Sometimes we are scared to look within. This book is designed to help you with the very sensitive task of tending to your heart. Laurie gently walks us through this engaging, interactive process with the Lord to completely transform our hearts. After all, we might not like what we find there. We might have the perfect picture of ourselves that we have manufactured in our mind's eye shattered by the realization that we still have weeds of sin deeply entwined in certain furrows of our heart. And then would begin the difficult task of digging down and pulling up these roots from some very delicate places. Perhaps, we may think, it is easier to be ignorant and let these things go. But if we let them go, the weeds will continue to grow, and the kind of fruit they bear will hinder our walk with the Lord. If we desire to bear the fruit of righteousness in our hearts, we must-with the Lord's help of course-explore these places, uproot these sins, and plant seeds of righteousness instead.
It can be frightening to look within. If the thought of digging down below the surface makes you feel unsure and apprehensive, please don't walk away or unconsciously lay this book aside. It may feel very uncomfortable to step into the internal, but doing so will bring about the greatest joy, freedom, and hope you have ever known. You will come to know the love, the compassion, the power, and the mercy of Jesus in a way you may never have known. He longs for us to come to Him. Our tender shepherd stands, holding His arms out for us. He beckons us to come; He entreats us to be reconciled. Listen to the Scripture in John 7:37: "Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.'"
We run, we hide, we cover up, we keep busy, we clean, we go shopping, we volunteer, we do anything we can to keep from being alone with ourselves and allowing God to search our hearts and find the darkness that exists there. There are things we know God wants to address in our lives, but we resist. We don't want to deal with the unlovely, the uncomfortable, or the unknown. Interestingly enough, the Lord already knows all that is there. He knows exactly what it is, and He has provided all we need to remove it. Yet, we resist.
True freedom, peace, and joy are right around the corner, available to us freely from Christ, but we settle for a mere simulacrum, which initially satisfies our flesh, curbs our appetite for the true food, but really never fully satisfies. We are left empty and craving more of whatever we are searching for. We often just want to have our needs met, and, the truth be known, we just really want things to be enjoyable and comfortable. And instead it appears as though Jesus is calling us to this drab, stark existence, a walk of death and dying.
We look around at the people who seem to have surrendered their lives to Him; we see all of the trouble and difficulties they face, and we want to quickly walk the other way. Whether we are Christians or not, the enemy of Christ, the devil, does all that he can to dissuade us from seeking righteousness, trying to make it seem even more difficult than it really is, because he knows full well that it is the path to life and abundance. The more we resist and push away the thoughts of our sin and our failures, the more guilty we feel-and often so guilty that we don't even want to face our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ! This is exactly what Satan (the enemy) desires.
We want to draw near to God and ask Him to peer deeply into the depths of our hearts. Trust His love and His gentleness. As you sit by yourself, in the quiet of your home, with no one around, faithfully and humbly approach your Lord, your shepherd, and ask Him why you resist. Please don't be afraid. Listen to the Scripture: "Perfect love casts out all fear" (1 John 4:18). You may not love the Lord perfectly, but when you are in Christ, He loves you perfectly! He has already demonstrated His love for you: "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
As you begin to ask God to search your innermost being, do not be frightened. You may very likely begin to feel discouraged or overwhelmed. This certainly would be normal, but it's not the intent or the purpose. Remember, He has gone before you long ago and provided for you in His Son, your Savior. Allow your gentle, tender, loving shepherd to probe into the darkness of your soul with His eternal light. Keep Paul's words in mind: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). You are in Christ. Your standing in relation to Christ makes all the difference. Hide yourself in Him and in what He has done for you. Preach the good news of the gospel to yourself each and every day. Take a minute to pause and pray right now. Ask the Lord to take you by the hand and gently walk you through the following thoughts about why we resist looking at our hearts.
Laurie has been teaching the Bible expositorily and mentoring women candidly for over thirty years. She has a unique gift for sharing the gospel, for communicating the truths of God's Word, and for encouraging women to know Jesus more, walk in His grace, and submit to His Word. She emphasizes our lives should be a living proclamation of all we have been given in Christ.