Friday, June 4, 2010

A Change of Heart

Well, I'm extremely overdue in my posting. I could make excuses like "the dog ate my blog," but that wouldn't exactly fly in the computer age. However, if you've read my earlier post about my dog, maybe I could get away with that excuse. But I will refrain from the excuses and simply dive into a new (overdue) blog.

I was praying this morning and thinking about how I can most effectively help people grow in their relationship with Christ when the phrase "As a man thinks, so is he," popped into my head. So I did a google search. As a result, I found a similar phrase in scripture.

In the NASB, Proverbs 23:7 states, "For as he thinks within himself, so he is." The KJV translates the verse in a similar fashion, but other versions translate it differently. You would read in the NIV, "for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost."

The Hebrew term translated 'thinks' or 'thinking' refers more accurately to calculating or reckoning. The term has a financial connotation to it. Therefore, it seems an appropriate term to refer to a greedy or selfish man, which is the kind of man referred to here according to verse 6.

The greedy man is always calculating the costs to make sure he gets the best deal and has the most for himself. His calculating ways reveal his true nature. The whole proverb states, "Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you." (NASB)

Even though a selfish man puts on a show of hospitality, inwardly he hates the thought of wasting all that food. His heart is certainly not with his guest.

That verse started me think about the matters of the heart that Jesus so frequently spoke about. Whether it was preaching the sermon on the mount or confronting the Pharisees in the temple, Jesus emphasized the matter of the heart. It wasn't what went into someone that made them unclean, but rather what came out of them because that came out of the heart.

Like the selfish man in Proverbs and the Pharisees in Jesus' day, people today can put on a show of righteousness, but that is not what the LORD desires. He calls us to a heart change, and that rests solely on faith in Christ.

It's so easy to begin our journey with Christ in faith at the moment we trust in Him, and then after a time, we start trying to live righteously in our own strength. We begin to begrudgingly give to others, while inside thinking, "I sure could use that gift myself." We begin to begrudgingly serve the LORD and others, while thinking, "I really would rather be at home right now."

We can't change our heart, only God can do that. That's why we begin the Christian walk in faith, we maintain our Christian walk in faith, and we end our Christian walk in faith. Christ has done what we could not and will do for us what we can not. We trust Him not only for our righteousness for heaven but also for our righteousness here on earth.

What are the thoughts and reckonings of your heart? Are they thoughts focused on the sufficiency of Christ? If that's the case, then you have a very healthy heart.

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