And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30 ESV
I was listening to a sermon the other day about looking at life through the eyes of rules of the Old Testament versus looking through the eyes of love in the New Testament. As I let that sink in, I realized that my default for many years had been living a life of rules. I have always been performance driven.
So, I naturally defaulted to rules in my relationship with the Lord. As a new Christian, I was coming out of a life of chaos. I had been an alcoholic and drug addict for many years. I felt like the only way to be in a relationship was for me to be totally in control and act right. That meant setting up rules and regulations that I had to follow in order to be a “good Christian.” If I followed all the rules, I had set up for myself, perfectly then I just might succeed.
This led to many frustrating years trying to live by impossible rules. I was so busy “doing” things that would make me a good Christian that I had no time to spend with the Lord. Back then, I wasn’t getting any closer to the Lord because I had an Old Testament heart. One that was bound up so tight with the chains of rules and regulations that I had kept Jesus locked out of my heart. But the Lord had plans for me, He wanted me to have a New Testament heart. One that was built on the foundation of love, not rules. He began to show me that a New Testament heart knows that I am loved simply because I am His daughter.
If I never read the Bible again, never read another devotional, never listened to another sermon, or never went to another Bible Study, He wouldn’t love me less or more than He does right now. I do not have to “do” any of those things, but because I am His daughter, I will want to spend time with Him because I love Him. That is what having a New Testament heart is all about – living from a place of love not performance. It is about surrendering my locked up Old Testament heart to the Lord in exchange for the freedom of loving and being loved.
This piece of artwork is a snapshot of the healing that has been taking place in my life since I began an intimate relationship with the Lord. It is a picture of Jesus patiently standing beside me in front of my locked up tight Old Testament heart. Loving me despite me keeping Him locked outside. It is a heart that is wrapped and draped in chains with locks. A heart house of contradictions.
There are thorns to protect me from anyone getting too close. Yet there is the light of hope streaming out the windows representing the rooms inside where I’ve let love in. There are roses growing up through the large chain wrapping around the heart. Most of them have turned from black to red as I’ve journeyed towards having a New Testament heart. While there are still some vestiges of nighttime, the light of the sun is rising behind my heart house as the new day dawns. A day when my default is living a life that looks through the eyes of love, every day. Knowing that I am loved for being me not for what I’ve done.
Until next time blessings and healing