Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 2 Corinthians 5:11-15(NLT)
A popular saying is that you should always follow your heart. And, for those who want to support what they want that to mean, you can always find Scripture to back it up.
Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Luke 12:34(NLT)
The problem with that is Scripture can also be used to show the other side of the argument:
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9(NLT)
So, do you follow your heart, or avoid it like the plague?
Paul understood his calling to follow Christ was a lifetime battle for the souls of men and women. He also understood that God’s calling could make him look like a crazy fool or a hero. But that was all in other people’s perception; for Paul, the only thing that mattered was the love of Christ that urged him on, directing him.
Paul said it was Christ’s love that controlled him; he walked with Christ, voluntarily became the slave of Christ, and chose to leave everything for the joy of serving Christ. And therein we find the truth of Scripture that cautions each of us against trusting our own hearts in favor of following the heart of Christ.
An example of this would be in marriage or family. I have a wonderful Christian wife, and three grown children with families of their own. My heart’s treasure is right in front of me whenever I think of them. When it comes to my time, treasure or talents, there’s no competition – I would choose them over you any day of the week. It’s not that you’re not a person of worth; it’s just that they are my heart’s love.
But there is a greater love that controls me.
Life’s choices are many and ever before us. In choosing to follow Christ I have decided to place Him on the throne of my heart. And that allegiance supersedes everything, wife, relatives, children and friends.
If someone in my circle of acquaintances, family or neighbors chooses against Christ, that does not mean I would love that person less; indeed, as Christ loved, I would continue to love and perhaps reach out more sympathetically in an attempt to draw them back.
But, this “love that controls” me cannot control others, nor make their final choices. In the end, the same freedom in which Christ has offered his love and acceptance to us if we come to him is that very same freedom that permits us to walk away from him.
We can follow the leader…or not!
Which leads to a sad statement we read in the prophet Amos:
Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? Amos 3:3(NLT)
If I am following Christ and another person follows his own heart, choosing to reject Christ, the two directions will inevitably take us apart.
And that is the pain of the sword Christ warned us he came to bring, where households would be divided.
Got a division in the house? Reach out with the love of Christ. While there is breath there is still hope.