July 27 I Tuesday
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” —Proverbs 4:23
One major theme from the Sermon on the Mount is a recognition that what we are, is more important than what we do. What we do are only symptoms and sometimes we look at the good or bad symptoms, and we do not understand that the root cause stems from our heart. In Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, He asked some diagnostic questions for His listeners to evaluate their hearts.
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment’” (Matthew 5:21). Many may attest that they had not murdered anyone, but Jesus added, “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:22). Jesus gave another diagnostic question by saying, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’” (Matthew 5:27). Again, many would testify that they had not committed adultery, but Jesus continued, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). People probably wondered, “What in the world is Jesus talking about with anger and lust?” While murder and adultery are an act, anger and lust are an attitude. What Jesus was saying is that it is not what we do that is in itself the essential issue, but what we are that underlies what we do.
To understand this biblical diagnostic, we must come to terms that our problem lies with our heart. The Lord said in Genesis 8:21, “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.” The prophet Jeremiah also recorded “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The heart is corrupted. If we do not believe this, we will continue to be shocked by its secrets, and even open the appetites of our own hearts to further sin.
We need to recognize that the issue lies with our heart. Although repentance may seem like an immediate quick fix to the heart of the matter, it goes beyond this initial act. We are to live our lives in a continual spirit of repentance, surrendering our sinful hearts to God daily. It is an attitude, an ongoing disposition of our hearts, where we live apart from the symptoms of our old, natural self and walk in newness with Him.
Prayer: Dear God, my heart is wicked, deceitful, and above all, corrupted. Thank You for forgiving me of my wicked ways and for creating me anew.