Story by Randy Grathen
I was reading my bible one morning and came across this verse, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
When we are saved, we are remade, completely new. Like a newborn baby, we must learn about our new bodies. We learn what Gods wants us to do, or not do with it. What is good for it, and what isn’t. We need to learn how to take care of it and to nurture it. Unlike a new-born however, we still have all the old thoughts and habits of our current life swirling around us – and that is when the trouble begins. At least for me. You know that new heart I was given? I did not protect it; I didn’t take care of it. I took my new heart along with the rest of me and went back to the old neighborhood. How long can one hang out in the same old places and not once again begin be corrupted by its influence?
I remember when I was a young boy my father took be to a Milwaukee Braves baseball game. I didn’t really know much about baseball at the time, but it was one of the few times we did a father-son thing together. (Side note – I don’t know if you know who Nat King Cole was, but I sat next to his daughter Natalie during the game. Wish I had gotten her autograph then. She went on to become a famous singer like her dad.) Anyway, the highlight of the day was when my dad gave me a baseball autographed by the entire Milwaukee Braves team! He knew somebody who knew somebody.
So, I get home with my brand-new autographed baseball and took it around to all my friends to show them. Then someone said “throw it here…” Well, an impromptu game of ‘catch’ started and by the end of the day not only were we playing catch, but we were smacking home runs into the outfield with it. I don’t remember if it was that day or subsequent games that along with the grass stains, we had rubbed off most of the writing until it had become just another baseball.
What should have been a cherished gift, to be protected and cared for, soon became indistinguishable for any ordinary baseball, and that is what I did to my new heart.
But unlike the baseball whose signatures could be rubbed off, my new heart is imperishable and indestructible, but it sure can get dirty and abused. The good news is that with some hard scrubbing (with the Word) and not hanging out with the kids who helped me knock the writing off it, I can, with the help of the Holy Spirit get it back in shape. Make it look new again. When God gives us a new heart it is the only one we are going to get, because it is perfect and indestructible, so we must take care of it. (Sorry, only one per customer).
I am slowly scrubbing the junk off of my crusty heart exposing the tender parts that God wanted me to use to, first learn to love Him, to show compassion and empathy for others and learn to love them like Jesus. The new heart we are given is meant to be shared with others. That is how we exercise our heart and make it stronger. The stronger our heart, the more stamina we develop. It is not much of a strain to love those who love us, but God said that we are to learn to love our enemies. That takes a strong tender heart, and I still have a tough time loving my own family members sometimes.
“Love is patient, & kind. It does not envy, or boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others and is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered or keeps record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Love is so important that Jesus said this about that… “In that day not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’…” Matthew 7:21-23
Now that is the scariest thing, I can ever imagine hearing on judgement day.
The Apostle Paul closed his letters to the Corinthians like this. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you always.” This is my prayer for you also.
For more stories from Our High Places, click here
To join Our High Places Facebook, click here