Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Christa's thoughts about our human heart


Matters of the Heart
A devotional by Christa MacDonald

He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” –Mark 7:20-23 (NIV)

One of the biggest fallacies in modern thinking is the idea that human beings are basically good and that when someone does wrong, it’s because they were taught to do so or influenced somehow. “He was a good kid until he started hanging around the wrong people.” 

While it’s true that friends can influence each other to do terrible things, that’s not the whole truth. Evil exists. I often say that anyone who doubts original sin needs to spend time with toddlers. They’re terrible people: selfish, mean, and hot-tempered. They have to be taught to be nice. How many times do you hear a mom correcting her children to be kind, don’t tease your sister, and don’t harass the cat.

In the verse above Jesus has just been explaining that it’s not the food we eat that makes us unclean, it’s our hearts. Most of us go through life without committing any of the big sins in deed, but boy, if someone could read our thoughts … It’s tempting to think that it’s the world that influences us to do wrong. But this is a complete misunderstanding of sin and the fall. It’s in us to do wrong. But for the Grace of God, we are all capable of great evil. It’s why we so desperately need Jesus.

The world is full of temptations and bad influences. While these may facilitate our sin, maybe even amplify our sins into ones of deed and not of thought, they are not the source. Our hearts are. What can we do? Face the fact that the sin is in you, repent, put your faith in the saving Grace of Jesus Christ and lean on Him for the strength to turn from the path you are on and walk in the light.

As parents, we often see our children struggle with sin and we focus on the temptations we see leading them astray. It’s hard not to call out their video games, friends, or social media for encouraging their sinful behavior, but we need to get to the source, their heart. 

Jesus met people where they were, led them to feel the conviction of their sin, and then forgave them. Our kids, our families, our friends, and our communities need to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We all need to resist the distractions our culture offers. These are targets that are tangential. We need to reach hearts.

The Bible clearly tells us our primary work is spreading the Gospel. Christ-followers need to be actively sharing the Gospel in our communities, in our circle of friends. That doesn’t mean you have to find a street corner and start preaching or handing out tracts. Ask God in your prayer time, how you can actively share the Gospel in your day to day life then b
e open to the Holy Spirit leading you to act or to speak. 

We don’t have to save the world. 

We need to tell the world of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

~*~
Author Bio:
Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world, love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.

She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at www.christamacdonald.com.

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