In March, we talked about what it means to Reach For Truth and find others who will hold us accountable in our faith journey.
This month, we dig into what it looks like to Open Your Heart. When you open your heart to God, yourself and to hope, He gives more of Himself and transforms your life to live in the fullness He offers through Jesus Christ.
Life has often been counted not by the measure of breaths we take or moments experienced, but by the ticking of a game clock or hours and days dedicated to practices, driving to tournaments and the stretch of sports season after sports season. We pursue a life of athletics because it feels born in us, or a sweet surprise we’ve gratefully stumbled into. And we honor this life by giving as much of ourselves to it as we can.
Through long nights of film, early morning weightlifting and building camaraderie as a team, life has meant dedication to honing our skills and setting our sights on scholarship, the next level and personal bests.
As competitors, we’re wired for life on the field. But where is our eternal focus? How can we give our all while in pursuit of an abundant life God says we can have?
We dive in and bring God into our hearts’ motivations. We Pursue Life with everything we’ve got. We run after it. We’re intentional with it.
Over the next quarter, we’ll explore what it means to Pursue Life. Over the next three months, each of these themes connect to engage in intentional pursuit of God and His great call on our lives.
What is Life?
Life is the collection of experiences that make up the span of our existence. In spiritual terms, it’s eternal life through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection to pay for our sins and connect us to God the Father.
Before we were born, God set a number of days to our lives that we would roam the planet at a specific point in history. He gave us days ordained from the beginning, and how we live them out is determined by how we’ve set it in our hearts to live.
There’s length of life, but there’s also quality of life. We don’t know how many years we have on earth, but we do know how to be aware of the time we’re given.
But have we really savored the rich and satisfying life Christ Jesus came to give?
There is an enemy of our souls who would like nothing more than to keep us from experiencing God’s best for our lives. He works to distract and dull our minds and hearts so we don’t live out a life of abundance. But Jesus came to offer us exactly what God intended when He brought us into being: relationship, unconditional love and a vivid life full of depth.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10)
Open Your Heart
The first step towards a rich and satisfying life in Jesus is to open your heart and let Him shine His light into areas you may be trying to hide in the shadows. What are you holding onto that Jesus says to release? Where are you heading where Jesus tells you to turn around?
Opening our hearts to let Him see to all of our parts is vulnerable and often uncomfortable. We don’t like to think we’ve got things wrong, but if we’re honest, we’re not sure we like the direction we’re headed anyway.
There’s a longing in us for more that taps on our hearts and the rhythm won’t go away. And the more we let that rhythm move us towards God’s best, the more we can live in a way that others are intrigued and want to know more about the One we live for. So why not let the Ultimate Healer have His way to bring us into the light?
To pursue a life in full, our hearts must open in these three areas:
Yes, God knows everything about us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. But God wants to be in a place of such connection with you that you want to share with Him the deep things that are going on. He’s all about relationship, and if we can’t get past this first step of opening up to God, there won’t be much that’s genuine in our faith. If we’re afraid of failing as a coach, or busy comparing our stills to a teammate’s, we’ll never get to the point of letting God speak His truth into our hearts of who He has created us to be.
The more we open to Jesus, the deeper the relationship becomes for vibrant, two-way fellowship.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends,” (Revelation 3:20)
The more we open to Jesus, the deeper the relationship becomes for vibrant, two-way fellowship.Honesty with God is good. But we also need to be honest with ourselves if we’re going to experience any real, lasting internal change. Before we can begin a transformation, there has to be a starting point. That begins with baring our hearts and admitting that maybe we can’t quite do everything on our own, or that there is a temptation we struggle with that seems to drift us off course. Are we tempted to cut corners in our training sessions because no one’s watching? Or to toe that recruiting line into a gray area?
Be open to being honest with God about the motivations of your heart, and areas of struggle you’ve pushed down or tried to hide.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life,” (Psalm 139:23-24).
Oftentimes, we can be our own worst enemies that keep us from experiencing the joy of living fully awake to all God has for us. As we open to God and ourselves, we not only draw out the places inside that aren’t pretty, but also the pieces that give us joy and excitement. We were made to hope in Him who is Hope itself, fueled by the Holy Spirit to believe God’s good to us in deep ways. What do you desire? Is it to make a team, or make an eternal impact on your team? Do you want to reach 300 wins, or win 300 lives for the Kingdom over the course of your career?
It’s a heart-shift that says God is our Provider and Sustainer, and He gives enough grace to get us where we need to go for a life packed with hope and impact.
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit,” (Romans 15:13).
There is deep purpose and meaning for us, and God wants us to live in His freedom and confidence. The more we make our hearts malleable to God, the more He infuses us with the heart of Jesus to bring us to the fullness of life we long for. As we unfold the tight fists of our faith, God reveals Himself to us in fresh and personal ways that shift our hearts to not only be hearers of the Word, but doers to bring light to an ever-darkening world.
Consider: How have you kept your heart closed? How can you open up to God?
Action: Get honest. Search your heart to see if there is anything leading you where you shouldn’t go.
This quarter, we’re exploring what it means to Pursue Life. This month, our focus is on how to Open Your Heart. Join us as we journey through this exploration and prepare to Examine Your Heart next month.
One way to openly engage with your heart is through FCA’s The CORE, a journey through eight essentials on how to engage in God’s Word, be equipped in the basics of faith and be empowered to help others grow in Jesus Christ. Bring a friend along and join the journey! THE CORE (Link on a graphic maybe?)
Read the previous articles in the Pursue narrative:
Imperative: Read The Truth
God's Road Map
Connected: Pray The Truth
Dialogue: Prayer Connects
Intercessor: Prayer Comforts
Transformation: Prayer Conforms
Accountable: Reach For Truth
The Straight Path: Accountability Keeps Us Grounded
Mentorship: Accountability Inspires
Together: Accountability Calls Us To A Higher Standard
*If you read this article and aren’t in relationship with Christ yet but would like to know more, we invite you to go through FCA’s The FOUR that explains how an everlasting and fulfilling life with God is possible.
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