Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"Your heart belongs to God!"

Day #182

Scripture Reading:  Proverbs 7 ...

Spiritual adultery grieves God because it takes the best of what He has created and throws it away on something worthless.  God created mankind to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him ... then came Satan.  He tempted Adam and Eve to take their eyes off of God and their affection away from God and turn them toward ... a piece of fruit!!  Spiritual adultery is always a matter of the heart.  In Proverbs, Solomon masterfully illustrates spiritual adultery through the picture of physical adultery, painting a clear picture of how foolish it is and how disastrous the consequences are.

God says, "Keep my words and store up my commands WITHIN you.  Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye" (7:1-2).  The "apple of your eye" is where you set your affections, your heart, your desire.  God had called His people the apple of HIS eye and now He calls them to regard His teaching with such affection and devotion and faithfulness.  Is that how you regard the teaching of God’s Word and Spirit?  Where should your desire be?  Upon what is your heart set day after day as you live the life God has given to you in this world?  Listen to the Psalmist in Psalm 73:25-26:  "Whom have I in heaven but You?  And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!"   Can you say that today ... that you desire nothing other than God?

Solomon writes of the "adulteress" who seduces and distracts "a youth who lacked judgment" (7:7).  Our youth today, perhaps more than ever before, are bombarded by the voices of the world calling out to them, "Love me! Love ME!"  Those voices call out to people of all ages, seeking to fill our hearts and minds with the things of the world rather than thoughts of our Creator and affection for our Savior.  Modern technology places the “adulteress” at our fingertips!  It demands our attention and our thoughts.  As John writes to the early Church, he says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever" (I John 2:15-17).

God created us to desire Him because He knows that we will find true joy and satisfaction only in a relationship of love with Him.  That's why He sent Jesus to save us from the horrible bondage of sin that lures us away from God.  Paul prays for the believers in Ephesus, "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:17-19).  Being a Christian is all about LOVE for GOD!!!  Yet how few understand this?

The Spirit of God moved the Apostle John to write to the church in Ephesus in his “Revelation”:  “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance ... I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for My Name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.  But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:2-4).  These believers were enduring persecution and were continuing to hold fast to the truth, yet their hearts were not being moved by love for God.  Serving God without loving God is mere “religion.”  God calls us to love Him in Christ because He first loved us!!  As the Body of Christ we are the Bride of Christ, and knowing that He gave His life for us must move us to love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength!

The "woman" in Proverbs 7 is Satan and the world over which he wants to rule.  He entices "with crafty intent" (7:10).  It is significant that the woman says, "I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows."  This quite probably points to the false religions of the world that talk about "god" and offer their false worship, captivating the hearts of millions.  "With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk" (7:21).  Even some of the people teaching on "Christian television" lead people astray through their smooth talking and cause them to set their hearts on a false god who promises them health, wealth and miracles if only they will "sow a seed" (give an offering of money to their ministry).  Many of the books in Christian bookstores play the part of the “adulteress” in declaring that God is not who the Bible says He is, but rather a the “god” you make him to be.  False teaching of any kind leads people to commit spiritual adultery.

So many today are "like an ox going to slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life" (7:22-23).  What a graphic picture of the deception of Satan and his messengers, who catch so many off guard.  As the world calls out to you as the adulteress, God says, "Listen to Me; pay attention to what I say.  Do not let your HEART turn to her ways or stray into her paths.  Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng.  Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death" (7:24-27).  Remember the warning of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians, “Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (II Corinthians 11:13-14).

Your heart belongs to God, and you will not find your heart's true home until you "set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father" (Colossians 3:1).  Do not listen to the voice of the adulteress (Satan and the world and your own flesh!).  Listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and love Him because He first loved YOU!

"Heavenly Father, I hear YOUR voice calling me to set my heart on You and I do love You because You first loved me in Christ Jesus.  Give me strength to resist the call of the world and my own flesh, putting off the old man and putting on the new, created in Your image, in true righteousness and holiness.  Let me find my greatest satisfaction in You, desiring You above everything else.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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