Thursday, November 5, 2020
The desire of the heart powerfully controls our choices. The heart’s desires are controlled by the one to whom we have given control. There are only two choices: the flesh with the devil as your father, or the Holy Spirit, with God as your Father through salvation in Jesus Christ.
Many will argue that this is over-simplified, to which I respond, “Take it up with Jesus who said it first.” The people were arguing with Jesus about the identity of their spiritual father. The people claimed that being physical descendants of Abraham made God their Father. Jesus tells them how wrong they are, and it’s all based on the actions that spring from the heart.
Jesus makes it clear that the works we do in the name of religion that are motivated by a self-serving heart are proof that we do not belong to God the Father but indicate that we have the devil as our father.
John 8:39-47 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
OUCH! No wonder the people wanted to kill Jesus. None of us wants to have the motivations of our heart evaluated to that level. Who of us will admit right now that we tend to love self more than God? Who of us will confess that the desires of our heart are for worldly pleasure and fulfillment rather than a passionate pursuit of intimacy with Jesus? We resist such tests of our heart. We rebel at such scrutiny. And in doing so, are we proving who our father really is?
Abiding in the words of Jesus is not easy, but as we learned yesterday, it does eliminate contradictions and set us free. Maybe a second day of heart-searching is necessary. Please let the Holy Spirit finish what He started yesterday.
Pastor John van Gorkom