The Only Sacrifice
Jeremiah 17:9,10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearnace, but the Lord looks on the heart.
Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
Luke 16:15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires
1 Timothy 1.5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
The heart is the center of life, both physical and spiritual. If your heart physically stops, it generally needs to receive a stimulus to get it beating and thus forcing the blood through its vessels, lungs, and throughout your body, both giving life, and returning to the lungs to help usher out the carbon dioxide and to take in the important oxygen to renourish all the organs and cells. A busy little, vital pump!
Yet, the heart drives much of our longings and desires. We say ‘my heart is broken’ with a significant loss of person, pet, but it could be broken with loss of home, war, health and more. Our minds and hearts work closely together to determine what is important to us. And oftentimes, we deem money, material things, education, career, power and all as significantly important, above the most vital in the world, which is God. He gave us all–everything we can see, smell, touch, hear and taste originated with Him. Of course, chefs have experimented with different tastes–but He created the herbs and gave different persons the skills to design the herbs with various products to create dishes. He designed all the beauty we see–sky, lands, oceans, rivers, mountains and birds, all the animals, and so forth. Our lives are so full of beauty.
He created our intricate eyes, ears, and so forth to enjoy His lavish creation. Many do; and many take it for granted. To those who are not over enthralled, it is part of their life’s expectation–it’s always been there for them to enjoy, so now rather than be grateful, it is just a normal part of life, nothing particularly important. But for those who DO appreciate the vast world He created, even if they do not acknowledge His creation and Him as Creator, they appreciate the beauty. But how He loves to hear the words and awe of appreciation from us. It’s like delivering that first two-wheeler bicycle to a waiting child anxious to have the first bike, to learn to ride, to feel that wind across your face, and experience that sense of freedom and independence. I’m guessing God is just that happy and excited with our praise of His creation as that child receiving that bicycle.
But there is much to our hearts and how we govern them. Our hearts can be spoiled wanting more and more. Maybe it’s a desire for more goods, but God wants our hearts on Him and who He is and how He has blessed us, and continues to bless us daily. If our hearts are not attuned to Him, then there is selfishness within us. God wants us to become more like Him, more like Jesus–kind, loving, gentle, good, and patient; and of course, once we love and accept Jesus as our Savior, then we invite the Holy Spirit to live within us, and He helps us develop and grow further into the fruit of His spirit–love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Those attributes are what God wants us to become, to be more like the members of the trinity, and less of our selfish, self-serving selves.
It is at times difficult for me to always try to have the heart God wants me to have, rather than the selfish one that I have grown into over the years. I can see improvements, but I have such slow growth. And like the child eagerly waiting for that bike and the freedom to speed around on it, I want my heart to be right ‘right away, quick!’ But either my growth is slow because I have to repeat lessons several times before I get it right, or He wants me to have a slow process; or the slowness makes me more aware of those who surround me who are so much further ahead and helps me strive to be better just seeing and experiencing their example of living life as better examples for me. (And yes, I can repeat that each of us have a different journey, but I still want my end results to be better, faster, and more like so many others rather than the slow trudging progression of mine. I do RECOGNIZE I am not to compare. . .but it is another one of those sins I am still dealing with. ) There are so many people in my life I admire for their hearts.
God does not want us to kill and sacrifice animals or anything repugnant like that. I believe He didn’t want just the act of sacrificing, but wanted the people to be see how that death of an innocent animal should impact our conscience on a visceral level.
Anyway, He wants our repentant hearts–truly sorry, amazed at our negative and sinful lives have been and He wants to see us truly grieve the fact we have sinned and therefore hurt our Creator, the Son and Savior, and the Holy Spirit. We cannot change our hearts until God gets ahold of them. . .but we have to WILLINGLY turn them over to Him. We have to choose to let Him change our hearts, confess sins and truly want to avoid sinning (which we are not totally successful at). Even though we desire to follow Him, we still are tempted by things we may enjoy or have enjoyed and are enticed to, at times , to disobey.
Or it might not be a purposeful tempting, but a disagreement breaks out and escalates causing you to lose your temper, possibly saying things that hurt, or are unkind, or untrue. and then you might compound your heart issue by gossiping about the argument to others. We need to guard our hearts and strive toward what God wants us to become. Our hearts find things we think we need or desire and may push for us to acquire that. But we need to be reminded of our commitment to follow God to the best of our ability, not give in to some of our desires.
We will sin and need to repent and ask for forgiveness until He calls us home, however our goal should be to try to avoid falling into the pits that cause us multiple sins–anger, being tempted and giving in, being unkind and unloving, thinking and judging something about others, and certainly gossiping.
God sees all; and He is pleased, not when we fall into sin, but when we catch it and immediately truly repent and confess. He wants our true heart–that is the only sacrifice. We have to give up our desires and sinful natures to transform into a person like Christ; which we will never attain, but we walk toward that goal always.
Thank You, Lord for your patience during this journey of transforming my heart. I am so glad I do not have to sacrifice animals for my disobedience, and that I get to chat with You, cry with You, repent with You, and You forgive me, and set me back on my path, and I am relieved to have your forgiveness. What a wonderful journey this has been for me and ‘mybellaviews’.
ZINGERS: Repentance means not only a heart broken for sin, but from sin. To grieve over sin is one thing; to repent is another.