Deuteronomy 25-27; Mark 12:28-44
Your heart is the central part of your body that keeps blood flowing and nourished with oxygen so you can continue living. Without a healthy heart, other body parts start to suffer, and eventually your entire body shuts down. Keeping your physical heart healthy is vital to a healthy body. The spiritual heart, however, is even more vital to your life. A healthy spiritual heart is what God sees and considers. Today, we'll look at what this means and how it's done.
There are certain things you naturally do if you indeed have a heart that yearns for God. In our trading in Mark today, we encounter the greatest commandments, which are love God with all of your heart, mind, and strength, and equally as great, love your neighbor as yourself. If your heart is one filled with taking pleasure in pleasing God, you will find these to come naturally. However, we are humans, and we tend to self-sustain, self-preserve, self-indulge, self-serve more than we should. We will fall short, as Jesus was the only One Who lived perfectly. Deep down we know we should show compassion to the people who drain us, and we should speak lovingly to the people who hate us, but needless to say, it's hard. We need to get heart healthy to see them the way God sees them.
How do we do it? In Deuteronomy, we discover how the people will get to experience God's blessings in their lives versus the curses. In agreeing to obey God, they are claiming allegiance to Him, and calling Him their God. Over and over we read about the presence God had with them and the presence He wanted with them. On the flip side, we read about the people when they truly experienced God's presence and when they only wanted God to protect them and obeyed to simply stay out of trouble. It goes deeper than wanting to stay on God's good side. Our obedience to Him must be a way of life if we truly want that heart that beats for Him. Get closer to Him by obedience to Him, cutting out things that you put before Him, and spending time with Him. Want to get closer to Him. Remember, if you seek Him with your whole heart, you will find Him. Stay spiritually heart healthy by remaining in His presence, as the Israelites learn the blessings of it.
All of the commands we read in the Bible boil down to these greatest two, as we discussed earlier. Love God, love people. Our hearts, our whole hearts should love Him fully. If we permeate Christ through our entire being, we will live lives that are spiritually sound and full of faith. Your worries will be on His will and His way, rather than your own.
Don't worry about how you look to the people around you. The religious leaders were out to impress with their wordy prayers, upholding the legalistic rules, and flaunting their robes. Their hearts were not right, as they self-served. Worry about what God thinks of you. If we live our lives trying to appeal to people, we will die of rejection, and the glory is going to the wrong place (you). Our performance is not what God is looking at. The motive and state of our hearts are.
Finally, a spiritually healthy heart gives from the heart and with faith. We can hold back because we don't want to give of our time and money in fear we'll be short or burn out. However, giving from the heart will feel different. As we read of the poor widow giving all she had, Jesus points out that she gave more than the others. She gave it all. It's not bad to give a portion of your income, in fact it is advised throughout the Bible, but Jesus is pointing out the heart motives here, not the amounts. The widow had faith God would take care of her, so she gave it all. Her attitude in giving was much different than the rich. She gave willingly and out of joy, while the others gave out of obligation and reputation. Check your heart for what attitude it has.
Give yourself a spiritual heart check up. Do you long to obey God and remain in His presence? Do you love God fully with all your heart, mind, and strength? Do you care about how you look to others more than you care about how you look to God? Do you have an attitude that trusts Him in your giving? Be aware of your heart health, as that is what God sees when He looks at You. Strive to impress Him and not the people around you.