Thursday May 14, 2020
In our study of the heart we have seen the need of complete devotion to the Lord in all areas of our lives. This doesn’t make us perfect, though that is what we desire. It is a faith decision to entrust our whole lives to the Lord.
Could we imagine Christ commanding any part of His life in independence of the Father?
With this truth fairly present in my conscious mind due to our study, I quickly noticed this passage when reading through Isaiah.
"If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot
From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable,
And shall honor it, desisting from your own ways,
From seeking your own pleasure,
And speaking your own word,
14 Then you will take delight in the Lord,
And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
It is an attitude to honor the Lord’s way above all else. That attitude will allow God to transform the heart.
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.
God did not come into the world to make better versions of the old self. He came to kill it. God wants to pull the bad teeth, and He wants to pull out all the teeth, even the ones we think are good enough to keep. We are to be like Christ, every one of us, and that is all new and as high as the heavens. No half-measures, the heart is new and all personal desire associated with the old has to go.
Christ said during the Sermon on the Mount that His disciple is a person of a certain type - extraordinary like He is.
It demands a love of Him, of the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore a love of His life, which only the born-again can have. Monotheism and the Mosaic Law could not save the world. When the world was told that there was one God in heaven sovereign and to be feared and who would judge and that His law was upon the earth and it was to obeyed to the letter, the world took hardly any notice. In fact, most of the people in Israel, the first recipients of that truth, hardly noticed. God had to leave His heaven to come to earth and make it right, and a Man dying on a cross who was God, who spoke things that had never been heard before, to Him the world took notice, for better or for worse if they rejected what they saw. The man in charge, who stood for Roman justice, washed his hands in indecision, confirming that he found no answer to his question of “What is truth?” We who have believed in Him must love Him for in no other name under heaven can man be saved and in no other name is there life eternal, to be lived now in as much as this earthly body can handle infinite heaven.
The God of the Law is the God of love, which is the aspect of Him that the Pharisees and Sadducees missed by being blind to the Messiah in the scriptures.
“For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit; nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. 45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
Look at what He says before it:
And He also spoke a parable to them: "A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher [Christ and the Holy Spirit]. 41 "And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.
Then, in the heart there must be good treasure (vs. 45). The log must be the self-life, the old man, the one whom Christ crucified on the cross.
Jesus called us to this heavenly life and then He warned us not to accumulate any other teacher than Him and the Holy Spirit.
I am not your teacher. I have been called to communicate Him and the Holy Spirit’s instruction concerning the plan of the Father, which for us is the life of Christ. Any guide other than Christ and the Spirit will only end you face down in the ditch.
Then comes judging.
Rather than look into my own heart or notice if I am in the ditch or heading towards it, I point out some little stain on your shirt, and using that metaphorically, we all have several. So, Christ tells us, clean out that log, which is what? The old life, the old desires, the concern of the eyes, the flesh, and the pride of men in this world. He bids us to get rid of it and follow Him. When we do, baby steps at first, which God is delighted to see by the way, we lose our old self and put on the new self, which is just who we are, who God the Father has made us to be in Christ; His sons. But though all fathers are pleased to see their babies take those first uncertain steps, he will not be content with anything less than a strong, confident adult stride later on.
Before we are tempted to point out the stain on our brother’s shirt, we must be sure that the old life is gone from our soul. If not, we will be guilty of judging.
Then Jesus leads us to the truth that only the good heart can produce good fruit.
There are no half measures, no personal desires, no other teachers, no judging - only Him. Christ alone makes the heart good.
When you and I are caught off guard, we often see what is truly in our heart. There are rats in the cellar. “If we were prepared or ready,” we say, “we wouldn’t have reacted so selfishly and with resentment.”
If we went into the cellar yelling and banging, all the rats would have hid before we turned on the light. If we go in quiet and unexpectedly and turn on the light, we will catch a glimpse of them.
Notice this: if I want to change my current behavior bad enough, then by direct and conscious effort, I can do so. But what about my disposition, my temperament, my rats … can I change them by the same direct and conscious effort?
The heart is unknown by man. It is only known and changed by God.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.”