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The first time you travel to Jerusalem, get prepared to see a lot of rocks. Many first-time visitors feel overwhelmed by the number of rocks scattered around the city. It’s easy to see why the ancients practiced stoning for capital crimes. I’ve never seen so many rocks in one place. You also might hear quite a few stories about how these rocks got there. One says that God commissioned two angels to scatter rocks across the globe. One angel flew all over the world, scattering the rocks, but the other was lazy. He just dumped them all on Jerusalem.

My favorite story is the one I heard from our tour guide in Israel. He said that God has placed in the heart of every individual a desire to see Jerusalem. Through the years, as time goes by, a person begins to worry that this desire may never be fulfilled. The person’s heart begins to grow heavy as that old desire to see Jerusalem remains unfulfilled. It grows heavier and heavier until it becomes like a stone.

But one glorious day, God gives the individual an opportunity to visit Jerusalem. As he approaches the city of God, he feels such joy and elation that he takes that old heart of stone and casts it aside. At last his dream has come true! Before him, with his own eyes, he drinks in the holy city of God.

So all those rocks you see piled around Jerusalem are actually the stony hearts of countless visitors.

Many of us have stony hearts made hard and bitter through difficult experiences, bitter disappointments, and terrible injustices. Our hearts grow hard against the Lord until they become like a stone. The good news of Jesus Christ is that God can take those hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh—sensitive, tender, loving. He can melt all the bitterness and take away all the hardness and leave behind a beautiful work of His Spirit. That is the only way to love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. And it is the only way to discover and to enjoy God’s loving purpose for you.

Your life and mine each has a center point. The big question is: where does that center point lie? What do our lives revolve? What is the access point upon which our days turn? Jesus told us that that the only way to find purpose and meaning is to orient our lives around God. Why? Because he is the only center point worth having. The Lord Almighty must become the center of our existence, the very hub around which the rest of our lives revolve—and that begins to happen for all of us when we willingly and with joy choose to pursue a loving relationship with Him.

Love God supremely! This is the first major step on the road to a life well-led and well worth living.

 “We know him because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:19

– excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith

continue reading the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Calvary Southampton

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