Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Problem Isn't The Message; The Problem Is Our Heart

We live in an age when words rule. We all like to talk, whether verbally or written. The Church is filled with words; people talking, debating, arguing, disagreeing, and there are a lot of books being written. There is a huge war of words as the philosophers of the Church argue with each other in front of the whole world. We are hearing "false prophet", "false teacher" being thrown around far too easily. It is like we have forgotten the Word that tells us:

But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:19-21)

But it is difficult to understand this when we have allowed the Church to be lead by the academia and we know how teachers love words. Where is the gospel that comes with power?

If we follow this thought it leads us to the realization of how many of those words are empty. The Word of God is never empty, filled with power to convict and change the hearts of the receivers. The empty words come from those who would rather debate the word instead of submit to it. Those words lack any good. So what we should be looking for is the fruit that is produced. That is how we know the true content of the heart, by the fruit it produces.

There are many passages of Scripture that teach on this but I appreciate a certain passage in Isaiah 32:

For the foolish person will speak foolishness,
And his heart will work iniquity:
To practice ungodliness,
To utter error against the Lord,
To keep the hungry unsatisfied,
And he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. (Isaiah 32:6)

Case study number 1: The Fool. Look at what such a heart produces; ungodliness, uttering error, keeping the hungry hungry, spoiling the drink of the thirsty. The heart of the fool produces emptiness. Those who are seeking Jesus will not discover him in the words of a fool.

Also the schemes of the schemer are evil;
He devises wicked plans
To destroy the poor with lying words,
Even when the needy speaks justice. (v. 7)

Case study number 2: The Schemer. Look at what this heart produces; wicked plans, destruction through lying words, denying justice. Pity the seeker who is looking for Jesus in the words of a schemer.

But a generous man devises generous things,
And by generosity he shall stand. (v. 8)

Case study number 3: The Generous. It is obvious what such a heart produces; generous things. This is the heart of love as defined by Jesus in Luke 6, giving recklessly, without thought of personal cost, to the benefit of friend or foe. In these words we will discover the power of the Kingdom.

So many of the words spoken and debated today are spoken from selfish, puffed up hearts that think nothing of the consequences of their speaking. The fruit that is produced is confusion and division. No one is growing into spiritual maturity from these things. They are destructive to the Body of Christ. We should pay attention to the wisdom of Proverbs:

Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

That should give us something to ponder as we ask the Spirit to examine our hearts, but let us not stop at this familiar verse but let us put it in context of what follows:

Put away from you a deceitful mouth,
And put perverse lips far from you.

Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids look right before you.

Ponder the path of your feet,
And let all your ways be established.

Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil. (vv. 24-27)

The only way we are going to see the power of the Kingdom return is when we stop the foolishness, examine our hearts and walk the walk we have been given. Fix your eyes on Jesus and stop trying to make a name for yourself by tearing down other servants. If they are in error the Spirit is not impotent; he will correct. But you, you keep your eyes on the prize, understanding your tasks and allowing the power of the resurrection to flow through you. The world needs to see Jesus in us, the Church, the Body of Christ. Let your heart be true and may they discover Christ through the fruit that is produced by his reckless love in you.

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