinkled across the knuckles, cracked in the palms, permanently formed in the shape of his hands. If they were used for a plaster mold, the result would be an accurate cast of my husband’s hands. Clad in these gloves, his strong hands have dug gardens, shoveled snow, repaired cars, hung Christmas lights, even gently cradled newborn grandbabies in their broad, warm palms. Muscles, bone and sinew working together to perform specific tasks have given these gloves their unique shape. But when they are laid aside on the shelf, no matter how much they resemble my husband’s hands, they are powerless. Only his hands within them bring warmth to cold leather and strength to hollow fingers.

When I feel weak and empty I sometimes see myself as a laid aside glove. My spiritual form is made in the image of God. Like a glove, the shape of my soul is contoured by the life of Christ within it. But when I have in some way blocked His life-giving power from filling out the contours of my soul, then I am weak and ineffectual. Not that I have been discarded. That is not possible, for He promised, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28 NIV)

The truth is, I don’t always allow Christ’s indwelling Spirit liberty to expend the power He desires to work out in my life. Sometimes my passion for Him wanes, my eyes stray from His face, I become distracted by my own desires and self-preoccupation, worried and burdened by the temporal. And my soul begins to slowly deflate like a balloon losing air, or an unworn glove.

When this is happening, it takes me a while to catch on. I begin to notice my spiritual energy leaking away and I am less effectual within my own faith life and in the lives of those around me. So I know I need to draw near again. Set aside the tasks of the day and spend some time nourishing my soul in the Word of God, listening to His heart in prayer and meditating on His love and goodness. Gradually the fingers of my glove tingle with returning strength. Not my own but the strength of God’s power vitalizing my grip, working through me to accomplish those things He desires me to do which I cannot do on my own.

“For it is not your strength, but it is God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work, strengthening, energizing and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13 AMP)

It takes some time for a new pair of gloves to take on the shape of the hands they belong to. Fingers are stiff and tasks done clumsily, yet with use the leather gradually forms to the hand’s unique shape. I want my soul to be well-used, sculpted in the shape of my Saviour whose Spirit fills me from within to work out His purposes. It is a unique, miraculous partnership, hand in glove.

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Looking into My Heart

IMG_1360A small crystal heart hangs suspended from the curtain rod above my living room window, where sunlight refracted from its beveled surfaces breaks into rainbows dancing around the room. How can a tiny piece of cut glass contain so many beautiful colors, changing as the sunlight shifts, revealing new shades and shapes? In my hand it is just a cold, hard trinket but within is the potential for light and movement and beauty.

I wonder, what does God see when He looks at my heart? I am pretty good at keeping it under wraps around other people, if I need to. I may be thinking, she really hurt me with those words, but I will just smile and reply politely so my wounded heart won’t show. But I can’t hide my heart from God.

“God judges people differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 TLB)

God looks into the unseen center of my being, where my thoughts, emotions and spirit reside. It is the eternal part of me which will live on when my body is long dead. My heart is the receptacle for the essence of who I truly am. The fact that He knows me so fully could be reason to make me squirm — make me tuck things away I’m ashamed of, falsely thinking He won’t notice. Actually, I find it a relief because even with all my faults and failings, I know God loves me just as I am. So knowing how completely He knows me frees me to be totally transparent with Him, and ideally, with myself.

The little crystal heart in my window is a picture of what I want God to find when He looks into my heart. When His Son shines through its many facets, my desire is to send the colors of His character dancing around the room, emanating from ….

a worshiping heart, exalting Him as Lord. (1 Peter 3:15 The Voice)
a devoted heart, set on heaven above, where Christ is seated. (Col. 3:1)
a grateful heart, full and spilling over with thankfulness. (Col. 3:16)
a peaceful heart, because of Christ’s constant presence. (Col. 3:15 TLB)
a serving heart, working for the Lord rather than for men. (Col. 3:23 NAS)
a pure heart, with love for others running deep and true. (1 Peter 1:22 NIV)
a sincere heart, true and trusting because Christ has made it clean. (Heb. 10:22 TLB)

Because Christ resides in my heart, that is who God sees when He looks into it. He is well aware of all the human frailties and sin carried there too, but when He looks at it through the crystal heart of Christ, He sees only beauty, and that is what I want to shine out.

I can’t make my heart clean, but I know One who can. As long as I reside close to Him, He will create in me a pure heart and a willing spirit to sustain me. (Ps. 51)

© Valerie Ronald and scriptordeus 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie Ronald and scriptordeus with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.