When does your heart feel cold, all dried up, as if ashes have smothered a once burning fire? Hard. Chilly. Cold toward God and colder still toward other people?
When my heart grows cold toward my Lord, toward His words to me, toward all of life, really, there is a remedy. It’s a simple cure. Simple, yet hard. For if I’m cold, I find it difficult to move. But move I must. Away from where I am (far from God) and toward somewhere else (toward Him). I must pick up my Bible and read of His never failing love for His children. I must crawl into His arms. I must look to Jesus. I must fix my eyes on Him, leaning into His love, looking away from all others.
“…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
Frosted hearts melt in His presence. Hearts cooled by low-burning embers fan into flame when we look to Jesus. But what does looking to Jesus mean and how exactly do we do it?
“Looking to Jesus means relying on him. The word translated “looking” has the idea of zeroing our gaze on something with confidence…
Another aspect embedded in this idea of looking is that we look without distractions … this Greek verb translated “looking” actually carries the meaning of “looking away from all others toward one”… This makes absolute sense. When we look to Jesus it means we are not looking at anything else. Looking to him means we turn our backs on all the other stuff. Forget the approval of man. Forget the consuming aim to leave a “spiritual legacy.” Of all the good things we could look to and draw energy from, Jesus demands our exclusive gaze. Looking to anything else will eventually be exposed as the hollow pursuit it is…
To look to him means to love him, to yearn to be with him, to see him as he his, to live in fellowship with him forever. One day we will see him, you know. We will see him with our eyes. Think about that. We will see the Lord Jesus with our eyes. We will see him and hear him and touch him. And for that, we run.” (Jonathan Parnell, Fighter Verses: What Does it Mean to Look to Jesus?)
To love Him and see Him as He is, we must:
- Pray as we reach for our Bible — pray God would fan into flame our cold heart.
- Open the Bible we’ve reached for.
- Read about Him (all of Scripture is about Jesus — for amazement as you realize how the Old Testament speaks of Him, I recommend Nancy Guthrie’s The One Year Book of Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament).
- Pause and meditate on what we’ve read – don’t skip this step! If time is limited, stay with only one verse instead of skimming many.
- Pray through each truth God reveals. Pray His Spirit would apply what we’ve read, convicting, leading to repentance, making clear where we’ve strayed from Him, granting a burning desire for obedience to His words. Pray that God would warm and soften our brittle heart. Pray He’d reveal His truth and plan of love through each portion of scripture we meditate on.
We must move toward Him. If we’re determined to pretend we care about our cold heart, but secretly desire to stay distant from God, we’ll never move. We’ll continue to draw energy from the ashes of all the other stuff. We’ll not pick up our Bible. We’ll not meditate on and apply what we’ve read. We’ll not be warmed by joy inconceivable.
O Father, restore unto me the joy of Your salvation, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:12)