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When we speak of spiritual matters, we are speaking of the invisible. When we speak of the invisible, we are left to use similes, figures of speech, parables, parallels, and analogies. When we use these constructions of grammar, we are trying to express what truly cannot be expressed. When we try to express the workings of God, the love of God, or the actions of Christ within a person's life, we will always fall short of the mark. We will fall short of the mark because words can never truly express His love, let alone the workings of His love in the heart of a sinner or in the heart the redeemed.


The heart of a human being is like a vessel or a container. What you put into your heart is a choice you make. God does not invade your heart or the container of your spirit. God permits you to make your decision about Christ freely. You are called to eternal life by the love of God in Christ Jesus. Your decision is to either accept Him or reject Him.

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (NIV)

Having or holding God's love in your heart is also a decision you can make. You can make a decision to hold Him in your heart and pray in your mind for Him stay within you as you walk your daily Christian walk. When you want Him to live in your heart, you must open your heart, your container, or your vessel to let Him in.

You can think or say the words "Lord Jesus, please come into my heart." However, just because you say these words does not mean that you really mean them. Too often, people want Christ in their hearts solely for an emotional benefit for themselves. To have His love in you and to sense His presence you must open the door of your heart.

Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (NIV)

The door of your heart is opened as you stand at the foot of the Cross, see Christ's suffering, and feel the guilt of your sin pinging your conscience. When you stand at the foot of the Cross and the grief of your sinfulness overwhelms you, then your heart is in a position to be surrendered to Christ. If you stand at the foot of Cross and do not feel any grief or you do not feel or acknowledge any responsibility for His suffering then your heart is not ready for His love. When your heart is hardened and closed to the grief of Christ's suffering, you can ask Him to come into your heart but you may not really want Him. You can repeat the invitation in your mind but if your heart is not open then you will leave Him out.

The invitation for Christ to come into your life may not take the form of active words of invitation. The invitation may take the form of offering your life and your heart to Christ as you fall prostrate at the foot of the Cross in godly sorrow. Most often, we expect that every sinner will use words to communicate to Christ. However, the invitation to Christ must go beyond words. Like all communication with God, we must have the desire in our heart and soul for Christ to come in and live within us. We must have this holy unction underpinning anything we say to Him. What happens, quite often beyond our understanding, is that we have the vision of our life and our guilt for crucifying Christ before us. Upon seeing this vision of our life and our guilt we then turn towards Christ standing at the door with His light and love of forgiveness. Then there is an opening of the door.

Just the mere realization of our need for Christ and our turning towards Him combined with His willingness to touch us, forgive us, and live within us culminates in His love filling our life. In so many instances, Christ has an answer for us before we have a question for Him. The Great Shepherd knows His sheep and guides and leads them. Christ is already working to restore the broken heart before the heart breaks.

Matthew 6:7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.


2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. (NIV)

When you fully accept that you personally crucified Christ, and you then fully realize the gravity of what you have done, there is the probability you will be overcome with godly sorrow. When this godly sorrow comes over you, your heart breaks from the grief of your responsibility in placing Christ on the Cross. Godly sorrow consumes you and makes you want to change.

Some persons may not experience godly sorrow. Their heart may not accept that they were responsible for Christ's death. There may be circumstances in their life preventing them from going to an emotional point where godly grief can be experienced. It has long been debated whether a person can accept Christ into their life based solely upon an intellectual decision. Only God the Father and Christ the Son can look into a person deep enough to know whether the person fully understood the responsibility of nailing

Christ to the Cross. We must understand that people are different. They are often different in dramatic ways. Some people want eternal life so in their minds, without great feelings of passion, guilt, or emotion, they do ask Christ to come into their lives. They invite Christ into their lives like they ask or invite a repairman to come into their house to fix the washer or dryer. Does He come into their life? Yes, very politely, very tenderly, always calling, always asking this person to get to know Him more. It is because Christ does come into the heart of every person who asks Him in, regardless of how the asking occurs, that we must not be judgmental or demanding about how the asking takes place. For millions of persons, the Christian life walk of faith begins at different points and different levels of understanding. As we walk His path, our understanding grows and our capacity to hold His love in our heart grows and expands.

Acts 4:10 …then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. (NIV)

When you experience godly sorrow and grief over having been the person who placed Christ on the Cross, your old heart cannot take this grief and this pain. Your old heart is crucified with Christ.

Romans 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,A that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (NIV)

The only way godly grief and sorrow is assuaged, or the only way the crucified heart can be made new, is to express your contrition to Christ and to express your desire for His forgiveness. Saying in your mind, with no real meaning or intent, the words "I'm sorry" does not suffice. Firstly, anyone can say "I'm sorry", but do the words mean anything to the person saying them. Secondly, anyone can say "I'm sorry" but to whom are these words addressed? If you come to the Cross with Jesus hanging there and you do not fall upon your knees in grief and sorrow for what you have done then words that are thought or spoken are of no consequence. However, you may come back to the Cross at a later point in life with a fuller understanding and a heart more ready to accept Him.

If you come to the Cross with Jesus hanging there, and you do fall on your knees in grief and sorrow for what you have done, then there are no real words you can say in your grief that can match the condition of your broken heart. With Christ, words are so often feeble. However, we need not worry for Christ sees the heart as well as hearing the words.

Psalm 33:13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; 14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-- 15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. (NIV)

It is presumed that anyone who has fallen at the Cross in grief and sorrow does express their contrition and guilt to Christ. Expressing grief and sorrow to anyone other than Christ while at the Cross seems a bit ludicrous. However, in this world there may be a few persons who do, on purpose, speak to someone other than Christ the Son, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit at that critical moment in life.




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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018