Our Heart

Dear Fellow-Disciple:

"The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds." (Jeremiah 17:9,10)

We hear the questions every day: "What is happening to us? How can we be so wicked? How long will God allow us to go on this way? Why do our leaders have no moral standards?"

Man's heart is deceitful. Man believes and accepts the great lie from Satan. That lie enters his soul and becomes part of his character. He is told he can take a course in life contrary to the one planned for him by God; he can use his own reasoning, independent of God. When he does, he becomes as God.

Man accepts that lie. He makes his bid for supremacy, and relinquishes his soul to the deceiver. He believes he is lord in his own right. He waves the "I did it my way" banner, blinded to the fact that destruction and distress are ever-growing fruit of his decision.

If we ask the intellectuals, they tell us that man is in a constant state of progress and improvement. This may be so in the sophistication of our ability to communicate with each other, or in our ability to kill ourselves. But our moral progress has not only not kept pace with our intellectual development, it has gone the other way.

Even Christians have become divided into thousands of parties, many of which are antagonistic toward or suspicious of one another. Everywhere we look, we see enmity between men. This is not just race against race, a mounting enmity is growing between male and female.

The disciple should understand that all enmity is a mark of interrupted, or arrested, or completely broken relationship with God. Man has forgotten that lack of oneness with God leads to death, for it is separation from the Source of life. Spiritual death is powerful, and it begins to manifest itself long before temporal life ceases.

Man, by his nature, does not possess eternal life, he cannot because he is a temporal being. Humanism tells us this is not true, but that is one of the devil's most devastating lies. Eternal life is an impartation from God. It comes with His provision of new birth.

The entire effort of the devil is to get man to act on some line of self: self-interest, self-realization, self-confidence, self-defense, self-preservation, self-pity, and on and on. When he succeeds at any point along this line, he drives a wedge between man and God.

How do we avoid this attack? The answer lies in the cross. When we observe the relationship experienced between Jesus and the Father, we see what is required of us as disciples.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12:24)

Only as we get on the other side of the cross do we experience freedom and victory, an honestly overcoming life. We must first accept, in faith, that Christ's death on the cross was our death. Until we believe that, we cannot live a resurrected life, in which the old self-life is put away.

In the cross, the cause and nature of separation from God was destroyed. In Christ's resurrection, union with God was made possible for us. The cross is far beyond all human idea of dying for ideals. That is nothing more than self-martyrdom. Man can do nothing that will bring him eternal life, he is totally dependent upon the cross.

All enmity, lack of love, division, strife, prejudice, suspicion, spiritual blindness, exists because the cross is not properly understood. Where any of those things exist, uncrucified flesh establishes a stronghold.

When we take ourselves to the cross and submit everything to Jesus, we are no longer dominated by personal interests. The cross brings us into living union and oneness with God. If we live in the full meaning of that union we become living testimonies of Christ, in terms of life, light and love.

Failure to appropriate the cross, means failure in our fellowship with Christ. Such failure is usually because we are unwilling to present some self-enjoying characteristic to His kingship.

None of this is possible without the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God is the wisdom, power, energy and essence of God. He is involved in all creation, continuation and consummation.

He was dominant in the life of Jesus. Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit and anointed of the Spirit. The Spirit fulfilled His ministry, uttered His teaching and performed His miracles. Everything Jesus did was through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. As His disciples, we are equally dependent upon the Holy Spirit. To ignore the Holy Spirit, is to ignore God.

The church was brought into being by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and everything from that time was carried out by the Spirit. It is the same with individuals. We are born of the Spirit, then led by the Spirit according to the will of God.

We are perfected by the Spirit also, as He works God's will into our lives. This is basic, but necessary for us to comprehend so we will not buy the lie that we have within ourselves any moral, intellectual or spiritual power to fulfill God's purpose.

Unless the Spirit of God does the work of God, it will not be done. That is why we are in such a mess today. We have turned our backs on God to do our own thing. We are headed down a super highway (greased by Satan) to death and destruction.

How can we stop the inevitable and change direction? We can't, except in our own individual case. We must go to the cross and submit to Jesus our right to ourselves. As we do this individually, He moves collectively. He always works wonders with remnants.

The world is not hopeless so long as we have Jesus. Let's examine the lies Satan has thrown at us and make certain we haven't allowed any to penetrate. Then let's go to the cross and trust Jesus to do the rest.

Jesus is King!

P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?

Question for today: Do I embrace the cross as my door to freedom?