Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Warnings in Hebrews

“Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7)

“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:12, 13)

The Bible tells us that when we commit our lives to Christ, our hearts are transformed:
"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
“I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. (Jeremiah 24:7)”
Relationship with Christ is very much a heart relationship, a love affair between God and His people, as well as an understanding of the intellect. Our hearts know the love that our Creator has for us, and this results in our love for Him, as well as an increased empathy for others. We see other people as God sees them – both saved brothers and sisters in the Lord, or lost ones that God longs to see come into His kingdom. We begin to fulfil the two greatest commandments that Jesus taught (Matthew 22:37-39)
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’      
It costs to love. There’s investment of many kinds – emotional, time, effort, resources. Love can end in hurt. We’re protective of what we love. We grieve when it changes. We love imperfectly in an imperfect world. The world can mock what it terms "bleeding hearts". Satan continually tempts us, as the above verses of Hebrews remind us, to harden our hearts to God and others, by concentrating on our own fleshly desires- to have a heart for ourselves first and foremost. Only God loves with what many Psalms describe as an “unfailing love”.
The apostle Paul wrote what is often termed the great love chapter of the Bible- 1 Corinthians 13- in which he reminds us that as Christians, whatever we do must be done out of love, not pride or duty or competition, otherwise all our good deeds and knowledge are useless.
This world sees some with hearts that, for whatever reason, have become hardened, cynical, bitter and far less loving than they could be or should be. Their owners may be free from compassion fatigue and insulated from the hurts of others, but they are cauterized and lacking in what makes us truly human. God wants us to love, and when we love Him, His Holy Spirit indwells our hearts, refreshing and energising us, giving us the daily strength to walk in obedience and faith. We love because He loves us. We love those that we would normally find difficult to love.
Keep a soft heart. Wishing you God’s peace, joy and blessings.

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