I know I’ve shared with you before that there are times when the Holy Spirit grabs hold of Gracie and she begins to “preach.” I had such an occasion recently when I was doing my morning “coffee date” with the Lord. She was sitting opposite me “reading” Doug’s Bible when she began to “preach.” I began to transcribe! Here’s another “Sermon of Grace….”
“You are the good God. You know who I am. You know us. You are the good God. You are always near us. You have a good heart. You are my savior. I know the Good God and he knows my heart. He knows the wicked heart of humans. But I want the Good God. You are the Good God. I will go to trust in the Lord with all of my heart, because He is the Good God of Love.”
It never ceases to amaze me how God’s Spirit works. Here is my four year old preaching to me about the wicked human heart and the love of the good God while ironically “reading” from Doug’s Bible, which is boldly imprinted with Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, who can understand it?”
I love that my husband chose that verse for the cover of his Bible. It is so fitting for the truth of our human condition. Our hearts are soooo deceitful! We hear a common phrase today in pop-culture and pop-psychology: “Oh just follow your heart!” But the wisdom of God tells us: “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool.” (Proverbs 28:26) and to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight…. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:5-8) The truth is that following our own heart will lead to sick and weak bodies walking on disastrous paths. The human heart is full of its“self.” If we blindly follow our hearts we will only be lead back to our “self” to breed more “Self-ish-ness.” In that selfishness we deceive others and we deceive ourselves. We don’t like to admit it, but our hearts are wicked— and OH! We have wonderful ways of justifying our wickedness!
“I know I shouldn’t be eating this much food, but at least I’m not as fat as SHE is……”
“It was just a little white lie… I mean, I’m no Bernie Madoff!”
“It’s ok if I entertain this fantasy in my mind… no one knows but me, who’s it hurting???”
“Everyone already knows, so it’s not really gossiping if I talk about it too…”
“So I said a few ugly things about her… you should hear the things she’s saying about me!”
I could go on, but I think you get the picture… a picture that Jesus was quite familiar with. As Gracie so stated: “I know the Good God and He knows my heart. He knows the wicked heart of humans.” Jesus tells us just how well He knows us in in Mark 7: “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:20-23) So what is the remedy for these wicked rotting hearts of ours? JESUS is the Answer! Jesus is always the answer!
Jesus is “The Great Physician!” He diagnoses our problems, and prescribes the remedy. The remedy is Him! He is the greatest hope and cure of all! He is the only hero and healer of my human condition. He gave His very life for me, and for you, so that we could be free from the slavery of those ugly things inside our hearts. Once we accept the greatest gift of all, the forgiveness of God poured out on the cross, His immediate transformative power takes hold, “For if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Because of Jesus we have a new spirit that transforms our desires, changes our motivations, and gives us a new way of looking at the world, at ourselves and at others. Once Christ takes up residence He at once begins a work on us, helping us to “crucify” our “self”ish nature. “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) As you allow His transforming work to take hold you embrace the saying of John the Baptist: “I must decrease, He must increase.” (John 3:30) And you trust that: “He [Christ] who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” (Philippians 1:6) You see, we are no longer just trying to survive or justify ourselves! We stand on the confidence that we have a living Savior who loves us and cares for us!
Becoming a Christian and being “saved” is not a one-time transaction where we accept a nice little spot in heaven like getting some “Get out of Hell free card.” Once we accept Christ, He must and will take up residence in our hearts. We then find we cannot go on living in our old ways. We open His word to see Him, hear from Him and allow His transforming power to move us. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) The process of transformation may be slower in areas where we have “strongholds” or a particularly rebellious heart. Conversely, it may be quite rapid in an especially willing heart. But, only God can understand the wickedness of our hearts. Only He can give us the individual diagnosis and the tailor made remedy, and only He has the power to transform us into something new!
But, true blossoming needs careful cultivation! And that means making your relationship with the Lord a priority in your life, spending quality time with Him and in His word. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11-12) It is God’s word that transforms our hearts from a desert wasteland to budding flowers and abundant harvests! And we can only begin to trust our hearts under one condition— when we have Jesus in our hearts. It is under this condition that our hearts no longer belong to us and our selfish, wicked desires— they belong to God, and follow His desires. We become men and women after God’s own heart just as David. It is only His transformative power that moves us from being wicked fools to people who reflect the heart and likeness of the King himself— hearts of love and forgiveness, hearts overflowing with the fruits of His Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)
WOW! What and opposite picture that is from the one Jesus diagnosed in Mark 7! And it is a picture only possible by knowing Jesus and allowing Him access to our hearts. He will make us new. That is a promise directly from Him! The Lord says “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put in you. And I will remove the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statues and be careful to obey my commands.” (Ezk 36:27) How does this transformation to a heart of flesh begin to happen? I think Gracie’s sermon gives us a good clue! It is about wanting Him, knowing Him, and trusting in His Goodness, His wisdom and His Love with ALL our hearts…
You are the good God. You know who I am. You know us. You are the good God. You are always near us. You have a good heart. You are my savior. I know the Good God and he knows my heart. He knows the wicked heart of humans. But I want the Good God. You are the Good God. I will go to trust in the Lord with all of my heart, because He is the Good God of Love.”
Today I ask: Do you know the good God? Because He has such a good heart! Do you want the Good God? Because He is your salvation! Will you go to the Good God and trust in Him with ALL your heart, not just some small piece of it? There is none more trustworthy or wise than He, for He is the Good God of Love— The only “good God” our Lord Jesus!