I am a new mother. Liliana is more than I could ever have imagined her to be. Yes, I knew I would have a great love for her. Yes, I knew she would add a dimension to our lives we could not have fathomed. But what I did not know is my heart would actually grow. It had to. It had no choice. In order to contain this new love of mine, my heart had to expand.
In Scripture, the Hebrew concept of the heart is an embodiment of our emotions, our will, our intellect, and even our desires. There are over 800 references to the heart in God’s Word, proving its significance. I house many items in my heart (love for the Lord and people I hold dear), but unfortunately, idols also dwell within. An idol is anything I desire above Jesus.
How can I recognize when something has become an idol to me? Well, am I willing to sin in order to get it or do I sin if I do not get it? The moment it steals my gaze from Christ, I have erected an idol within my heart. My heart’s capacity to worship Him is lessened by idols such as material pleasures, others’ approval or fear of man, wanting to be treated with justice, having my “rights” honored or my needs met, gaining or keeping control, or simply being successful.
An idol can even be something good. My daughter, for example, could become an idol of my heart if my affections are misplaced and she becomes more important to me than Christ. The point is, my desire or lust for the “object” is sin, not necessarily the object itself. The responsibility for my sin lies with me, not the idol. I often set my heart on things the Lord has not intended for me now or maybe even ever. Yet nothing can compare to the riches of my Savior and His glory. Scripture commands us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30), and Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). If I long for Him above all else, my heart’s desires will match His desires for my life.
Oh, that my heart would increase for Christ as naturally as it did for my Lillie. Forcing out the filth, filling me up with Him alone, may it have no choice but to expand!