The Way of the Burning Heart* (An excerpt from Eitan Shishkoff’s forthcoming book:  With All Your Heart)

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“And they said to one another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?'” (Luke 24:32)

 “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones.” (Jeremiah 20:9)

What a tangible description of the effect of God’s Word inside of me! If you’ve ever had a thought or a feeling that was burning in you, you can fathom the account of the disciples who encountered Yeshua on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24, or the sensation spoken of by Jeremiah. This penetrating phrase, “fire in my heart,” challenges me to ask myself “Is the fire of God’s truth burning in MY heart?  Or am I merely reading the pages for content and to ‘check the box’ that I’ve read the Bible today? Is my faith a flame or a fizzle?”

The returning King makes a tough statement in Revelation 3:16. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Why is Yeshua turned off by lukewarmness? It’s the same reason I don’t enjoy hot coffee that’s cooled off. This doesn’t mean that we are to maintain a fake froth of spiritual enthusiasm. But it does point out our tendency to be dragged away from a passionate heart for God by a thousand and one amusements, anxieties, and aspirations.

What then is the key to fanning the flames of my love for the Lord, and keeping that fire burning? The quotes that opened this chapter hold some helpful clues.

When did the disciples’ hearts burn? It was while He talked with them on the road.  OK. I want to invite you right now to take a walk. If it’s not convenient this moment, then very soon.  Get outside and begin walking. Tell the Lord that you want to talk with Him “on the road,” like those disciples going to Emmaus. Ask Him questions. Pour out your troubles and your longings. Then listen. He is waiting for you!  Once you sense Him speaking to your heart, allow your heart to warm up. It may not happen the first or second time. But my experience is that when I truly seek Him, I find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). Being in touch with the One who fashioned the universe and Who shaped me to participate in His plan, thrills me. THAT catches my heart on fire.

Then, during that same walk from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus, He opened their eyes to “all the Scriptures concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). And that was before they knew who He was! Yeshua is eager to reveal Himself through the pages of the Book. A surefire way to experience this burning sensation is to take your time ingesting His word. If you’re like me, sometimes reading the Bible can be dry. But more often, if I open myself inside and I yearn to hear what the Spirit is saying to me, I find Him “reading my mail” and touching my heart. No one else knows what I’m going through in such intimate detail. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). It blows my mind repeatedly, but God actually cares about my moment to moment well-being. His desire is to interact with me heart to heart.

*Chapter title borrowed from “Hearing God” by Dallas Willard, 2012, IVP Books.

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