Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Heart of the Spirit by Melissa Driggers (@infieldsofgrace)

I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. Ezekiel 36:26 MSG

In the first twenty minutes of the movie Saving Private Ryan, an extremely graphic scene of the Omaha beachhead assault of June 6, 1944 is depicted. Although it was about fifteen years ago, I vividly remember seeing this movie on the big screen and will likely never forget some of the images in those first few minutes. The directors of the movie explained that the intensely graphic nature of the opening scene was so that the viewer could truly understand the reality of war and the raw nature of wartime violence and death, which was critical to the viewer’s connection with the main storyline for the film.  

The images that I remember most from this powerful movie are those of the walking wounded in that opening scene. Like the soldier who lost his severed arm and searched for it, found it, picked it up, and carried it with him as he sought shelter from the enemy fire. Broken, dismembered bodies with one goal – survival.  With severed limbs, trying to find refuge in the midst of warfare that they had grossly underestimated. 

All of us have walked, are walking, or will walk the long journey from the valley of pain to the refuge of hope. Like the walking wounded in this movie scene, those of us walking with emotional and spiritual wounds seek shelter, but with broken hearts and crushed spirits. In the midst of the spiritual war zone, like the walking wounded soldier, we too have one goal…survival.  With shattered dreams and broken hearts, trying to find refuge in warfare that we had grossly underestimated. 

When our goal is just “survival”, living isn’t really living, it’s more like just … existing.
It’s hard to love others with a wounded heart.  A wounded heart is walled with pain, shame, guilt, fear, anxiety…and I could go on with a much longer list.  We try to love and serve others, because we really, really WANT to.  We long to show true compassion and grace to others, but we can only go so far before we face-plant into one of those firmly constructed walls.  You see, the difference between broken bodies and broken spirits is that we can more easily hide a broken spirit. We can put on the façade and appear to have it together spiritually.  But inside, we’re dying. And too proud to tell anyone about it.  

This refuge that we seek – this place of healing and restoration – is so much closer than we think, friends.  The heart of the Holy Spirit lives in those who believe and call upon the name of God and His ultimate sacrifice, the risen Christ. The heart of the Spirit in me…and in you…gives us direct access to the healing that can only be found through the mind and heart of Christ.

I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. Ezekiel 36:26 MSG

As believers and followers of Christ, we often refer to the “power” of the Holy Spirit.  (And yes, there is power in the Spirit, my friends!  Hallelujah! ) But sometimes we forget that the power of the Spirit comes from the heart of the Spirit.  And the heart of the Spirit isn’t a far-away thing.  It is alive in right here inside of us because He has put a new spirit in [us] (Ez. 36:26).  

If we invite Christ into our pain and allow our broken heart to meld with the heart of the Spirit, there is a beautiful demolition that takes place.  Those thick and firmly cemented walls come crashing down like Lincoln Logs knocked down and scattered by an angry two-year old! Their foundation is shaken and destroyed by love, grace, peace, joy…and I could go on and on with a much longer list.  Our perspective is no longer one from a place of woundedness but a place of wholeness!  The way we love ourselves, Him, and others is radically changed.

Our goal becomes SO much more than to just survive.

We are no longer the walking wounded. 

We are alive in the fullest sense, and we love without walled hearts. 

We live and love from wholeness. 
The heart of the Spirit makes us whole.

Questions for Reflection:
Do you have untended wounds that have created walls in your heart? 

Do you feel as though you are living in “survival mode” and not in the freedom and fullness that God intends for you?  

Have you invited Him into your woundedness?  If you haven’t, invite Him now. 

Melissa is an itinerant speaker/teacher, blogger and author residing in the South.  She is single (although she prefers the term “unclaimed treasure”) and lives with her two children, Henry and Hannah, who are “technically” canine (ssshhhh… they don’t know they aren’t human).  Her vision and passion for ministry is to shepherd others to the grace, hope, healing, and restoration found only in Jesus Christ!  Through her own life journey, God has transformed her heart, and she has experienced the true meaning of “beauty from ashes”.

You can connect with Melissa at 

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