Devo Day 17 – All About the Heart

𝑰𝒕’𝒔 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 🅗🅔🅐🅡🅣

Yesterday I mentioned that today I would continue in Matthew 5. While that is true, we are going to start there but continue on until Jesus finishes what is often referred to as “the sermon on the mount.”

The Bible splits up every book into chapters and verses, but I have found that those divisions may cause us to miss the true intent of certain messages. We can start reading in the middle of a thought or stop reading before a thought is complete; and it’s because we are following along the divisions that were developed a few hundred years ago.

Sure those divisions are helpful, but at times, they can hinder us from receiving powerful revelation.

Today, we have many verses. Our focus is actually 3 whole chapters. I encourage you read Matthew 5-7 in its entirety so that you can read Jesus’ teaching from start to finish without interruption. Trust me, it’s so worth it. Below is the entire 3 chapters in The Passion Translation without chapters and verses.

Yesterday I shared about how Jesus came to perfect the law; make it whole / complete. This teaching that Jesus shared drives home a very important truth – it’s all about the heart. While our actions may be good, our heart may not be; and vice versa. It may appear we are following the law or doing good deeds, but what matters is what’s going on with the heart. What is the motive? Why are you doing it?

Jesus taught something scandalous. He said adultery isn’t just simply having sex with someone who isn’t your spouse; just looking at a woman and imagining it is adultery. Whoa! That’s a whole other level of living. Again, Jesus came to perfect the law, not to get rid of it.

In those days people were able to present their outwardly lives in a way that appeared holy, but Jesus came to reveal that God is looking at the heart. The law didn’t address the heart; so they thought. It became about actions and doings.

Jesus brought forth God’s heart regarding the law. It’s not just about what you do, it’s about who you are. It’s all the heart.

I often ask the question “why am I doing this?” and look deep inside to check my motives. There have been times where I heard a stern still small voice say “Andrea, check yourself.”

Is there anything in your life that you need to take a moment and ask “what’s my motive?”

Matthew 5-7

No chapters or verses. The Passion Translation.

One day Jesus saw a vast crowd of people gathering to hear him, so he went up the slope of a hill and sat down. With his followers and disciples spread over the hillside, Jesus began to teach them:

  • “What happiness comes to you when you feel your spiritual poverty! For theirs is the realm of heaven’s kingdom.
  • What delight comes to you when you wait upon the Lord! For you will find what you long for.
  • What blessing comes to you when gentleness lives in you! For you will inherit the earth.
  • How enriched you are when you crave righteousness! For you will be surrounded with fruitfulness.
  • How satisfied you are when you demonstrate tender mercy! For tender mercy will be demonstrated to you.
  • What bliss you experience when your heart is pure! For then your eyes will open to see more and more of God.
  • How joyful you are when you make peace! For then you will be recognized as a true child of God.
  • How enriched you are when you bear the wounds of being persecuted for doing what is right! For that is when you experience the realm of heaven’s kingdom.
  • How ecstatic you can be when people insult and persecute you and speak all kinds of cruel lies about you because of your love for me!  So leap for joy—since your heavenly reward is great. For you are being rejected the same way the prophets were before you.

Your lives are like salt among the people. But if you, like salt, become bland, how can your ‘saltiness’ be restored? Flavorless salt is good for nothing and will be thrown out and trampled on by others. “Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop?  And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light.  So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.

If you think I’ve come to set aside the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets, you’re mistaken. I have come to fulfill and bring to perfection all that has been written.  Indeed, I assure you, as long as heaven and earth endure, not even the smallest detail of the Law will be done away with until its purpose is complete.  So whoever violates even the least important of the commandments, and teaches others to do so, will be the least esteemed in the realm of heaven’s kingdom. But whoever obeys them and teaches their truths to others will be greatly esteemed in the realm of heaven’s kingdom.  For I tell you, unless your lives are more pure and full of integrity than the religious scholars and the Pharisees you will never experience the realm of heaven’s kingdom.

You’re familiar with the commandment that the older generation was taught, ‘Do not murder or you will be judged.’  But I’m telling you, if you hold anger in your heart toward a fellow believer, you are subject to judgment. And whoever demeans and insults a fellow believer is answerable to the congregation. And whoever calls down curses upon a fellow believer is in danger of being sent to a fiery hell.

So then, if you are presenting a gift before the altar in the temple and suddenly you remember a quarrel you have with a fellow believer, leave your gift there in front of the altar and go at once to apologize with the one who is offended. Then, after you have reconciled, come to the altar and present your gift. It is always better to come to terms with the one who wants to sue you before you go to trial, or you may be found guilty by the judge, and he will hand you over to the officers, who will throw you into prison. Believe me, you won’t get out of prison until you have paid the full amount!

Your ancestors have been taught, ‘Never commit adultery.’ However, I say to you, if you look with lust in your eyes at the body of a woman who is not your wife, you’ve already committed adultery in your heart. If your right eye seduces you to fall into sin, then go blind in your right eye! For you’re better off losing sight in one eye than to have your whole body thrown into hell.  And if your right hand entices you to sin, let it go limp and useless! For you’re better off losing a part of your body than to have it all thrown into hell. “It has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her legal divorce papers.’  However, I say to you, if anyone divorces his wife for any reason, except for infidelity, he causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Again, your ancestors were taught, ‘Never swear an oath that you don’t intend to keep, but keep your vows to the Lord God.’ However, I say to you, don’t bind yourself by taking an oath at all. Don’t swear by heaven, for heaven is where God’s throne is placed. Don’t swear an oath by the earth, because it is the rug under God’s feet, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the Great King. And why would you swear by your own head, because it’s not in your power to turn a single hair white or black? But just let your words ring true. A simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ will suffice. Anything beyond this springs from a deceiver. “Your ancestors have also been taught, ‘Take an eye in exchange for an eye and a tooth in exchange for a tooth.’  However, I say to you, don’t repay an evil act with another evil act. But whoever insults you by slapping you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well.  If someone is determined to sue you for your coat, give him the shirt off your back as a gift in return.  And should people in authority take advantage of you, do more than what they demand.  Learn to generously share what you have with those who ask for help, and don’t close your heart to the one who comes to borrow from you.

Your ancestors have also been taught ‘Love your neighbors and hate the one who hates you.’  However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them.  For that will reveal your identity as children of your heavenly Father. He is kind to all by bringing the sunrise to warm and rainfall to refresh whether a person does what is good or evil.  What reward do you deserve if you only love the loveable? Don’t even the tax collectors do that?  How are you any different from others if you limit your kindness only to your friends? Don’t even the ungodly do that?  Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like him.

Examine your motives to make sure you’re not showing off when you do your good deeds, only to be admired by others; otherwise, you will lose the reward of your heavenly Father. So when you give to the poor, don’t announce it and make a show of it just to be seen by people, like the hypocrites in the streets and in the marketplace. They’ve already received their reward! But when you demonstrate generosity, do it with pure motives and without drawing attention to yourself. Give secretly and your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly.

Whenever you pray, be sincere and not like the pretenders who love the attention they receive while praying before others in the meetings and on street corners. Believe me, they’ve already received in full their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your innermost chamber and be alone with Father God, praying to him in secret. And your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly. When you pray, there is no need to repeat empty phrases, praying like those who don’t know God, for they expect God to hear them because of their many words. There is no need to imitate them, since your Father already knows what you need before you ask him. Pray like this:

‘Our Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms, may the glory of your name be the center on which our lives turn. Manifest your kingdom realm, and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth, just as it is fulfilled in heaven. We acknowledge you as our Provider of all we need each day. Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Rescue us every time we face tribulation and set us free from evil. For you are the King who rules with power and glory forever. Amen.’ “And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you.  But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.

When you fast, don’t look like those who pretend to be spiritual. They want everyone to know they’re fasting, so they appear in public looking miserable, gloomy, and disheveled. Believe me, they’ve already received their reward in full. When you fast, don’t let it be obvious, but instead, wash your face and groom yourself and realize that your Father in the secret place is the one who is watching all that you do in secret and will continue to reward you openly.

Don’t keep hoarding for yourselves earthly treasures that can be stolen by thieves. Material wealth eventually rusts, decays, and loses its value. Instead, stockpile heavenly treasures for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay, or lose their value. For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure. “The eyes of your spirit allow revelation-light to enter into your being. If your heart is unclouded, the light floods in!  But if your eyes are focused on money, the light cannot penetrate and darkness takes its place. How profound will be the darkness within you if the light of truth cannot enter! “How could you worship two gods at the same time? You will have to hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t worship the true God while enslaved to the god of money!

This is why I tell you to never be worried about your life, for all that you need will be provided, such as food, water, clothing—everything your body needs. Isn’t there more to your life than a meal? Isn’t your body more than clothing? “Look at all the birds—do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they?  So, which one of you by worrying could add anything to your life? “And why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers of the field. They don’t work or toil,  and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty more than one of these! So if God has clothed the meadow with hay, which is here for such a short time and then dried up and burned, won’t he provide for you the clothes you need—even though you live with such little faith? “So then, forsake your worries! Why would you say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For that is what the unbelievers chase after. Doesn’t your heavenly Father already know the things your bodies require? “So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Refuse to be a critic full of bias toward others, and judgment will not be passed on you. For you’ll be judged by the same standard that you’ve used to judge others. The measurement you use on them will be used on you. Why would you focus on the flaw in someone else’s life and yet fail to notice the glaring flaws of your own? How could you say to your friend, ‘Let me show you where you’re wrong,’ when you’re guilty of even more? You’re being hypercritical and a hypocrite! First acknowledge your own ‘blind spots’ and deal with them, and then you’ll be capable of dealing with the ‘blind spot’ of your friend.“Who would hang earrings on a dog’s ear or throw pearls in front of wild pigs? They’ll only trample them under their feet and then turn around and tear you to pieces! “Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you.  For every persistent one will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he longs for. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door. “Do you know of any parent who would give his hungry child, who asked for food, a plate of rocks instead?  Or when asked for a piece of fish, what parent would offer his child a snake instead?  If you, imperfect as you are, know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts to those who ask him?

In everything you do, be careful to treat others in the same way you’d want them to treat you, for that is the essence of all the teachings of the Law and the Prophets.

Come to God through the narrow gate, because the wide gate and broad path is the way that leads to destruction—nearly everyone chooses that crowded road! The narrow gate and the difficult way leads to eternal life—so few even find it!

Constantly be on your guard against phony prophets. They come disguised as lambs, appearing to be genuine, but on the inside they are like wild, ravenous wolves! You can spot them by their actions, for the fruits of their character will be obvious. You won’t find sweet grapes hanging on a thorn bush, and you’ll never pick good fruit from a tumbleweed. So if the tree is good, it will produce good fruit; but if the tree is bad, it will bear only rotten fruit and it deserves to be cut down and burned. Look at the obvious fruit of their lives and ministries, and then you’ll know whether they are true or false.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the realm of heaven’s kingdom. It is only those who persist in doing the will of my heavenly Father.  On the day of judgment many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, don’t you remember us? Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we cast out demons and do many miracles for the sake of your name?’ But I will have to say to them, ‘Go away from me, you lawless rebels! I’ve never been joined to you!’ “Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakable foundation. When the rains fell and the flood came, with fierce winds beating upon his house, it stood firm because of its strong foundation. “But everyone who hears my teaching and does not apply it to his life can be compared to a foolish man who built his house on sand. When it rained and rained and the flood came, with wind and waves beating upon his house, it collapsed and was swept away.”

By the time Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were dazed and overwhelmed by his teaching, because his words carried such great authority, quite unlike their religious scholars.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s