July 31, 2014

Thoughts from Mark

The Contradiction (Thoughts from Mark)

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man.  Matt 15:19-20

God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.  1 Sam 16:7

In Isaiah, the Lord says that with their lips they praise Me but their hearts are from Me.  In the New Testament, Jesus draws and welcomes tax collectors, drunkards and prostitutes and declares His Father’s love for them.

A seeming contradiction.  In one case, He judges the outward manifestation and in another He ignores it.  

Is this fair?  Is it just?  Isn’t God impartial?  Doesn’t He treat everyone the same?  According to scripture, He doesn’t. 

Yes, He rains upon the just and the unjust.  Yes, His Spirit is in the world convicting all of sin, righteous and judgement.  [pullquote position=”right”]Yes, He loves all people.  But there is stunning proof that His perspective and His attitude differs from one person to another.[/pullquote]

The Lord told Samuel: the Lord looks upon the heart.  This is the beginning of understanding how the Lord treats people.  It is an easy discovery to see that behavior does not mandate the Lord’s judgment.

The context of Matthew 15 is Jesus’ rebuke of Jewish leaders.  Though they acted holy, even had scripture memorized, their hearts were far from intimacy with His Father.  Hence, He states how evil thoughts, murders and the like can manifest from a “holy” one.  These are the ones who paraded themselves as examples of faith.

We realize quickly that, to the Lord, heart condition and behavior must match.  It’s as if He would rather us be true to our wicked heart than act holy when inwardly we are not.

And in this we see the equity of the Lord.  He does not measure one person against another.  That is biblical inequality.  He measures one against his own heart.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you. Prov 23:7 (NKJV)

The Lord treats seemingly similar actions completely differently because of the heart.  This may sound crazy, but He would rather us be cold than lukewarm.  He would rather a heart far from Him acting lawlessly than the same heart acting near Him.

Saul was overseeing the murder of Christians and the Lord calls Him.  Moses was running from everything He was and the Lord calls Him.  Abram was a heathen living out his father’s plan when the Lord calls him.

[pullquote position=”right”]The overwhelming context of scripture is the Lord honoring true integrity: one whose actions are aligned with his heart.[/pullquote]  This qualification trumps any position or title a person holds.  Jesus had to overlook the entire Jewish leadership and choose fishermen and tax collectors to build His ministry.

Do not be fooled, God is not mocked.  A person may manifest a perceived holiness but the Lord judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Who are you?

In love,

Mark