Sunday, May 31, 2015

Reflections of My Heart

                I am a very visual person. I see pictures and movies (for lack of a better word) being played out in my mind. When the Lord wants to teach me something it usually comes in a picture of some sort. I seem to grasp it or understand it quicker if I can see it in my mind. However, being a visual person has its drawbacks as well. Usually my movie going mind wanders and the next thing you know I am playing out scenes in my head of conversations I want to have with someone. I play out different scenarios of how things would go, what I would say, how they should react and the like. I pretty much have a miniature Hollywood studio for a brain. Usually these scenes never amount to anything, and if they do come to pass, they never seem to happen the way I pictured them. But the other day, as I was playing through one of these scenes in my mind I heard the still small voice of my Lord tell me that my thoughts revealed my heart towards this person.

                As I heard the still small voice of my Lord tell me again that my thoughts revealed my heart, I was immediately convicted. Why? Because the thoughts that I was having about this person were not holy, godly thoughts, they were judgmental and rude. If someone would have spoken to me the way that I was thinking of speaking to this person, well, let’s just say not a whole lot of Christian would have come out of me. I would have fleshed out in a heartbeat. But the truth that my thoughts revealed my heart towards this person hurt so much that I found myself in a state of brokenness. Over and over again in my mind were pictures of my heart. Every thought that I had about myself, others, and my God were a reflection of what was and is buried in the depths of my soul, and this wretched sinner was humbled.
                My thoughts, our thoughts are a window into the very core of our beings. Our thoughts reveal who we truly are underneath all our outer coverings of Christian living. God sees our hearts because He knows every single thought we think even before we think it.
                “Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:17-20 ESV
                Jesus is confronted in this chapter by the Pharisees who see the disciples eating without washing their hands first. Jesus responds to them and basically tells them that they are a bunch of hypocrites because the outside of a man does not defile him nor make him unclean. What makes a man unclean is the inside of us. The sin that is buried in the depths of our hearts, the very thoughts that we think defile us more than any outward law, doctrine or church directive we choose not to follow ever could. Jesus tells us that what comes out of our mouths come directly from our hearts. It proceeds from within. The heart that Jesus is referring to is not the organ that keeps blood pumping through your body. He is not referring to your heart of flesh. He is referring to your mind, your soul. The word heart is defined as the seat of all emotions, passions, desires, thoughts, etc. It is our soul. It is our very inner being. The part of us that God knows intimately. The heart of man is the mind of man.
                Our minds are the center of our being. Our thoughts are a direct reflection of what is in that center. Our thoughts are a mirror for us to see who and what we truly are. In Jeremiah 29:11 God tells us that the thoughts He thinks toward us are of peace, and to give us a future and a hope. In this passage God is not only telling us of His thoughts toward us, but He is also revealing His heart for us. He is showing us His heart through His thoughts. He tells us that He thinks about us and those thoughts are peaceful, because His heart is to live in peace with us. He tells us that His thoughts are about our future because His heart is to have an eternal future with us. His heart is one of hope and love and peace toward us, and those are His thoughts toward us as well. His thoughts of you are a direct reflection of His heart for you.
                Jesus goes on to tell us in Matthew 15:17-20 that from our hearts, the very center of our beings come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false witnesses, and slanders. Those thoughts that you are having towards that brother or sister in the Lord, your spouse, your friend, your family member, those thoughts are reveling your true heart for them. Think about it for just a minute and take a second to grasp what I am trying to say here, what I hope that I am getting across- before you go and cheat on your spouse, you are going to have thoughts about that co-worker first. You are going to think about being with them, and have thoughts about them first. Before you steal you are going to think about what you are stealing. Your mind is going to play out
those scenes, those small Hollywood productions and you are going to either act on them or you are going to see them for what they are- a window into the depth of your soul.
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                As I think about all the thoughts I have had towards others just in these last few days I am humbled, saddened and in need of repentance. I can relate to David on such a deeper level of understanding now and can cry out with even more fervor for the Lord to “Search me and know my heart”. (Psalm 139:23) His heart for me is revealed in His thoughts toward me and my heart for Him is revealed not only in my thoughts toward Him, but also towards the people He has called me to love.
                Jesus says in Matthew 15:8-9 that we are a people who honor Him with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. We are a bunch of hypocrites because we say we love our brothers and sisters but our thoughts betray us before God. My thoughts reveal my true heart and this heart of mine needs a complete overhaul of His mercy and His grace. I have honored Him with my lips, but this heart of mine has been far from Him. Is there any hope for me? Is there any hope for us at all?
                Yes, I thank my God that there is hope in Jesus Christ our Lord who has delivered us from the power of death and given us the promise of His redeeming grace.  Instead of focusing on the wrongs, the faults of others maybe I should start finding those things that are “noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, the virtue, and all that is praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8). Instead of focusing on the hurt, the pain and the unworthy, maybe we should focus on the One who is worthy. Never once do we see Jesus pointing out the faults or sins of those who came to Him. The woman caught in adultery- what did He say to her? He told her that He did not condemn her and to go and sin no more. He did not think about her sin, He just forgave her and loved her past it. (John 8:7-11) Perhaps the outside world would be more receptive to our efforts towards the gospel of Grace if what proceeded from our hearts was what God asked for in the first place-to love one another. Perhaps instead of thinking about all that is wrong with that person, we started to focus on all that was right with Jesus. May then our witness for Him might actually mean something to that woman caught in adultery.
                David cried out to the Lord for Him to search him and to know his heart. He asked for God to try his thoughts and see if there was wickedness in him. (Psalm 139:23-24) Maybe we should begin doing the same. We must recognize our thoughts for what they are- a reflection of our hearts towards others and towards our God, and when our thoughts are less than love, let us pray for His power and His mercy to change us, to renew our minds according to His mercy and His grace. (Romans 12:2) Then and only then will our worship be more than just an outward profession, but will become a true inward confession and we will no longer be so far from Him.

                May the Lord Jesus Christ bless His word today and give us understanding to walk in His ways. Reveal our hearts to us Lord, help us to recognize our thoughts and bring them to Your for cleansing and renewing. Forgive us for our wayward hearts, and lead us into life everlasting. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen and Amen.