Man’s heart

rose-123890_640Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

God said that he does not judge according to appearance but bases his judgement on the heart (1Samuel 16:1-14). That is the true indicator of who a person is, as the heart is the seat of motivation.

When he sent Samuel to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be king of Israel (after Saul disappointed him), the prophet thought the first born Eliab was the perfect fit. He thought he would command natural respect among the people, with good height, build and all.

But God told Samuel, what he is looking for in the man he wants to make the king was not physical statue. Saul had physical stature but at the end he was small inwardly.

God, in the house of Jesse, chose the very last born, a boy unknown, unsung, hidden somewhere in the wilderness taking care of sheep. He was faithful in the unappreciated task he had. He was not trying to hug the limelight.

God decided he could trust such a man. Someone who will do well even if he is not praised by men, someone not affected by human approval or disapproval, and so would not fall into the trap that king Saul fell into. When Saul had to choose between the will of God and the will of the people, he chose the will of the people (1Samuel 15). He was a man of the people, not a man of God.

Jesus told the Pharisee that they should not judge according to appearance but judge righteousness judgement (John 7:16-24). Judging according to appearance they said that since Jesus came from Galilee they he cannot be a true prophet (John 7:53), because he healed people on the Sabbath day he cannot be true, and they missed it by a long haul.

Jesus knew what was in the heart of the people, and the bible says he did not put his trust in them (John 2:23-25). The people wanted to make him king by force, all happy with him (John 6), but it was soon after that they left him alone saying his message was hard. He wasn’t going to depend on them for approval or to be the source of his happiness. He had his relationship with the father for that.

He declared to them at a time that they were only looking for him because they wanted free food that he can provide for them by multiplying a meal to feed thousands, and not because they had a heart for God. They were concerned about the physical stuffs.

Jesus told them that if they continue in his word, being the spiritual food, they will be his disciples indeed and they will know the truth and will be free, they will no longer be in bondage to the sin in their heart.

That means eating the free natural food he could provide miraculously will not make much difference, but they needed to eat the spiritual food, which will bring powerful spiritual benefits to them, help untold. But they did not agree with him.

They had told him: our father ate the manna in the wilderness, being firmly focused on the physical things, on the past, the tangible thing, not seeing the future that Jesus represents, as the true bread that is send from heaven to give life to all men. They refused to embrace the light in Jesus Christ, and they continued in blindness.

They walked with Jesus but could not recognise him for who he was. Their physical eyes were opened but the eyes of their hearts were closed (Ephesians 1:15-23).

Paul recognising the inherent selfishness in the heart of man, wrote about Timothy, that he was different, that he naturally cares for the things of Christ while others cared for their own things (Philippians 2:4, 19-21).

The new order that Jesus came to set is that of loving your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:31), of sacrificial leadership, and not of lording it over others (Mark 9:35), of people with selfless disposition committed to the service of the master, thereby qualifying for special reward (1Peter 5:1-4).

Jesus said that in the last days some people will come to him and say they did so many things in his name but he will say they should depart from him because they are workers of iniquity, “I do not know you (Matthew 7:21-23).” He does not know them because when they were doing whatever they were doing, it was not based on being subjected to him but expressions of their self-serving hearts.

The sick heart of man finds it add to understand divine truth. That was why Nicodemus expressed surprise when Jesus told him that except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:1-14). He said: would an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?

Jesus was amazed at his inability to understand simple spiritual truth, that everything for him was reduced to the natural, logical, physical; not able to grasp the heavenly logic. Jesus told him: are you the teacher of Israel and you do not know these things? Jesus called the leaders of Israel blind leaders of the blind (Matthew 15:14).

Even after Jesus had been with the disciples for a while, he was still amazed at their hardness of heart, their inability to connect with the truth concerning Him, who he was and his mission.

The heart is the most difficult “part” of man to work on as hinted by the focus verse. Nothing else will do expect the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 9:14). The heart is where we have the root of sin, and Jesus came as the one with the power to save us from sin (Matthew 1:21). It was said that he is able to save to the uttermost, those who come to him through faith.

That means his work against sin in our lives was thoroughly complete. When he said on the cross, it is finished (John 19:30), it was as he said. There, time and eternity met and the portion of humanity became radically changed forever.

The eternal regret of the devil was that he killed Jesus (1Corinthians 2:7-8). In the heart of men he now has his eviction notice for his influence. When we believe in Jesus in our hearts (Romans 10:9-13), that eviction notice is executed. The devil’s influence is replaced. Since all power is given to Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20), the devil has none, to the extent that we are equipped with spiritual knowledge relating to that, we walk in freedom, understanding that we have been made priests and kings through Jesus whose destiny we now share (Revelation 1:6), via our changed hearts which is now knit to his.

Knowledge/wisdom fortifies us (Proverbs 24:5, Ecclesiastes 7:19), it is the knowledge of the son of God that stands us apart from the rest of humanity, and not just our confession of faith. As we believe in Jesus, we give him the right to exert influence in our hearts.

Our destiny is in his hands. And as it is written all things work together for good for those who love God and are the called according to his purpose, we have passed from death into life, from under the dominion of the devil to life, from a sick heart to a healed one with Jesus as the healing balm (Jeremiah 8:21-22).

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