Your Heart Matters

Cathy Hurtado

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”  Matthew 15:8-9

Our hearts matter!  God cares if our hearts are far from Him.  The sad thing about our human condition is that our tendency is to slide from being involved from the heart to going through the motions.  In reading the context of this verse first in Isaiah and then in the Gospel of Matthew, we can learn two important insights into our hearts.

In Isaiah, God points out that one of the reasons our hearts get to be far from God is that we turn things upside down. In Isaiah 29:16 it says, "You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!  Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”?  Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”? Instead of keeping God at the center of our lives where we live every day to worship and serve Him, we gravitate toward a self-focused life where we start living for ourselves, for what is convenient, for what makes us feel happy.  In the process, we come to expect God is here to serve us, give us what we want, and make us happy.  Our relationship with God is turned upside down.

Then, in Matthew15:1-20, Jesus uses this quote from Isaiah to describe the Pharisees who followed the rules of the elders, but their hearts were far from God.  They were concerned that Jesus’ disciples didn’t wash their hands before they ate.  In Matthew 15:11, 18-20, Jesus says, “ What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”… But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

What’s the condition of your heart?  Is it tender toward God, or have you been going through the motions?  Look at the thoughts that go through your mind and the words that come out of your mouth.  Examine how you to react to stressful situations.  Instead of excusing your behavior as an “oops”, acknowledge that what you said or did came out of your heart and indicates that your heart needs to be renewed.  Then, start drawing near to God again through His Word.  Ask God to give you a heart like Jesus.

Father, I am so sorry when I get things mixed, when I start expecting You to serve me and my heart grows cold. Renew my heart with your Word.  Help me reorient my life so that You are in the proper place.  Make my heart tender to your Word.  Create in me a heart like Jesus.  Amen.

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