Heart Trouble

heart-healthWhile finishing the manuscript for my book, Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again (You can read the beta version for free at johngouldener.com), I discovered an email a friend sent to me several years ago. In it he said that his “passion in life is to seek the heart of Christ”.  I cannot say anyone has ever said that to me before; albeit, I’ve read the phrase in religious books. Prominent Christian thinkers down through the ages wrote about it — St. Paul, Augustine, and Thomas Merton to mention a few.  I’ve heard preachers talk about it, usually in esoteric terms requiring more effort to grasp than I was willing to give at the time.  “The heart of Christ” — what exactly does that mean?   Is it simply “Christianese” jargon?  Is it a meaningless clique?  Is it more?  Can mere mortals actually have the “heart of Christ”?

I have come to the conclusion that to have the heart of Christ is not technically possible on earth. To have it would require perfection. Paul tells us that only comes in heaven. However, I am just as sure that we can come reasonably close and much closer than we are at this moment. I am confident that “reasonably close” is what all of these men meant when they wrote about the “heart of Christ”.

For me to have the “heart of Christ”, I must strive for a Jesus style of unselfishness. Right off the bat that requires me to be “others focused” instead of “me focused”. I came out of the womb with me-centric heart trouble.  The implications for my life, if I should actually flip-flop that setting, are enormous. Am I willing to let others go before me? What about my plans and priorities? They will have to come second, third or even further down the chain.  To have the “heart of Christ” requires a radical compassion of constant outpouring of one’s self to benefit others. Without that, it is meaningless “Christianese” mumbo jumbo. However, with it we can change the world.

Philippians 2:6 -7  (NLT) Though he was God,  he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;  he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got quite a ways to go to get my heart trouble under control.

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