When the Lord created humankind, he calibrated our hearts to be lovers above all else and to have that love aligned toward Him and his designs and desires for the Kingdom here on earth. But in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve yielded the ground of their hearts to Lucifer when he nudged the desires of their hearts for the forbidden fruit, the hearts of humankind got out of sync. The original calibration went amiss.
This loving what was from God should have been straightforward and easier, but from that day forward what we longed for and desired was always influenced by the choices made back then in Eden. The allure of many things could distract us from the best things, and they did. Our sin nature pulled at the threads of our subconscious.
The wants, longings and desires of our hearts are what impact everything we do and tend to determine the course we are on. It is the battleground that either helps or hinders the renewal of our minds. And since our loves can be pulled in so many directions from an array of influences (some recognized and others not), gaining more understanding about the ground we are to guard and protect is crucial.
God knew that we needed a heart fix, a major heart adjustment to regain the clear recognition that He is love and we are made to be lovers of all things godly and good. When Jesus volunteered to come to earth in the flesh, one of the key purposes was to show us what love is, who He is and always was. He wanted to clarify what we wanted, sought, and yearned for as the crux of the matter. John showed us that in his Gospel when we saw Jesus ask the key question, “What are you seeking?
When sin had entered in back in Eden, the sacrifices humankind knew from the Old Testament had been an effort to find our way back to God, but the relationship was still damaged because the blood of bulls, lambs, goats, and doves did not change the heart. But there was one thing that could and that was what Jesus intended to do when He chose to lay down his life on the cross and then allow the Holy Spirit to come to speak to us in our hearts so our hearts could begin to be recalibrated to what God planned at the outset.
Calibration means to set or adjust something so it works as it was designed to work. If something is amiss from the original settings, then recalibration is needed.
The truth is that our hearts need to be recalibrated. The Lord’s love sacrifice at Calvary opened the door for us if we have invited Him into our hearts, but life is still tricky and our adversary stays busy with his old tricks trying to lure us to love other things and distract us from the path our hearts are to take.
“While being human means we can’t not love something ultimate – some version of the kingdom – it doesn’t mean we necessarily love the right things, or the true King. God has created us for himself and our hearts are designed to find their end in him, yet many spend their days restlessly craving rival gods, frenetically pursuing rival kingdoms. The subconscious longings of our hearts are aimed and directed elsewhere; our orientation is askew; our erotic compass malfunctions, giving us false bearings.”
James K.A. Smith
Those subconscious things have often been there for a long time and they have taken ground because we practiced them as habits, we sought to satisfy longings. What we didn’t recognize at the time was that those things we were doing were also doing something to us and it wasn’t going to be easy to stop doing them. In truth they were affecting what we worshipped as they became idols we yielded to again and again.
Even as believers at the outset those old subconscious yearnings were not totally tamed, and they would haunt us and track us hoping we would yield. When we tried to think our way through the challenge, we could sometimes see what happened but that didn’t totally quell the heart’s old tastes.
Worship as a path to recalibration is a key tool because we don’t think our way toward worshipping God.
James K.A. Smith clarifies why worship is essential to the task:
“A more holistic response is to intentionally recalibrate the unconscious, to worship well, to immerse ourselves in liturgies that are indexed to the kingdom of God precisely so that even our unconscious desires and longings – the affective, under-the-hood ways we intend the world – are indexed to God and what God wants for his world.
The practices of Christian worship train our love – they are practice for the coming kingdom, habituating us as citizens of the kingdom of God.”
From You Are What You Love
I think Paul understood a great deal about what was needed to recalibrate our hearts. Listen to what he said to the church at Colossae:
“15 Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of his one body. And always be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ live in you richly, flooding you with all wisdom. Apply the Scriptures as you teach and instruct one another with the Psalms, and with festive praises, and with prophetic songs given to you spontaneously by the Spirit, so sing to God with all your hearts!”
Colossians 3:15-16 (TPT)
Smith echoes that when he writes:
“The orientation of the heart happens from the bottom up, through the formation of our habits of desire. Learning to love (God) takes practice.”