We all know the beloved Christmas tale of the Grinch whose heart was three sizes too small. Though this story caters to children, the overall message teaches a valuable life lesson for people of all ages. That is, oftentimes the answer to our deepest grievances in life can be solved by a shift in our perspective.
Like the Grinch, we can all get stuck in our own negative patterns of thinking, which might not literally shrink our hearts, but from a spiritual perspective, can shrink our hearts metaphorically.
As Christians, we must remind ourselves that life on earth is a daily battle for our hearts and minds; each day presents new opportunities for either God, or our own tainted thoughts to gain territory over our hearts.
Since, on this side of Heaven, our hearts will always have room to grow, let’s pray for God to give us the clarity we’re all craving this Christmas season in three specific ways:
The first step to receive true clarity in a matter is to ask God to give you His supernatural perspective.
Most of the time our own point of view needs to be corrected – which is never an easy pill to swallow. After all – to some degree – our opinions are inevitably informed by our emotions. Remember, the Bible tells us, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).
No matter how intelligent or knowledgeable we may be, there is always room for our sinful nature to creep in and misguide our thoughts. Proverbs 14:12 reaffirms this, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but it ends in death."
God gives us these verses not to shame us, rather, to remind us that without Him and His guidance, we will easily be led astray. Our inner thoughts might frequently tell us not to overwhelm God with all of our questions and doubts – whether it be consciously or subconsciously – but that is actually exactly what He wants us to do!
We must stay dependent on God when we think we have made up our minds about something, checking in with Him in prayer to seek out His opinion on the matter.
The second step is to pray the prayer, "God be blessed, no matter what happens."
I was reminded of this concept by a recent sermon at my church. Most of the time, we pray to seek out blessings for ourselves from God. But how often do we stop to ask God how we can bless Him? Realistically, I’m not sure if this practice will ever come naturally to us.
But rather than focusing on our past shortcomings, let’s put our energy into the day we have ahead of us. When we discipline ourselves to pray the prayer Jesus spoke in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Yet not my will, but yours be done," then no matter the outcome, God will give us a clarifying peace in our hearts.
The good news is, the more time we spend with God, the more our hearts will be attuned to pray this prayer, because we will have an increased understanding of His nature. As a renowned preacher, Charles Spurgeon, put it, "God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart."
Finally, as God gives us peace and clarity about His perspective, we must ask Him a question that will move us to action: "Lord, what is the next right thing You want me to do in this matter?"
Because God wants us to abide in Him in all things, most of the time He won’t paint us the whole picture. Instead, He will simply show us the next step we should take. But even this will not come without the proper approach. If you’re seeking an answer from God and still feel uncertainty, stop and ask yourself, "Have I taken moments in silence to INVITE His answer?" "Have I asked Him to guide me to Bible verses that will speak to me directly on this?"
Jesus tells us "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). Let’s take Him at His Word and dedicate our hearts to passionately search for His will in our lives!
As we seek God’s voice, we shouldn’t view it as a duty or a game He is playing with our hearts. Instead, we should remind ourselves that His timing and process are all for our own benefit. Each answer we seek from Him is a wondrous opportunity for the God of the universe to speak directly into our hearts.
"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord" (Lamentations 3:25-26).