Tuesday May 12, 2020
A good heart produces divine fruit - the good stuff of virtue and love with strength and joy.
"And the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
16 "Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, in order that those who come in may see the light. 17 "For nothing is hidden that shall not become evident, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. 18 "Therefore take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him shall more be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him."
“Take care how you listen,” is said by Jesus just after He moves much of His teaching to parables, as is the parable of the sower. They had accused Him of doing His miracles by the power of Satan. The leadership in Israel at the time professed this great lie, and Jesus had told us that Satan was the father of lies, and a liar from the beginning. Therefore, we must be careful how we listen, for great lies swirl about in the world.
God is not in the business of helping you to overcome some things, making those areas of your life better, and leaving the rest of your life to your own charge.
They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.
So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way,
And be satiated with their own devices.
The problem with this thinking is this: that self isn’t life.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord;
And He delights in his way.
Man's steps are ordained by the Lord,
How then can man understand his way?
I know, O Lord, that a man's way is not in himself;
Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.
When we believed the gospel we gave up all hope of our own devices or works for salvation. Paul writes ROM 4:18 “In hope against hope he [Abraham] believed.” The phrase means that he had hope in God that was against all hope in himself and the world he lived in.
Whatever aspect of my life I keep to myself and do not hand over to the Lord’s will are aspects I will not understand.
Personal desire (eyes, flesh, pride) are not life. We cannot hold on to them and “be good.”
Christ warned us not to serve two masters. He warned us that we could not hold on to personal desires that are in conflict with God’s will and at the same time be humble and obedient sons. Thorns don’t produce figs.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 "For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. 26 "For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
“Take up his cross” means death to the old self. Christ has done this and only the work of the Trinity can convince us that it has been done and with good reason.
Personal wishes and desires have nothing to do with the life of Christ. Do we realize what Jesus meant when He said He was giving us his joy and His peace?
Jesus’ joy and peace existed within Him because of who He was and not because of what He had or didn’t have.
He told His disciples that He would suffer many things, be rejected, and be killed, but also, that He would be raised on the third day.
He possessed joy and peace because His whole heart was devoted to life, His life, and ours must be as well. Not a mixture of our desires and His.
Can we see even more so why He rebuked Peter, calling him Satan, when Peter boldly forbid that He, the One Peter just declared to be the Christ, the Son of God, to suffer and die? Peter was tempting Him to chose a personal desire over the life of the divine. Satan tempted Him in the wilderness to do the same.
Initially we get excited to hear that Christ gave us His peace and that it doesn’t depend upon circumstances and so we think immediately that we’re always going to have peace. What we come to learn later on is what “not dependent upon circumstances” really means. It means that we relinquish all personal desires to God’s will.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
You shall have no other gods before Me.”
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
No person has ever had a personal desire to lay down our lives for others. Paul writes that perhaps for a good man someone might die, but Christ died for His enemies, for sinners. No one would do that other than Him. And so, as in the Sermon, the good heart was surrounded by loss of self and the suffering upon us for doing that, so here, as losing our lives for our friends.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Joy and peace demand suffering in this world. To not fully submit to whatever suffering comes, putting it in the hands of God, is to lose joy and peace.