“I will not let Satan use my heart against me.”
Arguably, the topic I write about most is the human heart. This is probably because I am always struggling to come to terms with having one. The Lord redeemed the human heart when He became incarnate. I am certain it provided difficulties for Him, also, but He handled all of those temptations and challenges to prove that, with His grace, it can be done.
Scripture speaks often of the heart.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt. 6:21)
“My heart overflows with a goodly theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.” (Ps. 45:1)
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, in The Brothers Karamazov, said, “The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.” Beauty is a powerful force and both God and Satan use it for their own purposes. It moves our hearts, sometimes against our wishes or in spite of our intentions.
Our hearts are being fought over and so I guess it makes sense that mine so often feels like a war zone. Too often, however, the main focus can be me and not about how the Lord could be using feelings, situations, and circumstances to draw me closer to Himself. And when the focus rests on me, it becomes a pretty dismal outlook. In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis recognizes this tendency in a letter to Wormwood, a young demon-in-training. “The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him towards themselves. Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the actions of their own wills.”
The heart is incredibly important. It is why we reference “getting to the heart of the matter.” It is the central part of who we are. But when I let it become my main or only focus, I am creating a bigger problem. This is when being a melancholic begins to seem like a disadvantage. My natural response of reflection and re-hashing situations leads me to spend too much time dwelling on myself and the state of my heart. A few days ago, I was given the grace to recognize, at least partially, my own foolishness. It doesn’t mean I perfectly altered it, but I recognized part of the problem. Jesus redeemed the human heart which means that it can be an avenue for His grace to flood our beings. But only if I look to Him and not remain fixated on the problematic heart.
In class the other day, we read about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Although Jesus knew what He was about to do, when faced with friends who are mourning, He weeps. His heart, a human heart, ached for the loss of His friend and for the others who were mourning. In other moments throughout Scripture, we hear about how His heart was moved with compassion for those He met. While not ruled by His heart, the Lord let it guide Him in offering Himself to others.
Sometimes I want my heart to unaffected by things: to be composed of steel and to be an impenetrable fortress. Time and time again, I am frustrated to find that it is, instead, a human heart with human feelings. Jesus had one and it enabled Him to be compassionate and tender. He didn’t wish away the workings of the heart and He wouldn’t wish away mine either. Instead, He fights for my heart. At times, it is in ways I would prefer He did not, but I do not get to choose that. I desire for my heart to belong to the Lord, so that Satan doesn’t use its foibles against me.
I will not let Satan use my heart against me.