When God Owns a Heart

“Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him… When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.’ So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this command before he died: “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.’ Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, ‘Behold, we are your servants.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. 

So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years. And Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’” Genesis 50:1,15-22,24

When God owns a heart, it knows no guile. Joseph had every earthly reason to be bitter, to get even, to take revenge on his brothers for their mistreatment, but his heart was fixed with his God, who had full residence there. Even had his brothers not sought his forgiveness, he had already settled in his mind that he was God’s and God was Lord and always worked good. He wept at their thinking he held a grudge because he had long ago forgiven them and accepted God’s providential plan. (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 4:32)

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Trusting God’s sovereignty leaves no room for self-pity or bitterness. When the heart is bound up securely with the King, the rude, strong winds of circumstance, unfair treatment, injustice, and cruelty may whip and lash, but they hold no sway. A heart wholly surrendered to God yields authentic kindness and selfless service to those who have done it wrong, because those wrongs have been borne and carried away by the Savior.

When God owns a heart, there is no time for petty, or large, grievances. There is no room for resentment, no space to tuck away and stack up wrongs, or hoard rights. When God owns a heart, He fills every recess with holy passion and hope for restoration, with pure and overflowing love and compassion. He takes over our feelings of being put upon, and merit. He transforms our disappointments into thankfulness. He is all in all, He in us and we in Him, and we are freed to live and love as He does.

What crannies of my heart need cleaning? Would I let go of nagging sins that muddy my view of God’s overarching goodness in every circumstance?

Father God, take up residence in my heart and claim ownership of my every affection, emotion, attitude. Fill me to overflow with Your loving grace to others.

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