I was struck recently by a passage from the letter to the Hebrews. “The word of God is living and effective…able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) When I think of discernment, I think of praying and reflecting in order to come to know what is in God’s mind and heart for me. This passage invites me to look at discernment from a different angle.
The passage indicates that it is God who discerns what’s in my heart. Rather than trying to figure out what God is thinking and desiring, perhaps I am being invited to look into my own heart and see what God sees–reflections, thoughts, and desires that point to decisions and actions for God’s reign.
Jesus said that he came to call sinners, so when he calls the disciples and looks into their heart, he sees their sinfulness, but he also sees their goodness, and that’s why he calls them to follow him. He knows what we are made of, and he also knows what we are capable of when we allow him to lead us.
In my photography I am in effect looking into my own heart and reacting to the scene in front of me. What God thinks of the scene is not my focus, but rather what it is within me that makes it an attractive subject for study and the creation of a photographic image. The sense of beauty, design, etc., that a scene evokes in me comes from my own experience of the world and is not perceived as being outside of me. The image produced is a response to what is in my heart.
“As Jesus passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed Jesus.” (Mark 2:14)