There is only one heart in all the world that is honoring to God. Do you know what that is? It is the heart that beats for the Savior rather than the self. Far too many Christian hearts beat for Jesus and something else.
- Jesus and a career
- Jesus and a hobby
- Jesus and a relationship
- Jesus and a sports team
- Jesus and a level of comfort
- Jesus and the applause of man
So . . . is there a something else for you? To be sure, there are times when we all keep one foot in the Word and let the other foot edge out into the world. We are continually lured by divided affections for things smaller than God.
But we must fight against this tendency! Scripture is completely unambiguous on this matter:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.”
Jesus said the only heart that honors Him is one that is totally devoted to Him. So what does such a heart look like? It beats in sync with the psalmist’s prayer: “I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands” (Psalm 119:10). The heart that honors the Lord desires to do His will . . . but it does not stop there. It is not enough to do what God wants us to do; we must be doing it for the right reason.
The heart that honors Him is not seeking to receive a reward or avoid a consequence. The heart that honors Him overflows with thanksgiving, because the reward has already been received (the certainty of heaven) and the consequence avoided (damnation in hell). Obedience flows from this heart as a response to and result of what Jesus has already done.
Some people tithe because they are afraid not to. Some people serve because they feel guilty if they do not. Some people arrive at church on Sunday because they believe God is keeping track of their attendance. These are all acts of obedience . . . but done for the entirely wrong reasons. These actions do not flow from a heart that honors God. God doesn’t want obedience that is rooted in fear or guilt or desire for reward. That was the motivation of the Pharisees, to whom Jesus delivered a burning rebuke:
You Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “’This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” (Matthew 15:7-9)
On the surface, the Pharisees looked like they were sold out for God. They did all the right things . . . but for all the wrong reasons. God wants our obedience to flow from a heart that beats with thanksgiving for the finished work of Jesus Christ. This is the only heart that honors Him!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!