Wednesday, 27 March 2013

because I have you in my heart

This is part of the secret of the ministry of Paul to the churches. Certainly he had a 'royal commission' but he had something else too; the love of God had been poured out in his heart by the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:8.

The heading is taken from Paul's letter to 'the saints', the people of God, in Philippi. Php 1:6,7. There is a line from an old Graham Kendrick song that comes to mind.
"where are the love tears that earned the right to speak"
This is not the first time I have quoted these words on this blog.

There is an interesting feature in the original of Philippians 1:6,7. Apparently, just as accurately, it could be translated 'because you have me in your heart.' This mutual affection is the uniting bond that linked these early saints together. Paul spoke to the saints at Philippi with a deep conviction that was authenticated by the fact that he had them 'in his heart.' It was a New Testament pattern; 2Cor 8:16. He was not driven by duty or necessity but it was the 'love of Christ' that constrained him.

Do we long to speak words of authentic comfort to the saints? We shall, if we have them in our hearts. We have no right to speak into the lives of those who we do not 'have in our hearts'. At best such preaching will have reform at its heart rather than a love for the individual. It will have targets and milestones and the critical eye of the man who knows how other men 'ought to behave'. But we usually recognise the man or woman who 'has us in their hearts' and to heed their counsel or receive their encouragement is not difficult.

Who has God put in our hearts? We have God's authority to speak to them. It is said of our great Shepherd; his commandments are not burdensome.1John 5:3. Or as one version has it "his commandments do not weigh us down." It's because he has us in his heart.

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