The Heart of the Matter
Recently I finished leading a Bible Study on the Book of Matthew. When thinking through the theme of the book, I came up with “The Heart of the Matter”. This simply means that in order for us to be effective disciples of the Lord, our hearts have to be right.
Jesus identified this by telling his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount that the old system talked about outward actions being the sin, whereas He said what was in the heart is the real issue. A case in point: “you have heard it said in the Law, ‘do not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Later when some Pharisees were upset at him because he didn’t ceremonially wash his hands as was the custom, he declared that “evil words come from an evil heart and defile the person who says them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all other sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. Eating with unwashed hands could never defile you and make you unacceptable to God.”
When you want to have a right heart, even when you do wrong, it can help you get back on track with your relationship with God quicker that trying to justify the sin. King David, who committed adultery and murder, when confronted with his sin, repented and sought God. In Psalm 51, a Psalm written after he repented of his sin, David says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.”
I constantly pray everyday to keep my heart pure before the Lord, and to keep my heart open to Him. With so many competing voices in our world, an open and seeking heart keeps us from being swayed too easily by those voices.
As Christians we will still sin; that is inevitable according to Scripture. But I believe that while we can’t be sinless, we can sin less by having a right heart.
May I challenge everyone reading this blog to everyday pray the prayer of having a right heart. You won’t be sorry and maybe you might find yourself becoming more like Jesus.