Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Matters Of The Heart - Matter

 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings."  – Jeremiah 17:9-10

I am certain you are familiar with the phrase, “He had a change of heart.”  We use it when someone had a certain attitude or had decided to take a different course of action. Normally the choice had to do with a kinder or more considerate way. Most countries use incarceration as a way of controlling bad behavior with the hope of changing that behavior – but incarceration does not change the heart which is the source of all behavior – good and bad. The heart being the essence of who a person is.  When God gave Moses the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:3-17), there were 4 that had to do with our attitude toward God and 6 that had to do with our attitude toward other people. God was first and people were second. The 10 commandments were summarized by Jesus with the two greatest commandments in Matthew 22:37-39, love God first and then love others next.  So what is the problem? Like a friend of mine would say, “All there is to it is to do it!” How is that working out for you?

In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus shared eight (8) Beatitudes.  Eight attitudes, if you will, that people who have had a spiritual change of heart should have. Jesus raised the bar on the 10 Commandments by saying that contrary to our thinking – we don’t sin when we so something – we sin when we think something. I have said it before – sin starts in the heart.

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.  ……  You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:21-22,27-28

Having the right attitudes in the heart is totally dependent upon having the right relationship with the Father through the Son by the inhabitation of the Spirit. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

To live a life that glorifies God and is a testimony to the world is 100% dependent upon the surrender of our hearts. And that only happens through diligent pursuit of God by faith. We all struggle with the tension between our old and new natures.  Don’t deceive yourself in thinking that it only matters what you do – not what you think.

So Jesus said, ‘Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.’” – Matthew 15:16-20

Do you struggle with your heart? I do. I recall King David being accused by the Prophet Nathan of his sin with Bathsheba and the killing of her husband Uriah. David expressed his remorse in Psalm 51.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart — These, O God, You will not despise.” – Psalm 51:10-17

Think about it – Pray about it - Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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