Monday, June 10, 2024

The Heart in Focus

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT)

In our culture, we talk a lot about the heart and doing what the heart wants. But we should not let our hearts tell us what to do, because our hearts can mislead us.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (NLT). And Jesus said, “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander” (Matthew 15:19 NLT).

Yes, the heart wants what it wants, but a lot of times the heart wants the wrong things. Therefore, we should not focus on our hearts as much as we ought to focus our hearts on God. Jesus tells us to use our hearts, as well as our minds and our souls, for the purpose that God created them.

In Matthew 22, we find an account of the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus, because they had endless debates about which commandments were greater or lesser. Now, Jesus had just dealt with the Sadducees, the religious leaders who didn’t believe there was life beyond the grave.

The Sadducees approached Jesus with a hypothetical situation. They talked about a woman who was married to a man who died. So, she married his brother, and he died. She married another of his brothers, and he died as well. On this went until she had married seven brothers, who all died. Then they asked, “So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her” (Matthew 22:28 NLT).

Jesus told them, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God” (verse 29 NLT). Thus, He put them in their place and answered their question.

Next the Pharisees felt it was their turn, so they went to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” (verse 36 NLT).

The Pharisees had basically documented 613 commandments in the law and had identified 248 of those commandments as positive and 365 as negative. They knew that no one could keep all the commandments. Therefore, they had identified some commandments as heavy and other commandments as light. But breaking one commandment is enough to keep us out of Heaven.

Here’s how Jesus answered the Pharisees: “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40 NLT).

Jesus was saying, “Instead of worrying about all the commandments and which one is worse than the other, get back to this: love God with all of your being, and everything will be sorted out.”

If you love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind, then you naturally will want to do what He wants you to do.

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