We move along in our study of the Sermon on the Mount, next we focus on what only two people know. Only God and us know what’s in our heart. Jesus reminds us that it is what’s in our heart that matters. Our outward actions can say one thing, our words can say another, but it is our heart that reveals the truth. What is in our heart? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We have all been in the situation where we couldn’t say what we really felt like saying. Whether we are sharing with others or in public, most times we need to measure what we say and take into account who is listening. We don’t always reveal what is in our heart.
Jesus continued his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount with these words;
Mathew 5:27-30, “You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Adultery is wrong, even thinking about it is wrong. This illustrates God’s high view of the marriage relationship. Jesus helps us to understand that when we enter into a marriage relationship it should be the only intimate relationship we have. It is not up for debate, don’t even think about it.
We all have things we think about and would really like to say but for the circumstances that surround us we don’t share it. It is rare to have a relationship where you can share your heart. The angst we feel, when we cannot really say what we want, robs us of our peace. That doesn’t mean we should just share what is in our heart, it means we have to change our heart.
Romans 12:2; NLT; Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Changing our heart means transforming our mind. Our mind, what we think, is connected to what is in our heart. We have heard; follow your heart. We learn here that our mind leads our heart. What we think is connected to what’s in our heart. We need to lead our heart in a way that will honor God.
Jesus expands this teaching that it is what is in our heart that matters. He expands this to lustful desires. Lust is a word that we have equated with sexual desires but let’s explore that word a little. Lust is defined as; a desire, yearning, a longing, a hunger, an ache, envy, thirst, an itch for something. Most of these terms describe something that overtakes us, something that is very hard to have the willpower to resist. When we allow the wrong thoughts to rule our mind, we end up sinning in our heart. Notice that Jesus makes the designation that whether in our mind, heart or actions the result is the same, we fall short of honoring God. We don’t need to follow through with actions, just allowing the thoughts in our head and desire in our heart is enough.
He has some advice for us though; remove it from your life. He explains that we are to go to great lengths to remove whatever it is in our life that causes us to sin. He said it is better to lose one part of our body that to lose our entire life. Have no doubt about it, this is serious stuff. Jesus doesn’t limit this just to adultery, his example covers anything we do that causes us to sin. We need to cut it out of our life.
Garbage in, garbage out! That’s exactly what Jesus is saying, if we allow these things in our life that are not good, then our life will be worthless. If the things we put in our minds and hearts are not good then what comes out will be bad. Don’t be fooled into thinking we can handle it, we can’t.
Take a look at some of the video games out there. Some of the worst ones create a mindset that doesn’t value what God values, life itself. Do we think there is a connection between what people subject their minds to with these games and what they do in their lives? I do and I think we see it in the way people treat each other. We have developed a disregard for others and their lives. Remember the topic from a few weeks back; when we do not value life like God values life, we commit murder. Even when we call someone a fool.
How do we respond to things in our life that cause us to sin? Probably not the way Jesus instructs us to respond here. For some reason we think we can handle it. We think we are strong enough to resist the temptation. We think we are stronger than others. We are wrong.
What is in our heart? Soon enough it will show in the way we live our life. Are we ready to live a life that shows the love of Christ? I would encourage each of us to take note of what we allow into our mind. Take note of what we allow ourselves to think. The wrong influences and thoughts will lead to actions that will destroy our lives.
I remember a movie that helps us understand this teaching; Fireproof. It helps us to understand how important the relationship of marriage is and helps us to see how we can make it better. There is a teaching in that movie that we all need to remember; “Don’t just follow your heart, because your heart can be deceived, lead your heart to where it needs to be.” That is what Jesus teaches here, how we condition our heart matters. What we put into our heart matters, because what is in our heart will show itself in our lives.
Don’t allow things into our mind that will destroy our life. Cut them out, remove their influence. It is better to lose a part of our life than condemn ourselves to hell. Do not take these words lightly. We must watch ourselves and the things we let influence our thoughts and become our hearts desire.