Heart-training — Continued...
Heart-training is Heart-Turning!
The Spiritual Activity
of Turning to God!
Repent by "Turning"
The Bible says we should, "...obey the Lord...turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul" (Deut. 30:10). Turning your heart to God requires that you re-train your loves and affections to be toward the Lord. Increase your heart-felt love and affection to "drink" from the shine from His face and turning to Him will become a natural response.
But make no mistake about it. Turning your soul toward God is a spiritual activity that is an actual act of turning. It isn’t repentance without turning. The Bible also says we should, "Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations" (Eze. 14:6). We have to turn and actually face toward God. King David is our best example. It says of him, "I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken" (Psa. 16:8).
It is very important for you to note that it is your delight to abide inside the radiance around God as your security and strength that will make it easy for you to turn and face toward Him: "for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Mat. 6:21). I have found that the principle of treasuring God works best when you apply it in the context of your thirst for His presence as your refuge, glory, and strength. Be wise in your pursuit of God. Use your thirst for God to your advantage! Let your heart enjoy the abundance of His grace.
Before I started Heart-training, I didn’t understand that it was possible to actually turn toward God and ‘set’ my heart on Him. I thought "turning to God" was just Bible talk that was better to ignore. I was wrong. "Turning" is a spiritual activity that should not be overlooked and dismissed as just "Bible talk."
But don’t worry about whether you understand the spiritual act of turning yet. You will. Applying the principles you find in this book will increase your spiritual sensitivity to God and your awareness of yourself. After you have been in repentance your sensitivity will increase to where you are able to actually feel yourself turning to face toward God. At that time, repentance will become a process that feels like you are grabbing yourself inside by the shoulders and are assertively turning yourself in a different direction—facing yourself toward the fountain of God. Turning to God feels like you are grabbing your soul and are actually turning it away from reaching toward earthly ways of quenching your thirsty desire. Rather than reaching and striving, it feels like you are turning and resting.
It is extremely important to think of "turning" as exercise. The more you engage in the activity of turning to God the easier it is to be aware when you are turning away. Think about turning as a behavior that is a response to the loves and beliefs of your heart. Train those loves and beliefs to be toward receiving from God rather than receiving from earthly sources and the response of your soul will be to turn.
Think about turning to God as something you find freedom to do. You increase that freedom by getting your heart to hear that you can turn and why you should. Get your heart to hear by thanks and praise; "I delight to turn away from making myself feel bad in order to make payment for what I have done wrong. Lord I love that the power of the death of Christ is greater than my sin." Thrill your heart by hearing—repeatedly, if necessary, "Lord, I love that I can turn my soul away from trying to do something that would help me deserve Your forgiveness and cleansing. I delight that it is right, good, and safe for me to trust Your grace and simply receive from You. Lord, I love that you forgive me and cleanse me so freely." Directing your heart so that you can turn involves "hearing" that you can turn from your earthly ways and that you can turn to God. Both are important.
Turn to God by thanking Him, "Lord I delight that my adequacy is not in what I know. I love Your wisdom that comes down from above." Thank Him that, "My confidence is not based on what I do. My adequacy is God." Thank the Lord that, "My confidence is not in having people thinking I am more spiritual than them. Lord, You are God—not me." Thank Him that, "I love that my glory is not from how well I perform. I turn from feeding myself with how much influence I have. My glory is not from the car I drive, or the cloths I wear. My glory is not what I by with money. My glory is not from how well I fix the problems of other people. Lord, I turn to You—I love having You as my glory."
As your awareness increases about being able to turn each statement aimed to direct your heart toward God will provide another opportunity for you to grab your soul and turn. But let me emphasize again the need to re-train your heart about what to believe—so that you can find freedom to turn. Thank Him that, "I don't have to be afraid of not having ‘done enough’ to deserve God’s grace. Lord, I love that I don’t have to wait to draw near until after I have faith in myself—I place my faith in You!" Thank Him that, "When I come to God, He will not reject. I have God’s promise that He will not cast me out (John 6:37)." Listen to your thanks and praise, "Lord, I turn from and I reject hopelessness and despair in regard to my experience of God. Lord, I love Your grace—I delight to receive "drink" from You (Isa. 43:18-20; Isa. 41:17,18). Thank Him that, "I don't have to live the lie that I can somehow demand or earn God being gracious toward me."
Still however, having just said these things, it is possible that you may still feel rather hopeless about your ability to "turn" as I have just described. Let me say again that you need to be patient with yourself. Your heart—and your ability to turn, will follow what you treasure. Thrill your heart about the abundance of the Holy Spirit readily available to You. Treasure the fountain of God and His abundant grace!
Stop and thank the Lord that it is right for you to feel hope and be confident that you can turn to God. In time, you will understand how to "turn." If your intention is to turn to God and you keep taking steps to direct your affections toward God, the spiritual activity of turning will become quite natural. Focus your effort on increasing your delight about the presence of God being your reason to feel reassured, shielded, strong, righteous, loved. Doing so will greatly increase your love for God and the spiritual activity of turning to face toward God will become a natural part of everyday life. By this, the turning will become an essential part of how you cope with life and how you find spiritual power for prayer and ministry—even though you may not understand how to do at this time. In time, you will look back and wonder what you were so concerned about.
Faith is also a vital part in the spiritual act of turning. Faith is even more important than being able to feel yourself turning. If it is your intension to have turned to God—and if you have taken steps to direct your affections toward God so that you can turn to Him, then delight yourself into believing that you are facing toward God. Confidently trust you are facing your inner being toward the Lord—in all His glory. At some point you won’t have to concern yourself with turning so much as you are concerning yourself with staying turned. For this you will have to be thrilling your heart that you are in the throne room of God and are facing toward the Lord—body, soul, and everything.
What I have said in this section is so important that you may want to come back to this and refresh your memory about these things after you have been in repentance for few weeks.
The Heart-training Book and Turning
The Heart-training book was originally written as statements of repentance that were spoken as prayers to God. About 7 or 8 years into writing the Heart-training book I found that my own application was lacking. It was working but not as well as I wanted. The way the statements were written did not lead me into a strong enough focus on turning to God as I felt was needed for repentance. I changed the statements to a combination of talking to God and of speaking to our own heart. It has been about 5 years since I made that change. I have found a combination of prayer and speaking to our own heart to be a much more effective for a turning and setting our heart on God.
I am praying for the Lord's abundant blessing on your efforts to direct your heart toward Him.
Heart-training — Continued...
(C) Barry Hall 1999
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