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Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hearts Like Herod

Herod is a character whom we do not like, whom we instinctively judge in a negative way for his brutality. But we should ask ourselves: maybe there is something of Herod in us? Perhaps we, too, on occasion, see God as a kind of rival? Perhaps we too are blind to his signs, deaf to his words, because we think they put limits on our lives and do not allow us to dispose of our existence howsoever we will?"
                            ~Pope Benedict XVI

When I think of Herod I think of three undesirable traits: Pride, insecurity, and the need for control. Herod didn't want anyone stealing his glory. He was insecure, he didn't want anything or anyone changing his plans or his position. He wanted complete control.  Does that sound a little familiar with perhaps some of us at times? We feel a greater sense of security when we are in control of things and sometimes it might feel unnatural to give God our complete trust...to have that "faith of a child" the Bible talks about and leap into our Heavenly Father's arms without restraint. To give Him total sovereignty over our hearts...and our plans...our destinies...our relationships...every facet of our lives.

Not only can it be intimidating at time to surrender ourselves to God it can feel unnatural (and perhaps it is)  for it causes us to make difficult choices. Sometimes the actions we'd like to take, we know wouldn't give God glory, but we know would fulfill and satisfy our own carnal desires, perhaps even giving us a little glory in the process. That leaves us in a tough quandary. That's where our own desires become rivals to God's will for our lives. We have to make a difficult choice. To follow God, or follow ourselves. I've time and time stumbled in this area and each time I've chosen to follow my way and take on a rebellious and callous heart like Herod's  I've learned a couple of things in the process. First, it's never as good as we think it will be. Our pursuits, when they aren't part of His Will, when they go against His law..they might feel good while we are doing them but they reap no real fruit and afterwards there certainly is no lasting feeling of satisfaction or peace. Second, relying on ourselves and not on God causes distance in our relationship with God. A gap. And it takes repentance, prayer and a humble and contrite heart to close that gap. It's an uncomfortable and painful process and one better to be avoided then pursued. I've learned, through experience, that in every way, it's just better to follow God and not myself!

The good news is that when we feel our hearts beginning to harden, when we feel like we want to rebel against God and go on our own path of pride and set our sails to ride the winds that usher in glory in our names only, we can come to God with such desires. We can come to God with humble confidence and express our concerns, our desires, our fears, our insecurities, our sins, our reservations...everything...and He listens. He will give us the peace we need.

So, let's live this day, and everyday with God sovereign over our hearts. Let's come to Him with our pride, our insecurities, our sinful desires and lay them at the foot of his throne. Let's live as the new creations in Christ that we have become. Let's find our identity in Christ and Christ alone.

Here's some verses to remind us of the beautiful truth that our hearts aren't like Herod's...but have been made new in Christ.

"... You have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him" (Colossians 3:9-10).

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

Heavenly Father,

We thank you for Your mercy and Your grace and Your  infinite patience. Thank you for being there with us in the height of our faiths when we seek nothing more than to please you. And thank you for being there when the things of this world tempt us and we get caught up in our own desires and  lose sight of you. Forgive us for those times. Forgive us for the times when we neglect your laws and seek what offers us temporary pleasures. Forgive us for relying on our own capabilities more than we rely on Your direction and guidance. Forgive us for seeking our own glory above seeking Your glory.

We ask that you continually transform our hearts so that they become more and more like Jesus and less and less like Herod. May our hearts find delight in your Laws. May our hearts find joy in surrendering completely to Your will. We are creations made new through the blood of Christ, may our lives reflect that truth.

 Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.


  1. I think this is one reason Paul said,"I die daily" The urge to be in control must be mastered constantly. We think it is strength,but, it is only when we are weak that we are strong! Enjoy being weak for a day, that is all that matters, today!

  2. Amen Ed!!! A great way to put it! :)
    ~many blessings

  3. Nice post - thank you, I like your blog, and am now following.

  4. Thank you Saylor, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I checked out your blog, it looks great! I'm following :)

  5. Hearts like Herod… hearts like Pharos… hearts like the Pharisees… all hard and cold. Have we not all wrestled with our dual natures?
    For me, the first step in overcoming the dark sinful nature is to recognize that there is a resident Herod within. We have within us all every type of character in the sacred text. But you’re so right Jessica. When our identities are in Christ, we overcome all those foes through love, mercy, grace, and truth. We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us! Hallelujah!