Yesterday we talked about the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and how they didn’t get along with Jesus at all. We talked about their motivation to keep the rules and abide by laws in order to impress God and people. For them, life was about managing an image and trying to remain firmly in control of that image.
But then Jesus came around and turned their ideas completely upside-down.
He said things like, “When you pray, don’t do it for show. Go into a secret place and talk to God, just you and him. That’s when your prayers will ring true.” And, “When you fast, don’t let people know. Do it in secret, between you and God. That’s when your motivation will be pure.”
He talked about the heart being the place where our treasures lie. He talked about knowing our own shortcomings instead of focusing on the shortcomings of others. He told many of the people he met what was true about them, and they were always amazed at just how well he knew who they really were.
There are so many instances that show Jesus cares deeply about what’s true inside of us.
When I first realized this was a pretty big deal to God, it was such a mystery to me. I wasn’t so sure I really knew what was true inside of me.
And truthfully, when I read the pages of the Gospels that first time, I was surprised to see so much of myself in those religious leaders — I hadn’t realized that was true of me until it stared me right in the face.
Also, I had lived like those religious leaders for so long, I thought everything I did was pure and impressive to God.
I didn’t know my heart at all.
It took me a long time to learn my heart — to get to know what was really there.
In the next few posts I write here, I’m going to share some of the things I learned about that process with you — ways I learned to get in touch with the reality of my heart. Perhaps you will find it helpful to your own process of discovery and self-knowledge before God. But for today, I’m wondering:
Have you ever struggled to know the truth of your heart? Is it a priority to you to know your heart? What do you think of Jesus’ emphasis on this?