Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where The Heart Is

How many of us want to walk with God?? I know I do. I want to follow Him wherever He leads and I desire to obey Him with all that I am. This has been my desire for years. But too often it seemed like things were really hard to do. Like it would take too much work to get to where I thought I needed to be. You see, I did the same things that many people do. The same things that many are still doing. I got things out of order and out of whack. I tried to obey God because it was the right thing to do. And while God does want us to obey, we have to be careful to get first things first. Obedience comes naturally when we have first things first.

Luke chapter 18:18-23 records this account between Jesus and a rich young ruler:

18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what
shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou
me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. 20 Thou knowest the commandments,
Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness,
Honour thy father and thy mother. 21 And he said, All these have I kept from my
youth up. 22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest
thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou
shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 And when he heard this,
he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

Notice that the rich young ruler claims that he has kept the law from his youth up, and yet Jesus replies that the young man still lacks one thing and proceeds to tell him to sell everything, give to the poor and he will have treasure in heaven and to come and follow Christ. The comment, "thou shall have treasure in heaven" is the real give away here. Its just as if Jesus told the ruler, "You say you have kept the law, great, but what is your motivation,...where is your heart??

And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. The rich young ruler's heart wasn't with Jesus, it was with his "stuff". The rich young ruler's love of his stuff was greater than his love of God. He had gotten things out of whack, out of order. Imagine the stress he must have put himself through trying to keep the law for what he thought he could get out of it. If your heart isn't in something it can be a massive burden.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His
commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:3)

Obedience to His commands should flow naturally out of a heart of love. And that is the real point I am getting at. It is all about where your heart is. If your heart isn't with God, if your heart isn't with Jesus, you can do all these yes and no things, these do's and don'ts and none of it will matter.

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with
their lips; but their heart is far from me. (Matthew 15:8)

Do we want to hear Jesus say, "that was all well and good, but where is your heart"?
The rich young ruler had all of these different things that he treasured that he kept between his heart and Jesus. Jesus tells him, "let it all go, let everthing that stands between you and me fall away and give me your heart." And the rich young ruler was sorrowful for his heart belonged to his "stuff".

Look at Mark 12:28-34

28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together,
and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first
commandment of all? 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments
is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,
and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is
like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other
commandment greater than these. 32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master,
thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with
all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself,
is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. 34 And when Jesus saw
that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom
of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question. (Mark 12:28-34)

"You are not far from the Kingdom of God." This scribe got it!! He understood that you can believe all of the right things and do all of the right things, but without love it doesn't mean anything! We read 1 Corinthians 13 all of the time, but do we really get it? We need to attend to first things first.
If our heart is with God then obedience will follow. If our heart isn't 100% with God though, then all of our obedience means nothing.

Friend, the question I pose is where is your heart? Is there anything today that may be standing between your heart and Jesus? If so, then we need to let it go. We need to give it to Him so that we may follow Him. Notice in the story of the rich young ruler that Jesus tells the ruler to first get rid of his "stuff" and then to come follow Him. If we want to follow Jesus all of the way we can let nothing between. It brings to mind the song "Nothing Between My Soul and the Savior". If your desire is to truly follow Jesus, I pray that each one us take a look at ourselves and see if there is anything that we need to give over to Him that may be standing between us and our Savior. Where is your heart today???

Welcome to the Region of Peace