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Posts Tagged ‘heart’

Give to God what is God’s

Matthew 22:21

Thomas Kempis puts a unique twist on this phrase which is from Jesus.

Kempis’ twist is: Give to God what is God’s and ascribe to yourself what is yours.” (1)

What do you have that is God’s? 

Perhaps, asking the question in the negative is more illustrative and to the point: “What do I have that is not God’s?”

On one hand, everything I have is God’s because it comes from what God has provided me.  There is nothing I have which I can truly claim is mine.  But I must ask, “Does God really want all the junk in my basement?”

No!  God does not need nor does He desire all my junk.  What he wants is my heart, your heart.

God wants our first love, if He has that, He has all of us.  If He does not have our first love, there is nothing we can give Him of value.

Jesus’ original response to the inquiring and savvy Pharisee who hoped to get Jesus arrested by the Roman guards was: “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.” 

Jesus made clear that God neither needed nor desired our worldly stuff. 

God wants what He deserves. 

God wants the one and only thing we have which is of value to Him.

God wants our grateful and humble hearts, our first love.

Does he have yours?  If not, go read Revelation 2:4.

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(1) Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1996), 83.

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… have the mind of Christ …

Philippians 2:5

 

Your mind is as valuable to God as your heart because you make decisions about how you will actually live with your mind.  

 

While your heart determines how it want to live, it is your mind which sends impulses and messages to all the parts of your body, generating action.  

 

We know many people who say, “They would love to ….”, but at the end of the day, they act differently.

 

In Romans 12:2, Paul encourages us, “To be transformed by the renewal of our minds so we might do what pleases God.”

 

If you read further in Philippians 2, particularly verses 6-8, you will see how Jesus’ mind worked.  His only thought was to suffer because He loved us.  A perfect melding of the mind and the heart.

 

The mind of Christ is developed through 5 particular activities: worship, prayer, Bible Study, Christian fellowship, and compassionate care.

 

Many Christians fail to develop the mind of Christ because they are self-absorbed and focused on so many different activities.  

 

We frequently hear and say, ”If you put your mind to it, you can ….”!  

 

Individuals have mastered physics, business management, shooting free throws, home decorating, how to make friends, and auto mechanics by simply putting their mind to it.

 

Yet, many of the same people will tell me that developing the mind of Christ is too much work.  Phooey! 

 

Developing the mind of Christ is no harder than developing any other skill-set or body of knowledge.

 

The heart that desires to develop the mind of Christ can, if it puts it mind to it.

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Always keep a part of your heart reserved for God. (1)

 

I have known people with hard hearts or, as Ezekiel writes, hearts of stone.

 

People with hard hearts are generally unforgiving, self-centered, and cold.  They are not drawn towards others nor are others drawn to them.

 

A hard heart is the ugliest attribute a person can possess.  

 

Hard hearts do not make room for God.  They are devoid of love and are unmoved by the beauty and mystery of life.  

 

Hard hearts are never broken, but neither do they live.

 

Not only does God want us to have hearts that have a spot reserved for Him, but he promises to give us one:

“I will remove your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh.” (2)

 

A heart of flesh is a goldmine for love and life.  

 

A hard heart is nothing more than a gravel pit.

 

Your heart is your treasure chest. (3) 

 

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  1. Luther, Martin; Galvin, James C. (2009-05-19). Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 290). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26.
  3. Matthew 6:21

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 The head can grasp a great deal 

which the heart has never comprehended. (1)

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There was never a more accurate diagnosis of what afflicts us the most in our enlightened state as well educated individuals living in our never ending stream of digital data in the fast-pace, hyper-connected Information Age of today.

This brilliant diagnosis was offered to us by a woman writing to an old friend in 1868.

Head knowledge is a tremendous gift and asset, which we can use to razzle and dazzle our way through the world and achieve success, recognition, honor, and riches.

However, the only knowledge which really counts, is the knowledge that has found a home in our heart.  The heart has morals, ethics, and values because it serves as our conscience.  The mind contains information without the capacity to sift and weigh the value or goodness of what we know.

The mind’s brilliance has been, in part, the source of our most recent economic downturn:  

  • A friend tells you that he knows how to get a mortgage on a house you cannot afford.  
  • A financial guru tells an investor what he knows about how money can be made in derivatives and swapping credit defaults. 
  • A banker knows how to make more money on fees, bonuses, and stock-options, than on sound lending practices  

When we let the mind’s knowledge determine the course of our lives, without the heart comprehending what we are doing, we are always left with a mess.

Deuteronomy 6:4-6  is for Jews the most sacred text of Hebrew Scripture and is a text which Jesus also taught as most sacred and holy:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”  (2)

God commanded that the people love Him with all their heart.  Furthermore, this important command was to be on your heart.

I have thousands of dollars invested in my Bible research software.  I can exegete, postulate, and repeat information about God and the Bible with the best.  However, if my heart is not right with God, this knowledge will be nothing more than a clanging cymbal.

Guard your heart as you fill your mind.

You are what is in your heart.

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  1. Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life : The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Deuteronomy 6:4–6.

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