Remember, the purpose of this thing called the Christian life is that our hearts might be restored and set free. That's the deal. That's what Jesus came to do, by his own announcement. Jesus wants Life for us, Life with a capital L, and that Life comes to us through our hearts. But restoring and releasing the heart is no easy project. God doesn't just throw a switch and poof—it's done. He sends his Counselor to walk with us instead. That tells us it's going to be a process. All sorts of damage has been done to your heart over the years, all sorts of terrible things taken in—by sin, by those who should have known better, and by our Enemy, who seeks to steal and kill and destroy the image bearers of God. At best, "hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Prov. 13:12). Certainly there's been a bit of that in your life. "Even in laughter the heart may ache" (Prov. 14:13), which is to say, things may look fine on the outside, but inside it's another story.

We're told to "trust in the LORD" with all our hearts (Prov. 3:5), but frankly, we find it hard to do. Does trust come easily for you? I would love to trust God wholeheartedly. Why is it almost second nature to worry about things? We're told to love one another deeply, "from the heart" (1 Peter 1:22), but that's even more rare. Why is it so easy to get angry at, or to resent, or simply to grow indifferent toward the very people we once loved? The answers lie down in the heart. "For it is with your heart that you believe," Paul says (Rom. 10:10). And in Proverbs we read, "The heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out" (20:5 NASB). Our deepest convictions—the ones that really shape our lives—they are down there somewhere in the depths of our hearts.

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