Monday, August 18, 2014

"Spiritual Hypertrophy"

   "I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart" (Psalm 119:32).

    In 1899, Swedish neurologist Saloman Henschen discovered that many endurance athletes experience a phenomena in which the the left ventricle of the heart became hypertrophic, or larger in volume, due to the stresses placed upon the organ by long sessions of activity.  Known as "athletes heart," the enlargement is not dangerous, but rather indicates the conditioning of the heart through endurance activity.

    The Psalmist knew about such matters, albeit in spiritual terms, long before Dr. Henschen made his discovery.  Scripture also reverses the order.  Rather than "running the way of Thy commandments" resulting in an enlarged heart, spiritual hypertrophy leads to more determined running after our Lord, His glory, and His will.  In those who trust and submit themselves to God through the Lord Jesus Christ, God increases spiritual capacity for the purpose of enabling more earnest exercise to Him.  Again, "I will run… when Thou shalt enlarge."

    How might such internal heart expansion take place?  How do we receive, as it were, a spiritually bigger heart?  The answer lies in God's own heart, and in our growing discovery thereof.  "Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).  That is, the better we know our Heavenly Father's disposition toward goodness, the more such glory shines upon, within, and through us.  Our own hearts grow as our see more clearly the vastness of God's heart.  A long eternity will not allow us to completely search out the reaches of "the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19).  Our journey into the heart of God will take forever, ever enlarging us as we venture into the wonder that is our God - "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable" (Psalm 145:3).

    The best thing our Lord could do for us is to make us like Himself in character, nature, and way.  No grace compares with this wonder of knowing love not only directed toward us, but bestowed within us by God's indwelling presence.  "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).  His trusting children in Christ exist to serve as the temple of His goodness received, known, and expressed to others.  Such grace requires an increasingly enlarged heart, as experienced by our increasingly enlarged discovery of the good and great heart  of God...

"We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
(I John 3:2)
"Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."
(Hebrews 12:1-2)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "Beloved now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
(I John 3:2)

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