Chores, chores, and then some more chores to go with that. My parents were big on chores. I remember spending summers at home when there was no camp or school and just do nothing. That was of course until my parents decided it would be a great idea to use the free manual labor God had given them and make me clean the house. Chores were never something I enjoyed, I mean lets be honest, if you're reading this right now and you enjoy chores, get some fresh air.....please. I would do whatever I could to get out of chores. My favorite thing to do (and I thought this was brilliant) was to save things like HW or even the bible, and do them only when I knew it was time to do a chore. Essentially I was avoiding obedience by being obedient. Makes sense right? Not so much. In fact this is a huge problem with us today. Often times we as Christians tend to get out of having to do things, or justify doing a thing that we know is honoring to God and covering it up with some righteousness.
My favorite example of this is found in Matthew 15:1-8. Here we have the pharisees asking Jesus why it is His disciples don't wash there hands. They claim that in forgetting to, the disciples are defiling themselves inwardly by way of there outward lack of cleanliness. Jesus, being the monster that He is pulled a 180 on them and ended up showing them where true defilement comes from, after all, what good is a cup whose handle is clean, however, whose insides are filled with dirt, the water that pours from it will be anything but pure. This is exactly what Jesus is showing the pharisees.
He goes on to reveal to them the vapid nature that is their tithing. See in those days it was custom to give a portion of your earnings to your parents, by doing so you were honoring them, however, the pharisees would in a sense bypass this by taking what was rightfully their father's and give it to the church. Sounds pretty good right? Giving more to God, I mean who is going to tell you not to? Well, where's your heart?
A few things have to be said about the heart in order to really understand why it is Christ cares so much about it. To begin, we have to always remember that "man looks on the outward, but God sees the heart" (1 Sam 16:7). God is interested in what goes on inside of us, because it is what goes on inside of us that ultimately determines where we are. Often times we confuse our spiritual position's determination by looking to the outward rather than the inward. Just because I am standing in a garage, by no means am I a car. In the same way, just because I'm tithing, just because I'm in a sanctuary, just because I lead a small group, just because I'm in a ministry, these things by no mean determine where I am in my walk with the Lord, or if I even have a walk.
It's scary when you stop and think about it, after all Christ does say earlier in Matthew that "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven". (7:21). Why is that? Because many times people confuse the outward with the inward. What we must always remember is that in order for our outward to be sincere, our inward must first be cleansed. It is here that I bring up one of my favorite verses regarding the heart, Luke 6:45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
The position of our hearts are extremely important to God. From them comes pretty much everything. If our hearts are in the wrong place, then we pretty much have nothing. It's for this reason I live my life in a daily routine of self-examination. Sure I am more anxious than the next person and often times I worry over the dumbest things, however, I want to make sure that in every area of my life, I am making sure that the place in which I am in is one that God has placed me in and it is a place where I want Him to enlarge my heart (Psalm 119:32) and fill it only with what He has for me, because I know that by doing so, what will flow from it will be the living water, that overflowing stream of living water that so many of us forget to plant ourselves by, however, once firmly rooted there, our lives, our hearts, our very being begins to overflow with the very same water.
From the overflow of your heart, your mouth will speak. Don't ever think that you can hide something from God in your heart. Prov 15:11 Hell and Destruction are before the LORD; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men. God sees right into hell, how much more then can He perceive our hearts? Love Him with all you have and leave no place in your heart uncharted. It is those uncharted areas of our hearts that if left alone, can manifest and grow into the very thing that will keep us from the Lord's river. Have Him "search your heart and know your anxieties" It is a scary thing to reveal your heart to the Lord and get honest with Him, because it may mean having to admit the thing you don't want to, however, don't worry, He has a knack for flipping those things upside down and working them for His glory. Just be faithful and do your part. Live your life with knife in hand, always ready to sacrifice Isaac on the altar, well talk more on that one next...