Deuteronomy 30:6 "And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live."
Today missionaries at AMOR got the interesting opportunity of watching a seven month baby boy get circumcised. An American couple, fellow missionaries at Peru Projects,brought the baby in- apparently circumcision is not very common for Peruvians.
I was very surprised at how difficult the procedure was. The baby was wailing and crying, the father had to hold him down. It made me think about Biblical circumcision. How awkward and painful it must have been for grown men to get circumcised- how unpleasant. Was it really worth all of that to God? Apparently so, which makes me wonder what the full purpose of circumcision was and how Christ wants to circumcise our hearts today.
From what I've been studying, spiritual circumcision is when we let the Holy Spirit take off our fleshful, natural selves and clean our hearts by faith. It's circumcision by the Holy Spirit- nothing we can do. Thus we pray, read our Bibles, and open our hearts to the Spirit's work. Then as He begins to change our hearts we bear patience, perserverance, and much faith.
Circumcision of the heart is painful and not easy- yet at utmost importance with our walk with Christ. As God starts to work in our lives, often He takes us to places that our uncomfortable. He makes us question our identity and everything we used to believe in. Often He totally transforms our lives in a completely new direction. It's difficult- yes- but when we are right and clean with God, we experience an unimaginable peace and comfort- feeling totally safe and secure in who we are as Christ's children.
My friend Katie Kat and I were talking about life today and how we were amazed at who we were. We couldn't believe how much we have felt God changing us since we got here. We talked about the struggle to become hard-hearted and to want to yell out at God "Stop, take me back." Yet through our struggles here at AMOR (physically: worms, lice, illness, cold showers; emotionally: questioning purpose, tiredness, watching poverty and people in pain, and spiritually: shouting Why? at the top of my lungs) God is circumcising our hearts for His glory.
It's not always a beautiful thing--
when the doctor did it there was blood squirting everywhere and the baby even peed. Likewise often I feel like a mess, wonder if I'm doing the right thing, and question the very core of who God is and what He made me for. It's definitely the hardest year of my life spiritually.
Yet circumcision is important and necessary. God promises to finish what He started and to create in me (and YOU) a new heart. Last week God gave me this Bible verse and I think it is my new favorite: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26 God is at work and He promises to give us a beautiful heart like His: one that's not selfish nor greedy but one that loves, is tender, is generous, and compassionate.
I don't know about you, but I want a heart like Christ's. When people see me, I want them to feel loved. I want them to see joy. I want them to find hope. I know without a doubt that I can not do this on my own- but I have faith that Christ can do this in me.
Circumcize the foreskin of your heart, and no longer be stubborn Deuternonomy 10:16