Taking Up His Yokeby Lydia Powers
The Necessity of a Burning Heart
Fresh Expectation in the New Year
I am reminded again of the promises that were on brilliant display as we watched the dawn of the new year unfold. Many of our hearts felt alive with old dreams that presented themselves with new life and hope attached.
Even more so, the delight of the Father to make impossibilities possible has been on beautiful display in our corporate gatherings during the first weeks of the new year. It is as if the environment has become electric as the sparks of his goodness light up the room.
What an honor it is to be a part of a body that places the highest value on the move of the Spirit. My heart floods with excitement and anticipation each week as I look forward to how the Spirit will choose to move as we gather. I delight to see our hearts knit together as one as we experience the glory of his goodness, and look forward to how he moves us together in the weeks to come.
From a Marred Lens to a New Rhythm
However, as each Sunday closes and the work week whispers its arrival, I can sense the routine of the upcoming week begin to mar the lens through which I see my days. My eyes that were filled with expectant hope just hours before, seem to become too-easily fogged by almost equal-expectation of Monday morning – where I will soon be waist-high in work, with no spark in sight.
During our corporate fast in January, however, a different rhythm was set in place. As there was an increased focus in prayer and the Word, I watched what was once a spark on Sundays now add to a slow burn that fueled my life and the lives of those around me. Dullness was washed away as our lives became daily steeped in his goodness. In this place, I was filled with rich nutrients that I had not even known I was lacking. The absence of spark that had typically filled my work week was slowly being replaced by a burning hope that permeated every one of my days.
Take Up the Yoke of His Heart
Now that we are on the other side of January (and the corporate fast), I would love to be able to share that I was carried into the next season by the wind of the fast and untouchable hope. How with focused ease I walked out my days and never looked back.
Instead, at the end of the next work week, the spark from Sunday never seemed farther away than from where I was standing. At the end of the day, I found myself lacking peace and hope – my spirit’s evidence that I had neglected to pour into my body the nutrients that had so recently fueled its life. In holy dissatisfaction, I was acutely aware that because I had tasted of new depths of the goodness of the Lord, I could now settle for nothing else. Just as I had seen the Lord’s hand extend to hold new promises for this season, the same hand was now opened for me to lay hold of hope for each day.
I believe that the same hand and intention of the Lord’s heart is also being offered to the Body of Christ in this season. Just as the Lord has promised this year to be the season of “Yes!” to so many of our promises, he is at the same time inviting us to take up the yoke of his heart. One cannot be realized without the other.
As humans that are designed for fascination, our eyes can become overtaken by the wonder of the spark. Like the fireworks of summer, spiritual sparks are beautiful. Sometimes, we can even feel their rumbles of power being emitted as colors light up the sky. Yet by nature of their design, sparks can never sustain their own life unless added to a carefully tended fire of an already-burning heart.
How to Cultivate a Burning Heart
- We must set our faces like flint.
Isaiah the prophet shared how to cultivate a burning heart in the midst of daily life: “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,I will not be disgraced. I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” The transformation of our hearts is first an act of God’s grace, then an act of our will. Just as the Lord moves toward us, we at the same time pursue his heart with relentless determination, confident of his goodness toward us.
- We must be intentional in the secret place.
Daniel exemplified his resolute devotion to prayer after a decree had been made that threatened his life, “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
- We must remove any distractions.
The author of Hebrews reminds us of the reward that far outweighs any cost, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
In this season more than ever before, we must ask for the grace to choose to cultivate a burning heart. As we step toward His hand of both intimacy and promise, we will watch our days be marked by His flame, and our corporate gatherings move from a spark to a wildfire of His purposes being made manifest before us.