by David Brenneman
Say what? Rending Hearts? What is that anyway?
The given definition of rending is this: it's a verb, meaning it's an ACTION. It means to tear (something) into two or more pieces. In literary terms it's to cause great emotional pain to (a person or their heart).
Interesting that the literary term is more accurate to the action that this is about today. What is it to meaning in the Bible in rending a heart?
Joel 2:13 NASB ""And rend your heart and not your garments." Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil."
To put it today's terms: Don't put on a show for others to see or an act that you think might make God 'happy'.
Think about this: 1 Samuel 16:7 "But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as a man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
Think about this:
1 Samuel 15:22 NASB "and Samuel said, "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams."
Micah 6:8 NASB "He has told you, mortal one, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Matthew 9:13 NASB "Go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous but sinners."
Matthew 12:7 NASB "But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice' you would not have condemned the innocent."
Consider this today: Psalm 139:23-24 NASB "Search me, God, and know my heart; Put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way."
We have perhaps all heard it said "Pride comes before the fall". Being proud of specific things is perhaps one thing, to be prideful in thinking you're above others that you at all look down on others because of their views and beliefs just might get you into a heap of trouble. We're all sinners saved by grace. We're all the people that Jesus came, lived a sinless life, died a death He didn't have to or need to, in order to rise again 3 days later to save mankind who would come to Him for it.
It's easy to take a political stance. It's often easy to even take a religious stance. Both were happening throughout the Bible. We read it from way back in Samuel's time (it was around since before the dawn of time) and up to the New Testament. Takes no stretch of the imagination to know it's in today's world too.
It is a huge breakthrough in life when we are to the place of what we read in Psalm 139:23-24 in a person's life.
Wanting to know the unadulterated truth about ourselves and not the image we project to ourselves or to others. Not our 'status' as we want the world to see. Guess what? The people in Matthew that Jesus was addressing are the same as those of us in the world today. God's Word is timeless.
We often look down on others when we ought not. We get prideful and use it to make ourselves feel better by berating, belittling, and demeaning others. The Jewish Leaders did this to people. If they said something and you disagreed you could or would be put out of the Temple. They would deny a person the right to come to God! The Temple was to be the place to come to God. When the man healed was kicked out of the Temple, consider it well what happened next.
"So for the second time they summoned the man who had been blind, and said to him, "Give glory to God; we know this man is a sinner." He then answered, "Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." So they said to him, "What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?" He answered them, "I told you already and you did not listen, why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His Disciples too, do you? They spoke abusively to him and said, "You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from." The man answered and said to them, "Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes! We know that God does not listen to sinners; but if someone is God-fearing and does His will, He listenes to him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing." They answered him, "You were born entirely in sins, and yet you are teaching us?" So they put him out.
Jesus heard that they had put him out, and upon finding him, He said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" He asnwered by saying, "And who is He, Sir, that I may believe in Him?" Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking to you." And he said, "I believe, Lord." And he worshipped Him." John 9:24-38 NASB
Note what their attitude was. Note what was really said. Spiritually their eyes were closed to the truth. This man's physical and Spiritual eyes had been opened.
I easily can see the humor of Jesus in what happened after this man was kicked out. Smiling when He said "You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking to you."
It's oh so easy in this world to 'take sides' thinking that it matters. Political views do not matter, Religious views do not matter, social status does not matter...nothing matters but having a heart that is tender and receptive to what the Spirit wants and needs to do with it. For those in Christ our first priority isn't to a denomination. It's to the Church of the Living God. There's ONE Church going to be gathered up, both from among those who have died in Christ before Jesus returns and those who remain and are alive at the time. He comes to gather HIS Church, singular, single, one Church.
Our views on life ought to be a reflection of what the Spirit's doing in our hearts. If we are holding onto things of this world...and yet claim to be a Believer...sooner or later the Spirit will remove those things. If things and yes even people are not helping in our growth in Christ they aren't going to be around long.
The Spirit is to teach us all things. Jesus said so. Our lives are to be spent in obedience to the One who took our place when it's US who should be dying for our sins. Jesus did, once for all, so that we who believe might live.
Having a heart that's open and ready to seeing both our lives and this world as the Lord Jesus Christ sees it is the aim of the Spirit of God in our lives. He is working on our sanctification...our becoming more like Christ.
Rending of hearts...I can look back to more than a few times in my life that's exactly what the Spirit did when I needed it most. I wasn't wiling to 'go there' but when we come to Christ we are to give the Spirit a free right and ability to go anywhere, to do anything, that's necessary to become more like Jesus.
If we look like the world, if we put this world ahead of what we're here for in Christ....then we're going about it all wrong.
Look at your life today...look at what you're holding onto. Look at how others may view what you say. If you aren't showing a lost world Jesus, what are you showing them? Are you pulling them away from Jesus or towards Him? We aren't here to live this life to our satisfaction but to the satisfaction of the Spirit of God. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for good works that we might walk in them. This is God's Will: our sanctification.
Less of us, more of Him. Dare to pray that prayer in Psalms 139. Ask the Lord to show you anything in you that needs to go in order to be obedient and to live a life that's showing Christ in you.
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