Unfollow Your Heart
The world tells us to follow our hearts like it’s a good thing. It means well. With every decision we make, whether it’s choosing a college, a career, a starter home, a spouse, and even a church, we want to go with what “feels right.” But the truth is that the heart doesn’t know what is best for us—only God does. We don’t like to think our hearts give us bad advice, but Jesus informs us otherwise.
In Mark 7:15 (NLT), Jesus tells a crowd of people,
“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”
This is a far cry from those cute signs I see in a craft store. As an idealist, I find it romantic to let my heart take the lead, but God has taught me in many ways that can be dangerous. Like central headquarters, the heart is always communicating with various departments throughout the body, so it’s vital that it doesn’t send out the wrong message.
After Jesus finished speaking to the crowd, His intrigued disciples asked Him to explain further. Jesus told them,
“Out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you” (Matthew 7:21-23).
How can our hearts be so vile if God created them? I believe out of all the brokenness, the heart is just as much a part of this fallen world as we are. Because we are born in a sinful world, our hearts are naturally tainted. They like to misbehave, which means our motives don’t always honor God. But what do we follow if not our hearts? Our Creator knows more about the complexities of His creation better than we do. So, instead of following our hearts, let’s follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Let’s ask God to help our hearts be sensitive to His will and purpose for our life so we can follow Him rather than ourselves. Because when Jesus lives in our hearts, He makes all the wrong things right.
Pray with me: Dear Lord, our hearts are deceptive. Help us to listen to Your voice rather than our own, so we can follow You alone. We desire to worship You in our hearts now and for all eternity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The allegories of Sarah and Hagar
“These are the two covenants.” Galatians 4:24
Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 3:19-24
Hagar was not intended to be a wife; she never ought to have been anything but a hand-maid to Sarah. The law was never intended to save men: it was only designed to be a hand-maid to the covenant of grace. When God delivered the law on Sinai, it was apart from his ideas that any man would ever be saved by it; he never conceived that men would attain perfection thereby. But you know that the law is a wondrous handmaid to grace. Who brought us to the Saviour? Was it not the law thundering in our ears? We should never have come to Christ if the law had not driven us there; we should never have known sin if the law had not revealed it. The law is Sarah’s handmaid to sweep our hearts, and make the dust fly so that we may cry for blood to be sprinkled so that the dust may be laid. The law is, so to speak, Jesus Christ’s dog, to go after his sheep, and bring them to the shepherd; the law is the thunderbolt which frightens ungodly men, and makes them turn from the error of their ways, and seek after God. Ah! if we know rightly how to use the law, if we understand how to put her in her proper place, and make her obedient to her mistress, then all will be well. But this Hagar will always be wishing to be mistress, as well as Sarah; and Sarah will never allow that, but will be sure to treat her harshly, and drive her out. We must do the same; and let none murmur at us, if we treat the Hagarenes harshly in these days—if we sometimes speak hard things against those who are trusting in the works of the law.
For meditation: God’s law will never have the power to save us (Romans 8:3); but thank God that it points us to a Man who can.
Compassion Is Love in Action
By Meg Bucher, Crosswalk.com
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18 ESV
Losing love is hard to survive. The parts broken in a breakup are slow to piece back together. The wake of loss is a thief of comfort. Human love has an inevitable end, either by broken down relationships or the end of life here on earth. Pain hurts. Heartbreak is painful.
Compassion is rooted in the depths of our hearts and the firmly rooted soil of our souls. When Jesus had compassion on another, He literally hurt from His core out of love for them. Perhaps in ruminating a moment on what it feels like to lose love, we can yield our hearts and minds towards compassion for others who are suffering their own losses. Endings and beginnings are hard, no matter if they are for better or worse. The middle is where most of us meander. Let’s aim not only to see and think about each other in love but to treat each other with love.
“My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love.” – 1 John 3:18 The Voice
Love is scary because it requires us to put ourselves out there …risking rejection. And rejection can feel hard to survive! Love requires an investment in our time, resources, thoughts and emotions. To love like Jesus is asking is to feel compelled with compassion towards the people in our lives and allow His love for us, and them, to flow out of our lives.
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” – 1 John 3:18 NLT
In a world overrun with words, let’s find a different way to love each other beyond our screens and devices. The power of an in-person smile, embrace, and live listening ear oozes of compassionate love. Christ-like love is self-sacrificing, humble, and willing.