The Makings of a Full Heart

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.  For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:3-11

Could Paul’s heart have been any more full? Remembrance, thankfulness, joyful prayer, the gift of a partnership, assurance, confidence in God’s promises, shared grace, determined purpose even in prison, affection for many fellow laborers, holy desire for abounding love and discernment and knowledge and purity, fruit of righteousness, Jesus’s glory and praise. Oh, and all those individuals whom he was addressing! He held them in his heart too.

If we had such a full heart for God’s people, we would not have room for catty nit-picking, comparing, criticism, and bragging. If we had a heart focused on God’s purposes, we would be so filled with hope and fortitude that we would not fret, complain, fear, despair, or worry. If we had such a heart for God’s wide world, it would squeeze out provincialism and pompous ease with broader love, compassion, understanding, and fire for the gospel. (Philippians 1:12-14)

It takes Christ-like desire and Spirit-led discipline to fill our hearts aright. Would we remember not wrongs and offenses, but the great deeds of the Lord? Would we practice deliberate thankfulness to God and others, in all things? How committed are we to regular, expectant, joyful prayer for our partners in ministry, that they would grow in grace, love, and wisdom, that God would bear much fruit through ministry, hardship, and the spread of the gospel? What time do we take to meditate on God’s promises, hiding His word in our hearts so we are strong in assurance, ready to explain our hope, growing in practical wisdom, affection for the saints, and love for the unsaved world, and will not sin? If we ponder Jesus’s amazing grace often, our hearts will overflow with His praise. (1 Chronicles 16:8-12; Psalm 119:11; 1 Corinthians 13:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18; 1 Peter 3:15)

“Thou that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart…
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Thy praise.” ~George Herbert (1593- 1633)

Lord, rid my heart of every foreign affection, taint of distrust, ugliness, impurity, and sin. Create in me a clean heart, and fill it with all things good that glorify You and bless Your kingdom. (Psalm 51:7-10,15)

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