Psalm 107:9 for the LORD satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
God is vitally interested in the condition of our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 puts it so clearly. Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life! Our heart is the centre of who we are. All our desires, our motives, our thoughts, our words, our actions and our emotions flow from our hearts. It is, therefore, no surprise that God is so concerned about its condition. Throughout both the Old and New Testament we see very clearly how important our hearts are to God. The word “heart” is mentioned over 500 times. It is clear from all Scripture that the heart is God’s measuring stick, His scale.
Why we do what we do is very important to God. God has been gently challenging me about the motives of my own heart. Pam, why do you do what you do? Am I dutiful or am I passionate? Do I do things out of a sense of duty or a deep love for Jesus? There is a very good example of this in the Bible. It is the well-known story of Mary and Martha. A good example of the difference between the two i.e. a dutiful heart vs a love-driven heart.
What were the signs of Martha’s dutiful heart?
- Martha missed the point of Jesus ‘visit. She lacked true discernment of what was really important.
- Her heart tired easily.
- Martha was distracted by relatively unimportant things.
- Martha was easily irritated by the actions of others.
- Martha had a critical heart (she criticised both her sister and Jesus).
- She had a faulty perception of events and self-pity “Don’t you care?” ( It’s not what happens to us but how we perceive what happens to us).
How different it is when we do what we do from a heart of love for Jesus? Let’s look at Mary in the story…
What were the signs of Mary’s love-driven heart?
- There was a release of grace from her to others.
- She was filled with energy and strength.
- She was contented.
- She wasn’t comparing herself to Martha.
- She had a heart of gratitude, a sense of privilege to be close to Jesus.
- She had a discernment of what was important.
- She was filled with joy.
How do we know the condition of our hearts? “Wat die hart van vol is, lop die mond van oor” (an Afrikaans saying that translates to ‘what the heart is full of will flow out of the mouth’). We cannot hide the condition of our hearts for long, eventually, our mouths will betray us.
So my question to you is, “Why do you do what you do? Why are you serving the Lord? Because it is the right thing to do? Or because you know the love of your heavenly Father? I believe God wants to refresh those who have grown weary and He wants to pour out His grace and love. Is your Christian walk characterised by joy? God knows our hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him.
My prayer for us all is that we would all jealously and intentionally “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life!”.
What can we do if we resemble Martha more than Mary?
- Confess the truth to God (i.e God my heart is dutiful).
- Ask God for forgiveness.
- Ask God to change your heart (remember it is a gift of His grace).
- Receive His forgiveness (remember our love for God is always a response to His love)
Footnote: Weariness can be the result of doing things out of duty instead of passion but can also be the result of doing things out of passion…but it not being what God has asked us to do. A dutiful son sees God solely as a Master and themselves solely as a slave (i.e. my identity is in what I do) but a passionate, love-driven son sees God as his loving Father (i.e. my identity is in who I am).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pamela serves alongside Will’ at Joshua Generation Church well as internationally within the Four12 partnering churches. A home bird with the heart of an adventurer, an avid reader, Theology degree holder, a ‘health nut’ and most of all a passionate lover of her Saviour, Jesus.
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