Friday, November 8, 2013

What's In Your Heart?

God sees us with clarity like a hawk
      Frequently, in our office, someone will mention what they heard on the news that day.  Most of the time we find ourselves asking why or how someone could do the awful deed they carried out.  Frankly, I am glad I do not understand that mindset, yet over and over, we read about people abusing little children, murdering their family, shooting up a place of employment or an airport.  It seems to have escalated with time.  However, God is not surprised.
     Jeremiah the Prophet wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:  "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it?  I, the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds" (Chapter 17:9-10).  The
se are solemn words my friends.  Without Christ, our hearts are blackened by sin.  Our minds are full of selfish thoughts.  Is there any wonder then that Jesus would not trust Himself to man?  In John's Gospel we read in Chapter 2:  "…23Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. 24But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man."  Our Lord was not caught off guard by what lies in the heart of a man or woman.  He knew the sinfulness of our hearts.
     As we look at the verses in Jeremiah, we see that God knows our heart, mind and deeds. There will come a day when we will be judged by our deeds if we are not in relationship to His Son Jesus Christ.  When we consider the Ten Commandments, can anyone of us say we have kept them all perfectly?  However, outside of Christ, this is how we will be the Law of a holy and righteous God.  I tremble when I think of standing before a holy God based on my deeds alone.
     Just so we are clear on this, let us look at some of the deeds done by the heart.  The Apostle Paul lists a number of them in Galatians chapter 5:  "19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."  This is what is meant by the heart is desperately wicked as we look at this list.
     By contrast, if we repent and turn from our sins at the invitation of the Holy Spirit, God gives to us a new heart, a renewed mind through His Word and the deeds that follow are fruitful.  According to the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:  " 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."  What a dramatic change from the wicked heart filled with envy, hatred, and self serving.  Only God can do this work in us.  This is precisely why we need to tell others the Good News of our Savior Jesus Christ.
      Unless and until a heart is changed by Christ, we will continue to see the horrible effects of sin in our cities and nation.  Bullying, school shootings, lies by those in authority are all symptomatic of the sin nature which Jeremiah points out so clearly.  We must pray for God to intervene in our communities, states, in the nation, and in the world that many will be called by His name.  He alone has the power to change the wicked heart.  May He use us as instruments in telling others the Good News.  Otherwise, they will be judged by their deeds before a holy God.  Lord, help us to let our light shine!  Selah!

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