Our church is currently preaching through 1 Corinthians. It’s been fascinating seeing how many of our present-day issues and situations are the same things Christians have been wrestling through since the very beginning.
Sometimes when I read the Bible, certain verses just rattle in my head for days, sometimes weeks, after I read them. The following verse has been on my mine since we unpacked it over a week ago now:
Don’t rush past that. Read it again. Slowly.
Paul is writing to a pretty new group of Christians who had a lot to be proud about in their city. They had unparalleled access to other cultures, knowledge, art, etc. The city of Corinth laid across a pretty major trade route so their world was growing smaller and smaller as they gained more access to the influence of other countries, people groups, and cultures. Sound familiar?
They had a lot of reasons to stand up and be proud. Or so they thought.
Paul’s encouragement to the church at Corinth echoes the encouragement God gives us in the Psalms, “Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10.
Paul’s plead with them to take heed can seem hard to understand at first. We defined taking heed as “paying special attention to the condition of your heart before God.”
One of my favorite thing about our church is our home groups. For those who attend, they are rich blessings, a tangible exercise in the often-intangible pursuit of true community. For those who do not belong to a home group, they are missing out on a big part of what it means to belong to a local church.
This verse is rattling around in my heart because of something someone else said in my home group. These two comments from two different people answered two questions I had about this processing of taking heed of our hearts before God.
1.) Why should we take heed?
My wife is brilliant. When we were focusing on the words “take heed” she called us back to the beginning of the verse. She said something incredibly profound like, “Maybe our problem with the whole taking heed thing is we think we’re standing when we should be bowing.” *drops mic*
It’s in these moments that I am a proud husband and a humiliated pastor. I’m incredibly grateful for my wife and am just counting down the days until she “wakes up” and realized she really got the raw end of this whole marriage deal. But she also just saw something in the text I never saw and I preached the dad gum sermon.
But she’s absolutely right: Maybe we refuse to consider the position of our heart toward God simply because we refuse to acknowledge our great need to do so.
2.) How do we practically take heed?
I was proud of our group this last week. When this question came up, they refused to offer the typical “pray, read your Bible, etc. etc.” Those things are fantastic and a huge part of our lives but I’ve learned you’re either doing them or you’re not. Still, taking heed is something different, anyway.
While we were fumbling a bit trying to wrap our heads and hearts around how we actually go about taking heed, one of my friends launched into a really compelling time when he shared his frustration with how busy our culture has become. He had grown weary of the imposed expectation that his kids constantly be involved in 6 different activities at the same time. (His only do one at a time. These people exist, parents. I promise). He talked about how selling some of their extra stuff had recently enhanced their spiritual life and how they were really fighting to be open to God calling them to do anything or go anywhere at any time.
Then he simply said, “You know Steven, it takes time to take heed.” *drops mic*
He’s right. And God has seared that sentence on my heart the last week or so. It takes time to take heed.
Whether through Scripture reading or prayer, quiet contemplation on a run or a trip to the grocery store, it takes time to truly consider the position of our heart toward the One who made it. To place ourselves in a position of bowing instead of a position of standing because I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to try and stand on my own.
Today, take time to take heed of your heart. After all, it is what God is after above all else.