The thing is, the mirror doesn’t always tell the whole truth. When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Aren’t I supposed to see the beautiful and amazing work of His hands? That I am beautiful and wonderfully made (Psalm 139: 14)?!! But what if, I mean what if the mirror didn’t tell the whole truth? Because you see, the mirror may show me what I look like on the outside, but why doesn’t it ever show me the condition or health of my soul? or of my heart? Why I am so negligent of my heart and soul? What if there was a mirror that showed what’s inside of your heart and soul? Would you have the courage to look in that mirror? Perhaps, would you like what you see?
But what if I told you that we have that kind of mirror? A mirror that allows us to see the health of our soul and heart… And what’s that mirror, you ask? The Bible. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” Hebrews 4:12
Look around or crack open the Bible and it won’t take long until you see how wicked we are as human beings. The Bible showed me a part of me that I didn’t want to see, a part of me that I never knew existed. And you might never see the ugliness of people’s sin until you become close to them, because what people see is what we show them and the magnificent work of His hands. Simply put, they only see our looks, but they rarely see or in some cases they never see our sin or some of the ugliness of our inside. The people who have the front row seat of the ugliness of our sin are our family and our really good friends.
Can you kindly join me? In reading these next couple verses slowly, so that they might sink in? Mark 7:14-23
And He called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, His disciples asked him about the parable. And He said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And He said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
I prayed a dangerous prayer that goes like this “Lord, bare my soul and show me anything in me that You don’t like and that breaks Your heart”.
Don’t get me wrong, I am so glad I prayed that prayer, but my point is, I never anticipated what would come next. Why do we always assume that we are “good people”? The only time, you think that “I am good guy/ I am good girl” is only when you consciously/unconsciously compare yourself to the people who are worse than you!
Compare yourself to Jesus, and tell me if you still think you are a good person??
Since when do friends become our spiritual measure of comparison? God never said measure your spiritual maturity by comparing yourself to your neighbor and your friends. Clearly and boldly, He tells us “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:45
But how do we deal with the ugliness of our hearts? How do we make sure we spend more time taking good care of our soul?
Last time, we talked about repentance. But after we repented, now what?
There needs to be a pattern that fosters godly thoughts: 1. Memorize scripture. 2. Daily, spend some time in the Word.
I am pretty sure it’s not first time that God has told me over and over again to really spend some time memorizing scriptures. The thing about memorizing scriptures is: you kill two birds with one stone. Verses will help you through hard days, and they will help you set your mind on Christ. And when your mind is on Christ? Your mind and heart’s thoughts will be captive to obey Christ. Your soul and heart slowly and steadily become beautiful when you constantly gaze upon His glory. Ann Voskamp said it beautifully, “Time memorizing Scriptures is perhaps more important than quiet time — because when we fill our hearts with His Word, we can fill all our hours with His Word — and “quiet time” can then become all of our time.”
And besides that, don’t we all know that the Word is the best weapon against Satan and His schemes? The weapon that God-man used in the desert? If Jesus had to use the Word to fight Satan, who are we to think that we can resist his lies without His Word?
And hear me on this: Memorization is a discipline. It may take some time for you to make it a habit. I know that memorizing the Word is a discipline because I tried in the past for quite some time to do that and I succeeded for a while but because I didn’t discipline myself as I should have, I stopped.
As we are focusing on having a pure heart, we may want to start memorizing verses that talks about the purity of the heart.
I’m starting with this one, and if you can join? “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”. Psalm 51:10
After a week, we will choose another verse: “Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law”!. Psalm 119:29
After another week, you may choose another verse to memorize, so on and so fort?
David knew the power of memorizing scripture, so he wrote:“I have stored up Your Word in my heart, that I might NOT sin against You”. Psalm 119:11
Daily, spend some time in the Word.
This is really important. How else do I grow closer to Him, when I don’t spend time learning more and more about Him? The more time you spend in the Word, the more you fall in love with Jesus, and the more you hate sin.
I know sometimes we don’t have enough time to be in His word, but the truth is, we make time for what matters to us and what’s important. And we make excuses, when we don’t want to do something, right?
And you may not see changes after a day, but trust me when I say that changes will come. A personal testimony? I used to be so frustrated that I wasn’t “seeing any changes” in my life from daily reading the Bible, and I saw these words from a daily devotion of John Piper and it really changed my perspective about reading the Bible everyday. It said:
“So let’s give heed to Mr. Ryle and NEVER grow weary of the slow, steady, growth that comes from the daily, disciplined, increasing, love affair with reading the Bible.
“Do not think you are getting no good from the Bible, merely because you do not see that good day by day. The greatest effects are by no means those which make the most noise, and are most easily observed. The greatest effects are often silent, quiet, and hard to detect at the time they are being produced. Think of the influence of the moon upon the earth, and of the air upon the human lungs. Remember how silently the dew falls, and how imperceptibly the grass grows. There may be far more doing than you think in your should by your Bible-reading.” (J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion, 136)”.
Lord, we want to see You. We want to know You more and more. God, we are desperately praying for a pure heart and mind. We praying for a heart and mind that always gazes upon Your glory. Father God, gives us strength to be disciplined in memorizing scripture and reading the Bible. Give us strength to be all You want us to be. In the precious’ name of Jesus I pray!