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Listen to me. Never let anxiety enter your hearts. ~ Jesus (Luke 12:22 TPT)

How do you guard your heart?

As I scanned through Luke 12 this morning, I was struck by how many times in this address, or this collection of addresses, Jesus gave instruction on what I would consider emotional control, or emotional intelligence.

The chapter starts with,

Don’t fear those who may want to take your life, but nothing more. (Luke 12:4 TPT)

Followed closely with,

The one you must fear is God (5)

A few paragraphs later we have,

Don’t worry about defending yourselves or be concerned about hot to answer their accusations. (11)

Next Jesus tells them,

Be alert and guard your heart from greed and always wishing for what you don’t have. (15)

Still further down the page,

Never let anxiety enter your hearts. Never worry about any of your needs, such as food or clothing (22)

And finally,

Don’t let worry enter your life. (29)

So with all that, I ask you, whose in charge of your emotions?

I know hormones and sleep and health (or lack there of) all play into your emotional state. I know there are chemical tricks your body can play on you, and sometimes the forces that would attack your peace are immense.

That’s why we must be super vigilant in the guarding of our hearts.

That’s why it’s imperative to stay in God’s word.

That’s why it’s important to stay in fellowship with folks who will stand with you and help you fight these external enemies.

I’m not saying “suck it up” and “stoic” your way though emotional valleys. There are things that are out of our control. I get that.

But we must do our part.

If you find certain activities bring you down, or draw you into lust, or greed, or anxiety, follow Solomon’s advise.

Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. - Proverbs 4:15 NASB

In the same way we must guard against the feeling of condemnation. Don’t let any outside influence (including this post) wiggle it’s way into a place of condemning you. If you are in Christ condemnation can only come from the mouth of the liar.

Today, make choices that guard your heart.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by.

Shine where you’re screwed in.

Ben

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Christ And The Rich Young Ruler - Heinrich Hofmann

 

We've been poking around in the story of the rich young ruler all week, and the question comes to mind:

Why didn’t Jesus simply ask this wealthy man to give what was prescribed by the law?

I mean, Jesus took him to the law when the man asked how to inherit eternal life. Why not just walk him through all the offerings required throughout the Jewish year. I am told if you look at it legalistically it comes to somewhere around a third of your income in the various tithes and required offerings.

This is the heart of the story, if the truth be told.

Jesus was not looking for him to keep the law. He was not looking to add a rich giver to his entourage. In fact, in the end we find that Jesus invited him to first become poor, and then follow Him.

Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." - Matthew 19:21

This has been rolling around in my spirit all week, and I am sure I will be back to it again, but for today I have this short message.

God is not looking for a 10th of you – not a tenth of your income, not a half hour of you quiet time, not a segment of your social media, not one day a week.

Our Father wants all of you.

All your money.
All your time.
All your talent.
All your attention.

There – I said it. That’s the message of the rich young ruler.

Lord, help me to live fully abandon to your will and your way.

Nora and PapaThanks for stopping by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

If you have not read the "What Am I Lacking?" a first person account of this encounter, check it out - I think it will help.

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Christ And The Rich Young Ruler - Heinrich Hofmann

Though I said yesterday that Life is in knowing God not following lists of laws, Jesus actually gives this rich young ruler a list.

To today we look at the list – well – we compare lists and observe.

Matthew’s list:

You shall not commit murder;
You shall not commit adultery;
You shall not steal;
You shall not bear false witness;
Your father and mother; and
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 19:18-19

Only Matthew adds this last one, love your neighbor.

Luke’s list matches Matthew’s and Mark adds “Do not defraud.”

Let’s do a bit of gleaning.

Most of the above commandments are direct quotes from what we call the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.

Though we think of “love your neighbor as yourself” as a New Testament command, Jesus was quoting Leviticus 19:18 when He offered this advise.

If, in fact, Jesus was leading this young man to the Ten Commandments, there are a few glaring omissions. OK – that’s pretty obvious since there are only five of the ten on His list.

As you may know, the Ten Commandments come in two sections. The first four are about your love for God – which Jesus sums up with His “greatest command:”

And you shall love the lord your god with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. - Mark 12:30

These four primary commands do not come out directly in this conversation, unless you see that in calling Jesus ‘Good Master’ the young man is acknowledging Him as God. In any case, Jesus does not list the top four.

But the other obvious omission is the sixth, or last, man-ward commandment.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. - Exodus 20:17

Did Jesus just forget this last of the Ten Commandments, or was He using this omission for emphasis, hoping to draw this young man to the truth our Lord already knew?

The man’s problem was covetousness. He loved his stuff. As we find out in the end it was not so much that he had stuff, but it had him. The hold his stuff had on him was stronger than his desire for life, and his willingness to follow Jesus.

Covetousness and Idolatry

I have always been intrigued by Paul’s linking of covetousness and idolatry.

For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. - Ephesians 5:5 NASB

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, (covetousness, NKJV) which amounts to idolatry. - Colossians 3:5 NASB

As you walk in idolatry – basically you are breaking the first commandment – Have no other gods. Paul takes his first century Sharpie and draws a line from the last commandment to the first. It is a beautiful reminder of the fact that acting against your neighbor is also acting against the Father. The law is as James says ONE – when you break one, you are guilty of all. Like a sheet of glass, broken is broken.

Covetousness is dissatisfaction with what God has provided in your life. A pre-occupation with gathering of stuff, or an eye to “upgrade” the people in your life says to our Father, You are not my provider. Keeping up with the Jones – I want what they have – is idolatry.

Does this mean all ambition is wrong, that we should not want to better ourselves? I guess that depends on what 'better' means to you. Is your ambition to grow in Christ-likeness and your knowledge of Him, or to climb some man-made ladder – some Tower of Babel – to reach new heights in mans eyes - or your own eyes for that matter.

In the end it comes right back to where we were yesterday. Eternal life is summed up in knowing the Father and His Son Jesus (John 17:3) and as life spirals into acquisition of stuff, it moves further and further from the center – Him.

Most ‘stuff’ is not bad in itself, it just makes a lousy god. [Tweet this]

Lord, teach me to be satisfied with the gifts that come from your generous hand.

Nora and PapaThanks for stopping by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

If you have not read the "What Am I Lacking?" a first person account of this encounter, check it out - I think it will help.

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