The Heart of the Matter

heartIt’s not a trick. There is plenty available to achieve the task. There is no bait and switch and there isn’t an unrealistic expectation to do more with less. We’ve got all that we need to be all that we can be to do all that we can do.

Granted, everything changed and it seemed to get harder. People were cruising along since the fall of man incapable of achieving the standard of behavior that was necessary for ongoing fellowship with a Holy God. The laws of don’t murder, commit adultery and the rest had tripped up even the best of them. They were stuck with burning sacrificial animals to make amends and close the gap between their unrighteousness and God’s righteousness.

Then came Jesus. Jesus was the plan from the very beginning as God knew that we couldn’t do it. The blood of Jesus replaced the blood of animals and the gap was closed between righteous and unrighteous for all who would allow His blood to stand in the gap for their efforts.

The problem is that when Jesus was teaching of this new deal which He was ushering in, it seemed like it actually got harder. In Matthew 5, He said, it’s now not about murder, but hate is a problem. It’s not about adultery, but even if you lust you’re not OK. He moved the standard from actually doing bad stuff to even thinking about it. How in the world are we going to pull that off?

First of all, Jesus didn’t say our righteousness was dependent on the perfection of our thoughts. Our thoughts could now be derived from His righteousness. He also started His ministry before the teaching of this new standard with this stated, purpose, “He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)

Jesus is in the healing business and when He heals us from the inside then our thoughts and other inside stuff reflects His healing. Hate wasn’t about anger in the first place, it was always about hurt. Anger is a secondary emotion driven by hurt. Lust wasn’t about sex in the first place; it was about intimacy. Our legitimate design and purpose is to live in intimacy with Him and others. Stuff, including our human condition, binds us up in fear of legitimate intimacy so sometimes we’ll fill the gap of that legitimate need with illegitimate substitutes.

Jesus is in the heart business. He’ll heal your heart, making it new and righteous and your thoughts will follow. Those behaviors that came from broken and bound up hearts won’t even be in play once He gets done with you, if you’ll let Him.

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