Christine Caine - Arise and Shine, Part 2
There are some people that I just can't be around because it stresses me out, so I guard my heart. You got to love some people from a distance that's what I'm saying to you. Some of you, you can love them but love them from a distance. I have to keep rhythms in my life to care about my heart. I have times of prayer and reading the Bible and listening to worship and being a part of a local church and walking out in nature and hiking. If you see me on social media I'm always hiking some mountain, laughing with my girls, watching a movie with Nick, having fun meals with life-giving friends. These things replenish my heart. Hey, it's great to see you. I feel a real urgency in my spirit for the word I'm about to share with you today. The reality is there may be no greater aspect of our spiritual lives to focus on than the condition of our hearts. So how's your heart? Is your heart healthy, passionate, and focused? Is it broken or dormant or feeling hopeless? No matter what your heart's condition is, I'm believing today's message is going to be exactly what you need to do what God has called you to do and be who he made you to be. Watch today's show.
Hey everyone, I am so grateful that you've joined us today. I believe that God has a word in season on time, just for you. Now, you know, from the time that my little Sophia was a little girl, she always loved the theater. She always wanted to be an actress right from... She was an itty bitty little girl always wanted to be an actress. Now she started acting classes when she was very young and she signed up for every single school and community play. And she was at every rehearsal and spent hours learning her lines. She would watch little YouTube videos to get more acting tips. And whenever she came with me on a trip I took her to the theater as a treat, right from when she was a little girl she'd sit through the whole shows.
And Nick and I were convinced that she was going to be an actor, until this year. She auditioned for her school play and she got a role but she just wasn't as eager as usual and I could tell something had shifted. She wasn't as excited and she wasn't as passionate. And after a few weeks of rehearsals I asked her what's wrong, Sophia? And she said, mom I'm not sure, my heart's just not in it anymore. So basically all of my dreams of attending the academy awards so that my daughter could get an academy were basically dispelled right at that moment. But have you ever noticed in sports that an athlete turns up on the field, but maybe their heart's not in it. The commentator might even say that they're here but their heart's not in it. They're there, but they're not really there heart and soul. Perhaps a colleague at work that was once passionate about their job. But you can tell man that they're just coming into work now and they're just getting a paycheck but their heart's no longer in it.
Maybe you were dating someone and then you realize that your heart was not in it anymore. A hobby might've been fun for a season, but after a while your heart just was not in it anymore. Now it happens to all of us at different phases of life and today we're going to have a spiritual heart checkup, to make sure that our heart is still in this thing of following Jesus. That we are following and loving Jesus with all of our hearts and not in a half-hearted way. I'm believing God to soften hearts again today. To awaken hearts again today. To fill hearts with his presence and power again today. To overwhelm our hearts with his love and his grace and his mercy, afresh today. You see our hearts have taken a beating during this last season. And I want to ensure that we tend to our hearts and allow God to heal, to strengthen and ignite our hearts with a fire and a passion for him.
Our hearts are very, very important to God. In fact, when he gives us the great commandment he says in Matthew 22:37, that we shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. Proverbs 4:23, wants us to keep your heart with all vigilance for from it flow the springs of life. We are guarding our hearts because every issue of life flows from it. That blows my mind, to think that everything comes back to the state of our heart. And that is why we have to be careful not to allow offense or bitterness or greed or lust or anger or unforgiveness or despair to get into our heart because it will then flow out from our heart and permeate every aspect of our lives.
Matthew 15:19 tells us that out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. And that is why we have to keep our heart with all vigilance. Our hearts are the seat of our passion and the place of our trust. In the book of Proverbs 3:5 we're told, trust in the Lord, what? With all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. Our faith walk, trusting God actually stems from our heart and not our head. Christianity is not a behavior modification program it is about a heart transformation. God's after our hearts because he knows that if he's got our hearts, he's got us. Because the person's heart leaves long before they do. You could be in a marriage, but your heart's not in it. You could be in a ministry, but your heart's not in it. You could be in a church, but your heart's not in it. You could be on a sporting team, but your heart's not in it. You could be in a job, but your heart's not in it. We want to keep our heart in our life of following Jesus Christ.
I love the book of Acts 13:22, where we read that after removing soul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him. I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do. Can you even imagine, having God testify of you that you have a heart after him. And because you have a heart after him you will do whatever he wants you to do. Imagine having a heartbeat that it's so synchronized to God's heartbeat, that his will becomes our will. That's the kind of Jesus follower I want to be, a woman who was after God's own heart. Not my will, not my plans, not my desires but the very will, the very heart, the very plans and the very desires of God. Our heart is important because it's the seed of our passion. God is always looking for our heart first because if he has our heart, he's got us.
When your heart's in it, you will do anything. When your heart is in it, you will go anywhere. When your heart is in it, you will give everything. When your heart is in it, things are never an obligation. Just think back to when you were first in love or when you first got passionate about a new job or a hobby or sport, no one had to make you go and do it. You went above and beyond because your heart was in it. You had an, I want to attitude not a, I have two attitude. I think that more gold medals probably have been won by heart than by skill. More championships have been won through heart than skill. More great exploits have been done through having heart, more than skills. More barriers have been broken because people have had heart more than skills. More obstacles have been overcome through heart than ability.
Our hearts matter. Our hearts will help us to run a race and finish our course. In the same way that we need a physically strong heart in order to run a marathon, we need a spiritually strong heart to run and finish our spiritual race. We need to keep our hearts in this until the very end. If our lives are going to matter and we are going to go the whole distance and do everything that God has placed us on this earth to do and be all that God has created us to be. We need to keep our hearts in our faith journey. We have to be wholehearted. So I want us to turn together to I Samuel 16:1-6 and it's the portion of scripture where Samuel is going to anoint a new king of Israel. This is one of my most favorite passages of scripture in the Bible.
The Bible says, "The Lord said to Samuel 'how long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons'. And Samuel said, 'how can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me'. And the Lord said, 'take a heifer with you and say, I have come to sacrifice to the Lord and invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me, him who I declared to you'. Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, 'do you come peaceably'? And he said, 'peaceably I've come to sacrifice to the Lord, consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice'. And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When he came, he looked on Eliab and thought, 'surely the Lord's anointed is before him'. But the Lord said to Samuel, 'do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart'".
Now here's a case of the prophet getting it wrong. He thought that Eliab, must've been the one chosen by God to be the next king because of his external looks and his physique. He was the tallest, the eldest, the most logical choice. If it was today, Eliab had the best social media profile and feed. Man his selfies were edited and filtered perfectly. He had the most likes, the most shares, the most re-tweets, the most comments. Eliab had the best body, the best clothes, the best connections, he was the most impressive. And the fact was that, when Samuel saw him he thought he was the one. How often have you and I simply looked at someone or their profile or something based on external experience and we think they must be the one.
And then we normally follow that with a thought that says, thereby, I must not be the one, if they're the one. We're particularly susceptible to this in our image based culture. We see a blue check on someone's social media profile and we think, man they're the one. We see achievements, and looks and style and we think that must be the person we look with natural eyes and not spiritual discernment. Here's the deal, God sees through our filters and edits. God goes straight to the heart of the matter and what matters is the condition of our hearts. We can fool people, but we cannot fool God. The heart is everything to God and it should be to us. Skills and talents and training are important but nothing is as important as our heart when it comes to fulfilling the purpose of God.
When you know that no weapon formed against you can prosper, you can ignore the storm. God has your back. God is with you. Just because everything in your life is going cray cray does not mean you have to. If God never sleeps or slumbers there's no point both of you staying awake. I remember during a very intense season in my life a few years ago, and man, I just felt under constant attack. And then this one day I just got over it. I hadn't been sleeping. I had been stressed. I had been anxious and I just decided, God I'm giving it all to you. There's nothing I can do about this. I can't change it.
And I remember just looking over at Nick and I said to Nick, honey, if you see the devil tell him I'm going to bed. I'm done. This is it. This is in God's hand. And you know what? I'm going to sleep. God never sleeps, God never slumbers no point both of us being awake, I'm going to bed. And the fact is that something shifted in my life that night. God is the one that's on the throne. That knowledge that God loves me, that God cares for me, that God has my back. That I can trust him even though I cannot trace him right in this moment. You know, I'm going to go to sleep. You all I had the breakthrough of my life that night. It was the best night sleep that I had in weeks. So you have to learn to take care of your heart. I cannot stress this enough. There are so many things to navigate in life and it's just so easy to get overwhelmed.
So you must proactively choose to guard your heart. It doesn't happen by accident. There are some things that your friends might be able to handle, but you can't. So don't feel bad about that. Look after your own heart. I have some friends that love to get into every discussion and debate on social media and it doesn't affect them and it doesn't affect their heart. Well personally, I'm just not wired up that way. It gets on the inside. It messes with my head. It messes with my emotions. It messes with my sleep. It messes with my eating. So guess what I do? I just get off it. I don't engage in it because I don't want to end up on that downward spiral of stress and anxiety and worry. So I guard my social media consumption and it means that I'm not always in the loop. It means that I hear stuff after everybody else's heard it or I totally miss out on stuff. But you know what I do have, I've got my peace. I might not be cool, but I've got my peace.
So if you're willing to sacrifice your ego, you can have your peace. There are some people that I just can't be around because it stresses me out. So I guard my heart. You got to love some people from a distance. That's what I'm saying to you. Some of you, you could love them but love them from a distance. I have to keep rhythms in my life to care about my heart. I have times of prayer and reading the Bible and listening to worship and being a part of a local church and walking out in nature and hiking. If you see me on social media I'm always hiking some mountain, laughing with my girls, watching a movie with Nick, having fun meals with life-giving friends. These things replenish my heart. They protect my heart. They strengthen my heart. And you know, another important way that I take care of my heart is that I find a resting place in God and his sovereignty.
When I stopped trying to control everything and rested in the fact that God was in control, and basically I can control nothing or nobody. You know, my heart became way more peaceful. So many of us we've got anxious hearts because we're trying to control everything and everybody. Can I give you just a piece of advice today? Only God can change people. So chill out, hand them to God. There are some problems I cannot solve or fix but I can take them to the one who knows how to solve them and how to fix them.
Now another way to stay in peace is to stop chasing what is not yours. Man, we get so stressed. We get so stressed out trying to pursue, to acquire, to amass positions and friends and stuff that God never willed for us to have. So save your strength for your purpose. I can't do everything that everybody wants me to do and be at peace. I have to learn to say no. I have had to say no to lots of really good things, to do a few God things with everything that I have. I believe that we need to labor to come to that place of rest. Hebrews 4:11 tells that. And then from this place of rest in God, we can trust God, and then we'd labor out of that place of peace. There's a risk that is given and there's a risk that's to be found. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. A rest that is given, our hearts can find rest in Jesus. Will you go to him today? Are you feeling weary? Would you go to Jesus? Are you feeling burdened? Would you go to Jesus?
He's waiting for you. He can carry what you can't. He could do what you can't. He is God and we are not. Another way to maintain our peace is to eliminate strife from our life. The enemy will try to make you give up your peace through strife, contentions and quarreling. We read in Proverbs 20:3 that, it is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. I cannot believe how out of control social media is when it comes to gossip, to slander, to strive, to arguing, to dissensions, to quarreling and just flat out ungodliness. And I'm talking between Christians, the whole world is watching and it's just so sad. We say things online we would never say to someone's face offline and it's always wrong. If you come from a home or workplace where there was constant strife then you know how toxic that environment is.
How much wasted energy is used up and there's little more demoralizing in life than the stress that is caused by strife. So do what you need to do to get the strife out of your life. Change friend groups, unfollow people, go to counseling, deal with those things that trigger you. Take as much responsibility as you can for your inner world and environment. Peace trust me, it's a beautiful thing. The older I get, the more peace I long for. Another way to have a heart that is not anxious is to learn to find your contentment in God. We read in I Timothy 6:6 that, Godliness with contentment is great gain. So often we think that we will find contentment in people or in places or in things, but you will never find your ultimate significant, security, hope or joy anywhere else, but in Jesus. Other things may last for fleeting moment, but most people disappoint us at some point. Things break at some point. Things are lost at some point. Only Jesus remains forever.
I want to remind you, that contentment is not resignation or complacency or satisfaction or inaction. It does not mean, I just sit on a mat and accept my lot in life. I believe the faith adventure moves us forward but contentment does say, that I'm okay with where I am on the way to where I'm going. If you do not have a content heart you will always want more here and more now. A discontent heart robs us of life. You're on an endless treadmill of more. You end up stuck in a comparison trap and comparison is the enemy of contentment. If you compare, you forget what you do have. You minimize what God has done for you when you compare. We must learn to be content and we must learn to be grateful because the first step of contentment is gratitude. When you're content, you worship God no matter what's happening in your life. He's your source. He's your joy. He's your peace. He's your hope. But contentment is not a natural state because everything in life is designed to make you feel that you are not enough, that you do not have enough, that you never will be enough. We wish we had a little bit more, that we were a little bit more, that we could do a little bit more and then we would be okay.
But we need to understand that we don't have to measure up to anyone else's enough because we have a God who is more than enough. I may not be where I want to be but I'm on my way and I'm okay. One thing that God has allowed me to do over the course of my life following him, is to keep this whole thing very simple. I do a lot, but it all comes down to this simple thing. Love God and love people. And I find the simpler that I keep my life in this very complex world the more peace that I have. 2nd Corinthians 11:3 says, but I am afraid that just as eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. Paul notes a sincere and pure devotion to Jesus. That's what I want to have until the finish line. A sincere and pure devotion to Jesus. Don't complicate things. Keep it simple. Love God, love people. Every now and then it's good to do a declutter of our spiritual lives.
Have we picked up some baggage we need to drop? Have we made it harder than we need it to be? Nick and I and the girls would tell you that I am the percht queen. If I buy two new shirts, I give away two old shirts. There is a place for everything and everything in its place in my home. I find that the more decluttered my home is the more decluttered my mind is. We have an entire simplification and minimization industry out there because people are being overwhelmed by clutter. So simplify your schedule. Simplify your home. Simplify your relationship. Simplify your commitment. Simplify every area of your life. Simplify your spiritual disciplines simplify your whole life.
So finally, if you want to guard your heart, stay in peace and you want to flourish in life then you have to learn to withdraw. I can not tell you how important it is to me to have times of solitude and silence. It keeps my heart alive. It helps me listen to God. It helps me to stay focused and not get overwhelmed. Even Jesus made regular time to get away and pray and recharge. We read in Mark 6:31, then because so many people were coming and going that they did not have a chance to eat. He said to them, come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. Jesus knew that it was important to have a quiet place and to have rest.
In our world that goes at 100 miles an hour we must find rest in Mark 6:46, after leaving them he went on a mountain to pray. Jesus found a place to pray. I wonder if you have a place to pray. You can only have a public life from the overflow of your private intimacy with Jesus. Do not underestimate the power of silence and solitude. I believe that you want to be wholehearted in your spiritual walk, to be in 100% until the end. To run your race and to finish your course. In order to do that you must be committed to guarding your heart. A healthy Christian life flows from the inside out and not from the outside in. I know we live in a world that is obsessed with external achievements and appearance. But remember, the Lord sees not as man sees, man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord God, he looks on the heart.