Lifelines 10/22/2017

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37).  It was the response of the world’s greatest man to a question about priorities.  Nothing surpasses it.  Get that one right and everything else will fall into place.  In a world filled with distractions, it is much easier said than done.

Our heart is the very core of who we are.  Scripture is emphatic about its importance with more than 700 mentions from beginning to end.  We see it for the first time in relation to the wickedness of the world before the flood (Genesis 6:5).  It is where we think. Plans are born there.  The Scripture unveils those thoughts and intentions (Hebrews 4:12-13).  God sees them.  We should have a look, too.

Hearts are not unique to humans. God has one, too (Genesis 6:6).  His pristine creation had strayed far from their initial purity.  What was going on in their hearts pained His.  Can we imagine that our intentions can affect the feelings of the Lord?  It would not be the last time that human conduct would cause Him sorrow.  The liberated slaves lost sight of Him and His miraculous deliverance from their bondage, and that caused sorrow (Psalm 78:40ff).  Rebellion brought grief to the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:10).  It still does (Ephesians 4:30).  What goes on in our hearts has an impact on His.

There is genuine competition in our hearts for first place.  As we are exposed to the word of God, the contenders fight for control (Luke 8:11-15).  Our reception or rejection of that message reveals to us what (Or who!) is winning.  The external exposes the internal.  Satan is blocking it from the start.  Temptations and hardships because of it short circuit what began with great promise.  A greater focus on the world with its problems and pleasures snuffs out its productivity.  It is a real battleground within each heart.  Only the good and honest ones yield a harvest.

Solomon had much to say about the heart.  He certainly should have known about its importance because God warned him, and he passed that warning along with more than five dozen comments about it in his proverbs.  He clearly preached better than he practiced (1 Kings 11:1-13).  He did not heed the Lord’s warnings about foreign women, and his heart suffered the consequences.  They turned it away from God and toward evil.  If it could happen to the man with all of that God-given wisdom, what about us?  Hearts are in danger when we let the world in.

God was angry with Solomon (1 Kings 11:9-10).  He told him twice, but the king did not listen.  He had commanded Him, but he did not obey.  He learned the consequences of disobedience the hard way.  It is an internal matter, one of the heart.  Are we listening?