314 – What are you thinking?
We finished Psalm sixteen last time. As I have prayerfully considered whether to continue to the next Psalm or write about something else, one thought has occupied my thinking. What is it that God expects of believers in Jesus Christ? I suspect our minds immediately race to an ever-expanding list of dos and don’ts. However, I fear if we dwell on the dos and don’ts, we are like to miss something critically important. If we don’t consider this foundational element our “performance” will become “religious activity” and will eventually enslave us.
This is not an earth-shattering revelation here, but I hope our familiarity with the concept doesn’t cause us to dismiss it. We need to consider, what’s in our heart. Let’s consider the scriptures and see if we can piece this puzzle together.
Matthew 12:33-35 (NKJV)
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Keep in mind as you read the above passage that Jesus was specifically addressing a particular group of “religious” men. He is not necessarily calling us modern-day readers a “brood of vipers”. Let’s focus on the truth Jesus is revealing and declaring here. Jesus refers to a man as a tree. Knowing that we can substitute the word man. “Either make the [man] good and [his] fruit good, or else make the [man] bad and [his] fruit bad”.
Look at the last half of verse 34. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. But carefully notice how verse 35 builds on that concept. What’s in our hearts doesn’t just dictate what we say, it also determines the “things” we do. There is a word for when what’s in our hearts doesn’t match the actions that we perform. It’s what the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were guilty of, hypocrisy.
What we do is easily seen by both God and man. What’s in our hearts is not so easily seen by man, but God always knows and even sees what is there. Let me throw a few supporting verses your way.
Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
Hebrews 4:12-13 (NKJV)
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
I’m sure there are many more scriptures we could find and quote but I think you get the idea. Many times we get so lost in doing that we can easily become disconnected from our hearts – we just sort of go through the motions. What’s the best remedy? The passage we just read in Hebrews 4 tells us the best discerner of thoughts and intentions is the word of God. The more we spend time reading and studying the Bible, the better we can know our own hearts and make adjustments as needed.
Yahweh God truly is worthy of all Praise, Worship, and Adoration!