I suspect I’ll always feel guilt for the hypocrisy of disagreement between what I claim to believe and what I choose to do. This guilt motivates me to change my behavior so that it better reflects my beliefs. Lately, I’ve been convicted by my lack of sacrificial love. I’m part of a community of believers who feel called to love and serve the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, but I don’t do very much loving or serving there. So, I’ve been planning to step out into what is for me unfamiliar territory and start ministering to that neighborhood. Maybe I’d pray and walk the streets. Maybe I’d read the Bible aloud in Hard Times. Maybe I’d hand out winter clothes to homeless people. Whatever.

But I was concerned that my heart wasn’t really in it. I would be acting out of guilt and legalistic expectations rather than out of a compassionate heart. I needed to get passion first. Then again, simple obedience and service can transform our hearts very effectively! I wasn’t sure what to do, so I asked a friend who serves in that neighborhood regularly what specific things I could do to serve those people. Without knowing my internal conflict, he replied with no recommendations for ministry, only that I transform my heart with constant prayer and Bible reading.

I took this as confirmation from God that I should take some time to renovate my heart through practicing his presence and studying his truth. Praise God! I hope he also gives me clear direction to step out and serve, sometime.