Experiencing the Father’s Love
My wife, Robby, and I were experiencing our heavenly Father’s love every morning more powerfully than I had thought possible. No matter how early we awakened, we didn’t want to go back to sleep. We wanted to talk with our Father and soak in his exquisite love. Our hearts were not only being knit with his, but with each other’s as well.
It all started during one early morning prayer gathering downtown Spokane. Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “There is a whole generation in Spokane that is uncircumcised.” It felt like a bucket of ice water had been thrown in my face. We knew that church attendance in Spokane was low and that many had not yet been adopted into the Lord’s family, but what was this “uncircumcised” business?
I spent the rest of the prayer meeting rummaging through the Bible on my lap, looking up everything I could find on “circumcision” and “uncircumcision.” There was the familiar covenant commandment of circumcision to Abraham and the circumcision of his household (Genesis 17) as well as the more-obscure story about Moses’ two sons being circumcised on his way to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. (Exodus 4:24-26) Forty years later under Joshua a whole generation of Israelites were circumcised just after they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land. (Joshua 5) And so much more. But was it physical circumcision about which the Lord was speaking to me that early morning?
I soon found that there was one aspect of biblical circumcision that I had completely missed: circumcision of the heart. “…circumcision (is not) merely outward and physical. …circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit…” (Romans 2:28-29)
Heart circumcision is specifically commanded in Deuteronomy 10:16, “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer” and Jeremiah 4:4, “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts… or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire because of the evil you have done—burn with no one to quench it.” In both passages, we are told to circumcise our own hearts. That was clear.
Then I discovered that scripture attributes the work of heart circumcision to all three persons of the Trinity: to God the Father (Deuteronomy 30:6), God the Holy Spirit (Romans 2:28-29) and God the Son (Colossians 2:11-12). That was sobering. When we obediently circumcise our hearts to the Lord we are simply doing what the Father, King Jesus and Holy Spirit are doing. How much importance must our God place on our hearts being rightly circumcised?
That morning I sensed that this was a weighty word of the Lord that he wanted to be part of our lives and ministry. It was his desire and calling for the whole uncircumcised-in-heart generation in Spokane to be heart-circumcised to him. When the Lord later renewed his call, my heart became fired up to see this happen.
I invited Robby and a young friend to pray for the Lord to circumcise their hearts; they were receptive. Then the Lord confronted me. “You are doing what preachers do, trying to get others to obey when you haven’t yourself.” I repented and asked the Lord to circumcise my own heart. As he answered the prayer, he showed me a “picture” of a large heart, which had the start of a circumcision cut, but which was not at all completely circumcised. I asked him to complete the operation and watched as he cut all around and through my heart. Roughly a third of my heart was removed (the “old man,” that which is not pleasing to Christ Jesus); the rest was bloody and sensitive where covenant had been cut.
It was this freshly circumcised heart that was able to receive such an amazing experience of the Father’s love every morning.
My dear wife also prayed for and received the Lord’s work of heart circumcision. For her, it was more of an ongoing process day after day. For both of us it was a new experience of God’s love and close intimate presence that was greater than ever before. We wouldn’t trade those early days for anything. Our triangle of intimate heart relationships each with the Lord and with each other results in the flow of the Spirit from our inner beings that Jesus promised. (John 7:37-39)
We have found the Lord revisiting our hearts for deeper heart circumcision. We welcome it; the fruit is good. We invite you to ask the Lord to complete his work of circumcision in your heart and join us in prayer that he circumcise the whole living generation of which he spoke.