It goes without saying that as Christians we want to live a life that is pleasing to God.
Because of what Christ has done for us on the Cross, we have an ardent desire to live in a Scripture-honouring, Christ-exalting and God-glorifying way that not only is a pleasure to God but also demonstrates our deep commitment to Him and reveals the work of the Spirit in our lives. It is what He truly deserves.
There are many questions that come and lay siege to our hearts in our pursuit of Christ. Life itself thrusts upon on us that most pertinent question of whether or not, in the face of conflict or difficulty we are going to trust God. And the answer, even if in the moment of trouble we turn aside, is always yes. Other questions tease, provoke and challenge us.
Life is full of questions. The most pertinent one that shapes our lives and transforms us internally and eternally is the one asked of the Jewish nation by Pilate, “What shall I do with Jesus, who is called, Christ?” (Matthew 27:22) Having successfully answered that question (and totally by the enabling of the Holy Spirit at work in our unregenerate, spiritually-dead heart) we are still left with the question that never goes away; the question that unsettles us, changes how we live our lives, stirs us, provokes us and calls us to a place of radical conviction and transformation: “Do I have your heart?”
Do I have your heart? – The question that never goes away.
The gauntlet cast at our feet is not done in an angry challenge and a preamble before the hostile action of an offended and malevolent supreme being. It is put there for our own good. When God reveals our heart to us it is so that we can see the distance that has come between us, always of our own doing, and to our own detriment. God is always looking for intimacy with us. It is one of the things that we were created for – and out of intimacy comes a heart of worship.
Peter faced the challenge of this question in the most severe way, being asked by Jesus, “Do you love me?” The question was loaded with intent. Not to nail Peter, or show him the error of his ways, or the inadequacy of his feeble attempts at following Christ – but to reveal his heart, and to invite him into a deeper place of communion with Himself.
It was a question concerning Peter’s love:
- He did not say, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you fear me?”
- He did not say, “Do you admire me, Do you adore me?”
- Nor was it ever a question concerning his faith. He did not say, Simon, son of Jonas, do you believe in me?”
But He asked him another question, “Do you love Me?”
- He did not say, Simon Peter, how much have you wept?”
- How often have you done penance on account of your great sin?
The question was a burning one for Peter. It possibly may have felt more like, “do you really, really – I mean, really love me, Peter?” That question has not gone away.
Hour by hour, as we live our borrowed lives in the frantic pace of life, it is fitting that we remind ourselves of the challenge laid down to the Church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:4) and ask ourselves the question, “Does Jesus have our heart – does He really, really have it?”
We are not alone with that question. Let’s not ask it of each other because we cannot always be sure that we do so with a right attitude or motive. We can be so superior, smug and prideful – without it even showing! Instead, let’s encourage each other to give ourselves wholeheartedly to loving Him, and in doing so we are following in Jesus footsteps. (Luke 10:27, Matthew 22:37, Deuteronomy 6:5)
Only you can say if Jesus really has your heart. But it will also be evident by what you say and do.