Last night the Christian Union had a bring and share dinner overlooking the sea as the sun was setting. We enjoyed the food and fellowship and most of all we enjoyed the sunshine that was keeping us warm. But as the sun was setting, several of us were beginning to shiver due to the heat of the sun becoming less and less. We tried to wrap up warm, but it wasn't the same. As I got home, I reflected on this and realised it was an image of Christ and our hearts.
We often think that as long as I go to church and my outward appearance looks Christian, then I am safe and I don't need to worry about my heart. But the real truth is that our hearts need Christ. Christ is like the sun to us, beaming his rays of warmth onto our heart, melting them, warming them to the point where they are inflamed with love and joy for Him.
But what happens when the sun sets and Christ is no longer warmer our hearts?
I reflected on Romans 1 as I study this letter with a student. We notice that Gods judgement is not what we expected - we think he should be throwing down wrath on the wicked, but God does something that surprises us. He leaves us in our sin. - "And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done." (Romans 1v28)
This may not seem like a judgement at all and we may see it as a way to do what we want. But when you think about Christ being our warmth and our source of love and joy, we are reminded that this judgement is terrifying. Gods judgement is to allow us to go further into our sins and for our hearts to become cold and dull. To not have Christ shine his warming love into our hearts, is possibly the worst kind of judgement on this earth!
As I read through Exodus, I come across Pharaoh and I am told his heart become hard and God hardens his heart...we get so caught in "who hardens who", that we forget that this is Gods judgement on the wicked - Pharaohs heart is so bitter and hard and far from Christ that he cannot be warmed - his heart is cold and the outworking of that causing great distress.
This cannot just be a warning to non Christians - but surely to Christians that dress up in Christianity or those of us who have hard hearts? You must ask yourself if your heart is adoring Christ, if the rays of his warming love is set upon your heart? Is your heart melting and becoming soft? “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3v15)...
Without Christ, just as the sun goes down, we become cold and dull. Keep in the fire of Christs love.