Sanctuary of the Soul

Developing a "familiar friendship with Jesus"
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Second, the human heart itself is part of our problem. We are, each and every one of us, a tangled mass of motives: hope and fear, faith and doubt, simplicity and duplicity, honesty and falsity, openness and guile. God knows our heart in ways we can never know. Supernatural abilities are needed to untangle the mess. God is the only one who can separate the true from the false. Only God can purify the motives of the heart.

So, you see, we are utterly, utterly dependent upon God to do this transforming work in us: the work of heart purity, or soul conversion, of inward formation, of life transformation. This solitary and interior work within the heart is the most important, the most real, the most lasting reality in human life.

Therefore, the devotional masters' constant appeal to heart purification speaks an important word for us. It is no vain thing for us to return to our first love over and over and over again. It is an act of faith to continually cry out to God to search us and to know our heart and to root out every wicked way in us (Ps. 139:23). This is a vital aspect of the salvation of the Lord.

Let me stress this central reality once again: God is the ultimate former and transformer of the human heart. Having said this, I hasten to add that God has graciously invited you and me to participate in this highest, deepest work of heart transformation. Remember, God does not come uninvited. If certain chambers of our heart have never experienced God's healing touch, perhaps it is because we have never welcomed the divine Scrutiny.

Reprinted from Sanctuary of the Soul, by Richard Foster, copyright 2011. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press PO Box 1400 Downers Grove, IL 60515. www.ivpress.com.

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