Today we begin our journey of the Landmarks of Faith. Over the next few weeks we will make six stops at landmarks that shape and define our faith as disciples of Jesus Christ. Like any good trip, if we take the time to stop at each one and explore the meaning and purpose behind them, we will better understand them. This trip isn’t about gaining more knowledge, but how to apply what we are learning in our commitment and practice of following Jesus with unwavering faith. I’m grateful that we can go on this trip together because landmarks aren’t nearly as fun or meaningful to experience alone. Get your stuff and let’s go!
The first landmark of faith is THE HEART. The heart is the often used in scripture to define and describe the inner life of a person. It is the seat of our emotions, but not simply driven by emotions. Just as the heart gives us physical life to us when it is healthy and functioning properly, we are given spiritual life when it is set on the good things of God. A heart unchecked will be full of evil intent, vengeance, and ultimately death. This is why the writer of Proverbs 4 says in verse 23, “Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.” (NIV84)
We guard our heart when we set our heart exclusively on God’s truth as we live in relationships, speak words, make decisions and carry out actions. All of these things ultimately demonstrate and communicate where we place our trust. When our hearts are set on God’s purposes and ways, our lives will reflect the character of God and Jesus Christ to this world. We need that, not just in uncertain times, but at all times, to live well.
As you consider this landmark of faith called the heart, I encourage you to spend some time gazing upon it. Don’t rush through it to get to the next thing, but pray about your heart and your commitment to God. A heart devoted to God is the commitment to and practice of surrendering one’s life to the will of God for His glory. Remember these words of Jesus,
23 Then he (Jesus) said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. – Luke 9:23–24
Pay close attention to this landmark of faith because it is the most complex of all the landmarks. Partly so, because all of the other landmarks we will explore rise out of this one. It’s kind of like going to the Grand Canyon and understanding that within this great wonder of the world are many other beautiful places. You will discover much about this landmark as you explore the others to come, so I encourage you to revisit the heart along the way at each new stop.
Finally, I encourage you make this your prayer at the landmark of faith we call the heart.
Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. – Psalm 86:11
Take care of yourself and take care of one another!