From The Heart
"These are matters (v 21) which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence." - Colossians 2:23 NASB Immediately after Jesus delivered a demon-possessed man, and the crowd began to speculate whether or not He could be the "son of David", the Pharisees grew increasingly jealous. "He cast out devils by the power of the devil," they shouted. But knowing the deeper things of their hearts Jesus said to them, "You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." As I reflect on Jesus' words, and those His Spirit inspired Paul to write, I am reminded that our actions (speech or otherwise) are the outflow of our hearts. What you and I say comes from within. And if it doesn't, we're just faking it. We often do this through human religion. We strenuously work to obey the rules but it's not truly in our hearts to do so. This cannot make us right with God. Yes, rule-keeping can have an appearance of wisdom and even holiness, but only a new heart produces good continually. Only a new heart wants to restrain the sensual indulgences we're tempted with. If you've walked with Jesus for any length of time and yet today you notice your actions aren't lining up, heed God's conviction. Ask God to teach you again how to work from that new heart of yours. If you've been a slave to rules and regulations believing that they will make you good, heed God's word today and ask Him for that new heart He offers to all. Finally, always remember that those who truly belong to God do good straight from the heart. Questions to Consider: When something is from the heart, is it difficult to do? If not, why? Does Paul imply rules are bad here? If not what's the real issue?