I am by nature a preservationist. I think we all are. Oh, I don't mean that we save and horde and reuse. I mean when it comes to self, I am a master preservationist.
I pretend to be all open and honest, living life bare in front of you, and perhaps I have succeed in my ruse only. But deep down in, I preserve.
Living a life that invites is a challenge for me because when I open my heart to you, I lose the ability to preserve it for me.
Our world and even the Church would have you believe that your heart is this deep, mysterious, and beautiful thing. And it is. Deep, mysterious, beautiful. But it is not sacred and it is not to be preserved. Passages about guarding your heart are strewn about, simultaneously with purity rings and chastity promises. We are very good at guarding our hearts, setting up boundaries and saying no to the mere possibility of being hurt.
But I think we have lost out on something more sacred that your individual heart could ever be: that is the heart of the gospel.
The gospel sends out, the gospel reaches in, the gospel takes what is unlovely and loves, the gospel heals, the gospel extends grace, and the gospel saves.
When we condition our hearts to stay safe, we condition our hearts to be an anti-gospel.
When we rule our hearts with principles and patterns, instead of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we forget that He has made set boundaries for us in pleasant places. And nothing He has made for us is not for our good and His glory.
In true community we live lives that invite in, we condition our hearts to invite in, we make the choice to invite in. We practice hospitality in our homes, in our cars, in our meetings, in our seat at church next to a stranger, at the gym, and the grocery store. But we create an atmosphere for community in our hearts first.
We welcome because we have been welcomed. We embrace because we have been embraced. We ask because He has asked of us. We do hard things because He has done hard things.
I know of no greater moment of agony of heart, no greater possibility of pain, than that of Jesus in the garden begging for the cup to be removed.
I know of no greater display of a heart flung wide open, an invitation to all who would be saved, than that of Christ dying on the cross.
I know of no greater reward of a heart that was faithfully obedient than an eternity with a risen Savior and His people.