A Matter of the Heart

Nov 05 2014

Verse of the Day: Colossians 3:1-2 1-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. (Message)

Over the last couple of devotions I have shared that I believe we all have an "I" disease which leads to an "eye" problem when it comes to our spiritual sight and walk. Since the day Adam and Eve first introduced sin into the world and our environment, the very habitat God gave us to live in, which was perfect, has changed. So, what difference does our habitat or environment make when it comes to our spiritual walk? Glad you asked.

As many of you know I help teach Hunter Ed classes and one of the topics we teach everyone is the fact that the best habitat and environment is needed and required in order for any animal to survive. Without the proper habitat/environment, animals will struggle to survive or multiply and will either move on or cease to exist. And I believe the same is true when it comes to our spiritual walk - we need the Best habitat and environment in order grow and thrive in this hostile world we now live in.

In our classes we teach that there are four things required or needed in order for any habitat or environment to support animal life. The best habitats include four essential elements: food, cover, water and space.  You take away any one of these four elements it changes the habitat and it’s no longer desirable or complete for sustaining life

So how does food, cover, water and space correlate to us and our environment when it comes to our spiritual walk? Well let’s look at God's word to find the answer. Matthew 4:4 But Jesus told him, ..."'The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” then we see John 6:35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Revelation 1:5 He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.

John 7 : 38-39 “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”(When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

There you have it, three of the four elements everyone needs to survive and thrive while on this earth. We need the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - God's Word the Holy Bible (our spiritual food), the shed blood of Christ (the covering for our sins), Holy Spirit (our living water). Try and remove or leave out anyone of these three and what happens? Well, let’s just say we are seeing the results as this world seem to be getting further and further away from God's original plans for His people. 

Well, what about the fourth eliminate, space, how does this apply to our spiritual walk? Well I think this is where we come in. God created this space called earth for us to inhabit and rule over and Jesus left his disciples these instructions before leaving this earth, which is called the Great Commission, found in Matthew 28 : 18-20 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

It takes the best environment/habitat (food, water, cover and space) for animals to truly survive, thrive and grow. Without the best environment a few animals might inhabit an area for a short time, but as time goes on they will become weaker and either die or have to move to a different environment in order survive. And the same is true in our Christian walk, if we don’t surround ourselves, our families, our nation and our world (space) with the Best Environment (that being the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) this space we call earth which includes self, family, the body of Christ, and the life God had planned for us will cease to exist. Sure we will survive for a short time without them; but, as time goes on, things will continue to degrade and disintegrate until one day the Lord says, “Enough is enough. No longer will I wait or accept what is happening to my people. It’s time for Me to change their environment if they are unwilling to change it themselves.” Like in Noah’s day when God completely changed the habitat on earth by flooding it with water, He will once again return to earth not with a flood but with His Son Jesus Christ to completely change the environment we now live in.

So here are the big questions to ask yourself and think about. What does your current environment/habitat look like? Is it the Best or just enough to get by for a while until something else comes along? If the Lord were to come back today, tomorrow or next week would the Lord save and protect you like He did for Noah or would you find yourself like everyone else in Noah’s day swimming for their life, only to be overcome by the storms of life? If you still have breath in your lungs, you have a choice about what your environment looks like. Will you choose the Best or settle for whatever life throws at you? The Choice is Yours! I pray you choose wisely; don’t let your “eye” & “I” disease determine your eternal environment in which you will live the rest of your life.           

Nov 04 2014

Verse for the Day: James 3:13-18 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

As I mentioned yesterday I believe we all have an eye problem when it comes to our spiritual sight. We all know about physical problems that cause problems with our vision. Simple things like far and near sightedness or allergies, to more serious problems like cataracts or glaucoma which, left untreated, will cause total blindness.

But that brings me to what I believe is the most deadly problem/disease of all when it comes to our spiritual sight and walk. There is no doubt in my mind if left untreated this disease is more contagious than any disease or illness known to mankind like chicken pox or the flu, and more deadly than aids or Ebola. It has the ability to leave people completely and totally blind or dead spiritually and I believe in some form or another it has infected everyone.

While this problem/disease is not a physical "eye" disease I do believe it's the root cause to our vision problems spiritually. This disease is spelled with a capital "I". Yes, you heard me right, it's you and me. The "I" need, "I" want, "I" deserve mentality that has infected this world has left us spiritually blind, dead and weak. We have become uncaring, unaware, self-absorbed and disconnected from God's plan for our life. And like physical eye problems have or will affect everyone eyes at some point in their life, from the simple irritations of dirt or dust in your eye to more serious problems like glaucoma. The "I" disease in some form or another has affected and infected everyone during their life. 

You probably heard this before but it's worth repeating: "What's at the center if sIn?” It's a capital "I" and I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to the "I" disease. Too often I find myself putting my desires, wishes, and wants ahead of others. It's usually the little things in life that I find myself struggling with most of the time. Things like wanting to watch a football game, some farming activity, buying something I really don't need or doing something at work verses putting others first. It seems as if the list could go on forever of the things I think I need, want or deserve over putting others first. And even when I do put something or someone else ahead of my own wishes, too often I find myself complaining, letting out a big sigh or doing with it with the wrong kind of spirit or attitude. 

How often have you put your own wants, desires, or needs ahead of what you know God is asking or wanting you to do? Do you have the same opportunities or things happen or repeat themselves over and over again and wonder why? Could it be that The Lord is trying to tell or show you something or asking you to put the "I" disease aside in order to put someone else first? When you do put someone else’s needs first do you do it in the right spirit and attitude or do your words, tone of voice, expressions, actions say something totally different?  I know this is an area I could always do better in. True wisdom that can help us overcome our “I” problem has to come from God, not our self as we see in today’s scripture.   

We all have an "I" and an "eye" problem when it comes to our spiritual sight and walk from time to time. So, let’s come back next time and look at how we can eliminate or at least slow down this “I” disease which has infected this world. It has to start by changing the environment we find our self in - I believe, with the right environment, we can change how we live and overcome this deadly “I” and “eye” problem that affects all of us.