“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23)
What a delight it was to drive into our yard after a three-week ministry trip. My eyes drank in the colorful, beautiful flowerbeds and I gave my inward approval. They had been well looked after. They were alive and vibrant with color, a wonderful contrast to the lush green lawn surrounding them. I was content. Working in our flower garden, watching them grow, planning and pruning has always been therapeutic for me. The artist in me finds expression in gardening.
Even before unpacking, I walked around the garden and checked the flowers. I noticed two specimens that didn’t look healthy. Their stems and leaves were drooping and the flowers weren’t developing like they should.
On closer observation, I noticed their stems were covered with aphids. These aphids were sucking the life out of the plants. One flower, the nasturtium, had black aphids – easy to notice against the green stem. The other flower, the dahlia, also had black aphids and had I not looked close, I would not have noticed them on the black stem. I needed to rid these plants of those life-sucking insects so they could again become healthy.
Upon reflection, I thought to myself: our hearts are like that. Sometimes we feel so listless, we don’t seem to be growing. It could very well be that we have sin in our hearts. David noted in Psalm 32:3-4:
“When I kept silent (about my sin), my bones wasted away. My spirit strength was sapped.”
Taking a lesson from the aphids, I concluded that sometimes sins are easy to determine: yelling or snapping at the children, our spouse or slow drivers, stealing small things from work, lying, gossiping. These are like the black aphids on the green stems of the nasturtiums – easily visible.
However, some sins that drain us of life are not so outwardly noticeable. Sins like disobedience to the Lord’s prompting, critical attitudes that are not voiced but are festering in our hearts, impure thoughts, lack of love, lack of prayer, bitterness, un-forgiveness, and withholding information. These sins (closet sins) are more like the black aphids on the black stems of the dahlias. Not seen by others, but draining energy out of us.
Take a moment to check your heart today. Do you have sins in your life (noticeable or secret) that need to be confessed? I encourage you to do so right now.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
When you have done that – ask the Holy Spirit to take control again and empower you to lead a life of joy, peace and love.
How to Pray in Faith to be Filled with the Holy Spirit
We are filled with the Holy Spirit by faith alone. However, true prayer is one way of expressing your faith. The following is a suggested prayer:
“Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have been directing my own life and that, as a result, I have sinned against You. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I now thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.”
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If so, bow in prayer and trust God to fill you with the Holy Spirit right now.