Sunday, June 5, 2016

As he thinks in his heart, so is he

This morning I was reading Proverbs 23, and I came across the following verses:

Do not eat the bread of a miser,
Nor desire his delicacies;
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
“Eat and drink!” he says to you,
But his heart is not with you.- Proverbs 23:6,7, NKJV, emphasis mine

The phrase “his heart is not with you” sounded familiar. I had read it elsewhere in Scripture, if in a slightly different form:

Therefore the LORD said:
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
Among this people,
A marvelous work and a wonder;
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden."
- Isaiah 29:13,14, NKJV, emphasis mine

“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophecy about you, saying:
’These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"
- Matthew 15:7-9, NKJV, emphasis mine

This is the definition of a hypocrite: Not that they do not have feelings to back up what they say or what they do; No.
Hypocrisy goes deeper than our feelings. It goes to the inner man.

Hypocrisy is to be something entirely different on the inside than what you claim with your lips and even what you do with your life.

Hypocrisy is what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for. 

Jesus called the (scribes and) Pharisees “whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27, NKJV)

In other words, they were not at all what they appeared to be:

They had every appearance of being holy, but they were actually unholy.
They had every appearance of being righteous, but they were actually unrighteous.
They had every appearance of men who loved God, but they actually did not love God.

What about me? Have I been “born again”? Or am I trying to fake a new birth by keeping the commandments of men?

Is there real change on the inside of me? Or only the appearance of it? 

Is there real "fruits worthy of repentance” being borne in my life? Or only bad fruit that looks good, but tastes disgusting? (see Matthew 3:8, NKJV)

I don’t want to “say[] to [Him], ‘Lord, Lord,’” and not “enter the kingdom of heaven”. I don’t want to hear Him say, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (see Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

I live to hear Him call my name

But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. (John 20:11-18, KJV, emphasis mine)

This is one of my favorite passages in the Gospels. It is a simple exchange between Mary Magdalene, a woman Jesus delivered from seven demons, and her risen Lord. It opens with her at Jesus’ tomb. She came early and saw that the stone had been rolled away. She then ran to Simon Peter and John and told them of the empty tomb. The two disciples came themselves to the tomb, looked in and saw that it was empty and then left again, but Mary stayed behind, weeping.

When asked by the angels why she weeps, she answers, “Because they have taken my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” She is so distraught that she barely takes notice of the strangers in white, sitting in the tomb where Jesus used to be. She merely answers their question and makes to leave, when another stranger asks her the same question: “Woman, why weepest thou?” She assumes he is the gardener and says, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” Then…Jesus speaks her name...

“Mary,” he says.

“Rabboni--Master," is her reply.

She knows, at last, that it is her Lord.

I can only imagine how Mary must have felt at that moment:

Like being asked, "Will you marry me"? Or like saying, "I do"?

Like looking into the face of a baby you helped bring into the world?

Like being reunited with a best friend one hasn’t seen in years?

Like getting the lab test results back and showing ’no sign of disease’?

Like getting the call from a loved-one that they are okay; they were delivered from the disaster you heard or read about?

What a happy moment it must have been for Mary, to hear her Savior call her name. What a happy moment it is for us, when He first calls us out of darkness, into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). What a happy moment—and eternity—it will be for us, when He calls us by name, to enter into His Kingdom; into the rest and joy of our Master (Matthew 25:21; Hebrews 4:9).

I live to hear Him call my name...