Thursday June 18, 2020
The heart is always pursuing something. We must be careful that it pursues God alone.
The heart is the energy of life, the depth or center of life and emotion. Often it is indistinguishable from the soul and spirit. The heart is described as the seat of physical life as well as moral and spiritual life. It is the seat of every human thing, both good and bad.
The heart can be good or evil. It can contain good or bad treasure.
Only God can build a good heart. Our part is to learn from, follow, and obey Him in everything.
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
“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.”
There is a self, or old self in each of us that wants its own way. It will even want God’s way if it can accomplish it by itself. If we are trying to remain ourselves, to keep personal happiness as our main goal in life, and at the same time be the good that God has made us to be, Christ warned us that this is exactly what we must not do. He starkly warned us many times that we must not try to let our mind and heart go their own way - centered on money, pleasure, and ambition (lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride) - and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly like Him. Christ warned us that this was impossible. He said that thistles don’t make figs.
Every believer is a new self, and the new self is completely under the authority of the Father in everything. “Present yourselves to God as a holy and living sacrifice, as a workman who needs not to be ashamed.”
The old self can do nothing good. God crucified it in Christ and we banish it from any rule in our inner man. We obey God, especially when it is difficult to do so, and God will transform our hearts.
We must honestly realize that God is going to transform our hearts only as far as we are willing to let Him. If we don’t resist temptation, fight the good fight, hold on to eternal life, entrust everything to Him, then much of our heart will remain like the old self.
Jesus possessed divine joy and peace because He was completely obedient and submissive to the Father.
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.
God certainly desires to rid us of the things that we know are hurting our lives, but He will not be content with just them. God did not come into the world to make better versions of the old self. He came to kill it.
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. Only God’s will and way gives understanding to any aspect of life. The longer a believer waits to give any part of his life completely over to God’s will, the longer he has put off understanding that part of his life. All sin and or good pertains to a part of life: pleasure, self-consciousness, work, relationships of friendship, marriage, neighbors, purpose, meaning, dreams, hopes, memory, culture, creativity, even time and how it is spent wisely. I’m thinking here of purely human things which all hold in common, but only some know anything about them as God would know them. The believer has been gifted with the open door to heaven, which he has already walked through, on the highway of the new and living way. By learning and obeying, he comes into contact with the good of God for humanity and is infected by that good. The more infection, the more deep and lasting change to his heart.
Taking up our cross means death to our old self.
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? 27 "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds. 28 "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
Immediately after this, Matthew records the vision of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. Christ showed us what was in store for us, and it is not grounded in the earth or the old self.
Satan, the world, and the flesh are always opposing and trying to destroy the spiritual life of Christ. If we pursue with a fully convinced heart, we will suffer. We will not see the full extent of love, joy, and peace if we do something other than God’s will to ease the opposing suffering that we face.
"By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 "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. 14 "You are My friends, if you do what I command you. 15 "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
JOH 17:3 "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Jesus said, “Abide in My love as I have in the Father’s; keep My commands as I have the Father’s, and My joy will abide in you and your joy will be made full. But remember, greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Is this true? If it is, why do any of us hold back from its full pursuit? Do we not want our joy to be made full? Or do we believe there is another way to experience joy made full?
We find ourselves actually afraid to commit this much, but is there any other greater reward than experiencing the fullness of divine joy?