Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

08/08/2018

Randall Caselman

 

Hearts In His Image

 

  “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1.26a). What an interesting verse! We may not know all that this means, but we do know that we have the ability to think, we have consciousness, and a conscience. We can know right from wrong and that knowledge impacts our conscience. For instance…

 

  Our relationship with God and others is a result of a heart condition, a result of how we think. Solomon said, “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23.7). Jesus said: ”For out of the heart comes the issues of life. The good man does good because of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man does evil because that’s what is in his heart. For where your treasure is, there is your heart also.” (Luke 6.45 Matthew 6.21).

 

  The Biblical heart is a comprehensive term for our whole personality. It’s where we think, desire, and understand. The heart contains our will; it's the seat of consciousness, understanding; it’s where decisions are made; where approval or guilt is announced. The heart is the authentic you and me. No wonder Scripture speaks of “God searching for good hearts and that He meets us and lives within our hearts.” (1 Samuel 16.7 & Romans 5.5).

 

  It's interesting to note that attitudes of the heart have direction: We are to love God, vertically, with all our heart.We are to love our neighbor, horizontally, as ourselves (Luke 10.27). In our creation verse, God said let Us, speaking to the Spirit and to His Son, Jesus. Then it was Paul who admonished that we are to have a Jesus heart; we are to conform to His image (Heart). Philippians 2.5, Romans 8.29, and Colossians 3.10. If we are to have a Jesus heart, mind, disposition, personality, image, what does that look like?

 

  We're to love God first and foremost, with all our heart. At the Temple, age twelve, Jesus was about the Father’s business. In the Sermon on the Mount, He contended that He had come to fulfill the Law, to keep it perfectly, to seek first His Father’s kingdom and it’s righteousness. In the Garden it was “Not My will, but Thine be done.” Can we with integrity sing “Have Thine Own Way, Lord?” Having a Jesus heart is loving God, giving Him the right place in our life.

 

  Secondly, we are to have a genuine love for others. Jesus reached out to others, touched people, because he loved them. Do we love others? Are we “doing good to all men especially those in the household of God?” Do we understand that serving others is serving the One who created us? Do we have a Jesus heart?

 

  Jesus accepted people where they were. Jesus didn’t demand a certain degree of righteousness before He would: Love them, talk with them, touch them, help them, die for them. Mark chapter two records Jesus having dinner at Matthew Levi’s house. Jesus is eating with publicans and sinners. Then, the first thing we know, Matthew becomes a disciple. Indeed, “While we were yet sinners, Jesus invites us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”(Matthew 11.28-30). “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5.8).

 

  Like that of Jesus, our heart is seen in forgiveness and affirmation. John chapter eight is a narrative of forgiveness. A woman is taken in adultery, but Jesus loved her, affirmed her need for forgiveness, and a changed lifestyle. Question!... Are we quick to name the sin of others, or are we, like Jesus, demonstrating a heart of forgiveness and affirmation? God help us to have a heart that looks for the good in others before we start pointing to their sin. Amen?

 

  We are to have a heart of inclusion. We've gotta ask ourselves, are we calling sinners into our fellowship, or are we striving to exclude as many people as possible from our church? These two mentalities, these two hearts, are exemplified in First Corinthians 6.9-11:“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (Read closely)... And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6.9-11). Folk, self-righteousness is a sin. Jesus told of two men who went to pray: One was arrogant in his own self-righteousness; he was filled with his own goodness. The other bowed his head in humility saying ‘Lord be merciful to me a sinner.’ Jesus said one went home justified (Luke 18. 10-14). Where is our heart, proud in our own goodness, or seeing ourselves as the sinner we were and are? We are all sinners - Guilty or Justified.

 

  God, form us into Your image, Your likeness, Give us a Jesus heart.

 

—Randall Caselman