Have you checked your heart lately? I don’t mean at the doctor’s office, I mean have you looked at it to see what has built up over time with things like bitterness, selfish hidden desires, or unforgiveness that you have found a way to justify? Just as we can begin to develop different eating habits that help, or hurt, the condition of our physical health, the same is true about our spiritual health.
Jesus addresses this very issue with the Pharisees when he was teaching about the law in Matthew 5:17, he says “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” He wanted them to see that you are to love God with all your heart, not just follow as set of rules. He goes on to say in verses 19-20 “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Even though the Pharisees were keeping the law outwardly, they had not let God change their hearts, and it was evident in their attitudes. God looks at our heart in addition to our deeds. Allegiance lies in the heart, not just in our actions alone! For example, there are people who get up and go to a job every day that they do not like, and they will do what they are told so they can receive a paycheck at the end of the week. That does not mean that they “love” or are “loyal” to their place of employment. They are simply going through the motions to receive and expected end. We must be careful that our relationship with Christ does not take on a similar form.
The scripture tells us that our righteousness must “exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees” or we will not enter heaven. We must do better than that by closely, and frequently, monitoring the motives in our heart. We need to be aware of how we make others feel, instead of just looking like we are a Christian. Our love and devotion to Christ should be the motivation for all we do.
In a world where we have become so concerned about what others see on the outside, such as, our clothes, our car, the house we live in, the landscape of the yard, the job we have, or the degree we’ve earned — we should be more concerned about our attitudes and the truth that lives in our hearts, not just what we want other to see.
I pray, “Lord, make me aware of any unhealthy issues that may be in my heart. Help me become more kind, loving, and empathetic to others, instead of only wanting to be sure I don’t do “wrong” things. Thank You Lord for the reminder that when I am truly focused on You, the correct attitude will follow. Use me to help someone in need today. In Jesus’ name, amen.”