“Color My Heart Holy” was the theme for Elementary Spiritual Emphasis Week at the Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center in April. I was so blessed to have been invited to return once again to lead this week of special chapels. As I prayed and sought God’s direction for the week, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to help these precious students understand that everything we do or say or think comes from our heart…and that’s where transformation has to happen. We have to change from the inside out. But we can’t do it by ourselves. We have to surrender our lives to Jesus and ask Him to change our hearts.
So we began the first day by asking the question, “What color is my heart?” Just as a physician often looks at outward and visible signs of illness to diagnose a problem with our heart, so too can others look at us, our actions and our words, to determine the condition of our heart. As we read from Matthew 22, the verses known as “The Great Commandment”, we saw that God wants our hearts to be holy, or in other words, to be hearts that love God and love our neighbor.
We began the next morning by looking at the contrast between a fearful heart and a courageous, or brave, heart. Many of the students had colored their own versions of what these types of hearts might look like. As I shared the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10), we learned that God wants us to be brave enough to love our neighbor. In the context of a school day, that could mean standing up and defending those who are being victimized in some way. Being brave isn’t easy when you are in elementary school. Actually, it’s not easy at any age.
Chapels continued the following day with a look at angry and humble hearts. Examples of both can be found in Scripture…Cain attacking Abel, Balaam beating his donkey, Jonah complaining to God, but also Naaman submitting to the prophet’s command to bathe in the Jordan River. Our refrain for the day was repeated often through our chapel service: “Oh no! Watch out! Don’t shout and scream! Don’t let being mad make you be mean!”
Finally, we closed with a return to the idea of loving God and loving our neighbor as evidence of a holy heart. And we admitted we have a problem. We try to be good and to love, but we just can’t. But when we can’t, God can. We can pray like David in Psalm 51 and offer ourselves as living sacrifices as in Romans 12. I shared that doing so can keep our hearts spiritually healthy, just like daily exercise can keep our hearts physically healthy. As about half of the students came forward to pray, I read a paraphrase of the following verses: 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13.
“May the Lord make your love grow. May it be like a rising flood. May your love for one another increase. May it be just like our love for you, Jesus. May the Lord give you strength in your hearts to always love Him. Then you will be holy in His eyes. Then your hearts will be like His. Amen.”
I am still praying those words for the elementary students at SCCLC. I am praying that as they wear the tie-dye t-shirts they made in art class – colorfully decorated to represent our hearts filled with God’s beautiful grace and gifts – they will remember to daily surrender their hearts and lives to Jesus. Won’t you pray that with me – for those students and for each of us? After all, we all need to be asking the question, what color is my heart?