A cold heart packs a punch. I didn’t know that until the Lord took my heart of stone and gave me His heart of flesh. I once thought that being cold to others was a just passive expression of indifference. But that’s another name for hate, and hate is never passive. When God says, “Let all that you do be done with love,” He means ALL. Cold hearts aren’t an option when you belong to Jesus.
If you interact with people regularly, then you likely get punched on a regular basis, too. And if you don’t guard your heart, then the punching can harden it. Did you know that your heart can harden in ways that are very subtle? I really didn’t, until the Lord showed me the rock forming around the edges of my own heart.
I Started to Flinch
When we get punched a few times, we start to flinch when someone moves in a way that seems ‘punchy.’ Flinching is a defensive move in anticipation of aggression or pain. We can flinch mentally and emotionally as well as physically. What the Holy Spirit showed me is that flinching is a hardening of the heart.
I was pretty defensive when He first showed me this. Isn’t it perfectly natural to flinch when you get pummeled regularly? Yes, it is. But the Life of Christ isn’t natural. And born-again believers aren’t called to be vessels of the natural. We’re vessels for the supernatural, the divine and holy Son of God. And Jesus doesn’t flinch.
My flinching was proof that I didn’t have a clean slate with God, because I hadn’t forgiven the people who punched me. I was still holding onto the punch of coldness and the punch of rudeness and the punch of condescension. I was still offended by the punch of arrogance and the punch of rage and the punch of mockery. I flinched because I was becoming bitter through unforgiveness.
Vessel for the Love That Doesn’t Flinch
Seeing that was a punch to my hardening heart, and I needed it badly. I had forgotten what a privilege it is to be trusted to interact with so many people. Is it costly? Absolutely. Is the responsibility daunting? Hugely! But it is nonetheless a great privilege. “Let all that you do be done with love.” Think about every interaction you regularly have with friends, family, and strangers. Now ponder what it is to have love be the call and standard of each one. Enormous, right? But also what a gift to bear witness to God’s love moving out into the world (and the lost souls in it) through you!
It was right after I experienced huge repentance for my hardening heart and lack of love that I saw the power of a Love that doesn’t flinch. Two of my previous tormentors suddenly melted into warm and open hearts. It wasn’t what I said that had an effect, because I said nothing of significance. Nothing! All I did was take their orders and let Jesus love them. Now they are boons to my spirit every time we speak. Love broke through and I was blessed to experience it.
God doesn’t ask His children to take punches for no reason. There’s always a reason – usually several. It can be an honor and a privilege to take a punch for the Lord. In that moment, we can harden our hearts…or we can be a vessel for the unflinching, overwhelming love of Jesus Christ Himself.
This is a deep, penetrating, repentance-inducing message, at least to this experienced flincher, puncher and counter-puncher. Thank you Jennifer.