Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Heart

The Bible says that people live from their hearts. What fills a person's heart automatically flows out into his life.

Jesus called the results that flowed out of a person's heart "fruit." Water and nutrients flow into an apple tree, and apples grow as a natural result of the "input." If the input is pure and good, then the apples are firm, sweet and healthy. If the "input" is bad, then the apples are rotten.

People are the same way. Pour into their hearts the right words and the right ideas, then goodness flows from them. Pour into their hearts bad words and bad ideas, then bad things flow from their lives.

People are a little different than apple trees. If a toxin is poured into the ground water, trees will absorb the toxin along with the water. People can examine words and ideas. People can reflect on rightness and wrongness. People can construct a conceptual framework and decide how ideas fit or don't fit into the framework.

The most important part of this framework is the nature of God. God created the world to be distinct from him, but also to be a reflection of his character. What we understand of God impacts our values, our view of truth, our view of good and evil, and what we consider our purpose in the world.

The second most important part of this framework is the nature of men, particularly yourself. This understanding defines human worth, human potential, success and failure. (And it defines our personal worth, potential, success and failure.)

Because Jesus says love is the first command, I believe this is the most important thing to reflect on, to understand, and to practice. If God, through Jesus, says love is the most important, than it is the most important for God too. It is what he practices first. He already understands it.

It was God's love that motivated him to send Jesus. It was Jesus' love that motivated him to go to the cross. It was God's love shown in forgiveness, justification and redemption that motivated us to give Jesus our allegiance. And now that we have given him our allegiance, we have to claw, fight and scratch our way through life to maintain our relationship and to continue in God's love??

We were God's enemies and helpless to save ourselves. Now, that we are saved, we are totally able to reach down into our spiritual DNA and manipulate the "molecules" so that we become perfect??

That's what many people believe and, therefore, that's how they live. They began by grace; they finish by human discipline and diligence.

If you are a true follower of Jesus, you have many resources to enable and empower you to live like a true follower of Jesus. There is: God's word, God's Spirit, God's promises and grace. And there is a process of redemption and restoration going on. The Spirit does reach into our spiritual DNA and correct how the "molecules" are connected, and how they reproduce. But this process won't be complete when we reach the end of this life. We will continue to fail. We will fail in the same areas again and again. Sometimes, we will even deliberately choose sin.

Does God get grumpy, lose patience and give up on us? If we have made a genuine choice to give him our allegiance, does he ever decide we are not worth it, and give us back to Satan?

If he is the God of infinite love, then he is the God of infinite patience and infinite perseverance. And, as he is totally present with everyone, he can give his total attention to each person.

It is people who give up. There are many reason why. Some reasons people give are:
  • They feel helpless to meet God's expectations. 
  • They feel God has given up on them.
  • They feel their circumstances:
    • are too tough.
    • show God's lack of concern.
    • interfere with their relationship.
In my view, in all of these reasons, there is a basic flaw in how they understand God, understand people (including themselves) and understand how God designed the world, but how it currently is, due to sin.

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