Analogies

Where Do We Get The Abundance of the Heart?

This is a picture of a tea cup filled with clear water and two daisies. It says "A cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even one drop of bitterness. No matter how suddenly jarred." Amy Carmichael.

Luke 6:45 tells us that our hearts hold our treasure. Either that treasure is good so that the things we say and the way we act are good, or that treasure is evil, and our words and actions are affected by that as well. But where does this treasure come from? And what are we supposed to do if we find ourselves in the position of wishing for better treasure? How do we change the abundance of the heart? This week I was pondering those very questions, begging God to show me the answers. Then my heater quit working during the coldest week of winter yet. The problem, it turned out, was my thermostat. It was also the answer to my questions.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Luke 6:45

The Thermostat Problem

Last week when I got home from work, the house was 53 degrees. My thermostat was set to 63, but “heat” wasn’t making a dent. I switched it to “emergency heat.” After nearly 24 hours of working non-stop, it topped out at 55 before we finally decided to call the air conditioning company. We had encountered problems with this kind of thermostat before. In fact, it was the second one of this type that the company put in within a year because of a warranty that required a like-model replacement. I had a feeling it was the issue and hoped for a quick (and cheap) fix.

The technician arrived in a couple of hours, and in just a few minutes he had pinpointed the problem and gotten my unit pumping blissfully warm air throughout the house once again. It was, indeed, an issue with the thermostat. Apparently, the way that particular model comes from the factory, it is programmed for a gas heater. When it’s just a little bit cold, the heat pump on the outside will work fine to move the needle a few degrees higher to keep us comfortable. When it gets really cold, though, it has to draw from the unit itself – which in my house has only electric. Since it couldn’t find the power, the system was just blowing air. 

The Spiritual Analogy

When we are going about regular life, it’s really easy to react to things with a nice, calm, (Christian) demeaner. Just like the heat pump worked fine when it wasn’t that cold, it doesn’t take a lot to be pleasant when everything is going well. But when hard times happen – people are rude, situations aggravating, troubles on every side – we dig deeper into ourselves for our reactions. We have to access the main unit. Whatever is inside of us is what comes out, as Luke 6:45 says.

Our “thermostats” are programmed for gas (our sin nature). When we become born again, we get a new source of electric power (the Holy Spirit). We have a new heart with new desires, but that old sin programming is hard-wired from the factory. No matter how much we love Jesus and want to be pleasing to Him, sometimes it can shock us how little we look like Him when the chips are down. We have the power, but we can’t draw from it unless we are reprogrammed to do so.

How Do We Reprogram Our Thermostats/Change Our Treasure?

Reading the Bible Will Transform Us

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Romans 12:2

Do you remember the old wedding tradition? It goes “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…”? As the Bride of Christ, we must remember that we are not who we once were. Our something old has become new. We take on (“borrow”) the righteousness of Jesus Christ instead of our own. Biblically, the color blue represents the Word of God (Numbers 15:38-41). The more we read the Bible and do the things it says, the more we are transformed to be like Him. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). We must submit ourselves to Him and allow Him to change us and our ways. We must make ourselves ready for our Groom.

Make the Armor of God Our Pattern

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

Ephesians 6:10

The full armor of God is a metaphor for how to live our lives in the power of God. Old habits are hard to break. When we get into the habit of conducting ourselves a certain way, when tough times come around, we will revert to what we know. We will default to truth, reminding ourselves that Jesus is our Lord and He has everything under control. He is our righteousness; He only requires our obedience to Him and His ways. We are ambassadors for Christ and must think and act accordingly, taking every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. We will have faith and grab quickly for our sword (which is the Word of God).

What We Put in Will Change What Comes Out

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Philippians 4:8

The old saying, “You are what you eat” is also true of spiritual food. Garbage in-garbage out, so they say. I’m a teacher. A few summers ago, I was bored and found a cooking show called The Great British Bake Off. After binge-watching happy Brits for several hours, I noticed that my mood was noticeably improved. I was upbeat and thinking thoughts that were ever-so-polite. It really got me thinking about the power of external stimuli. In truth, we can’t expect to put worldly things in and get spiritual things out. If we want to react to life in a godly way, we have to make sure that the things we’re watching, listening to, and meditating on are the things we want to come out of us when push comes to shove.

The Abundance of the Heart

The abundance of the heart comes from our treasure. If we are children of God, we have His power, the Holy Spirit, inside us. It’s up to us to make sure that the mechanism for accessing that power, our thermostat, is programmed correctly. We must read the Bible and pray to be made more like Him. We must wear the armor, ingraining good habits into our lives. And we must make sure that the things we put into ourselves are the things we want coming out of us in good times and in bad.

Enjoy analogies? Try 3 Last Days Object Lessons From Shopping or Born Again: All About that Butterfly Life or The Meek Will Inherit the Earth: An Analogy. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email in-box. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.

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