FROM WITHIN THE HEART

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)

The real issue is my heart.  How easy it is to give our hearts over to these evil things.  I often question, how could I let my heart wonder from the glorious presence of our Lord?  We often allow other things to fill our hearts instead of appropriating the things of the Spirit.  This is when I know that I am not filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of your time, because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the lord is, And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:15-18)

Well, here we go again.  I have been so careless in my Christian walk at times.  I often do not walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which I have been called (Ephesians 4:1).  I have walked in an unwise way at times in my life.  I have lived a compromised life.  I have not made the best use of my time.  So much of it has been lived for my selfish desires and not those of the Lord.  I know the days are getting more evil, every day at a time.

I have been foolish.  In fact, there are times when I have lived as if there is no God.  And I have not sought what the will of the Lord is.  I have done it “my way” and that is a very foolish thing to do.  The time has come for genuine repentance and for seeking the precious presence of the Holy Spirit deep in my heart.  In fact, I must make the conscious decision to be filled with the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, self control…” (Galatians 5:22-23)

No wonder I have lacked self-control in my life.  I have tried to do it alone.  But it is only the Holy Spirit who is able to produce this fruit in my life.  My own efforts, though sincere, all too often fail.  I have lacked love (it’s been love on my terms), and joy (instead it has been a dreadful dead conscience).  I have had little peace in my life.  On too many occasions I have been impatient and unkind.  Goodness has certainly not been a characteristic of my life.  I have been unfaithful to God and others.  And my gentleness has not been there unless it benefited me to demonstrate it.  Coming to grips with the deep sins of our hearts is a painful thing.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For it we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.  We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we no longer be enslaved to sin…So you must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:3-6,11).

To be honest, I have known this intellectually, but I have not appropriated it in my heart.  Christ’s death and resurrection have freed me from my bondage to sin.  I have had the power to be set free, but not the desire to do so.  We must desire it; we can repress it and even become callous to the truth of our position and ability in Christ.

I have been united with Christ in His death (baptized with Him in His death) in order to free me from my bondage to sin.  But the problem has been my heart and my will.  I haven’t accepted this truth of God’s Word (another sin!).

I have been raised with Christ in HIs resurrection that I might walk in newness of life!  I can walk in a manner worthy of my calling.  I can be careful how I walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of the time that I have left on this earth.  (God, I don’t want to miss anything You have to show me and teach me until the day that I die and go be with You!)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ has reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (II Corinthians 5:17-18)

Thank you, God, for giving me a new lease on life.  Let me live it to Your glory.  Let me be faithful in the ministry until Jesus comes back.

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