Heart Matters - Luke 20:45-47 NIV
“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4 NIV
This happened a lot with Jesus. The heart mattered to him. Intentions counted. The inside, honest, not-for-show, desires matters to Jesus.
If the heart ______________ then the heart should _____________ .
7 Ways The Heart Matters:
#1 - When I ___________ to the Lord.
“This poor widow has put in more than all the others.” Luke 21:3 NIV
Did she - in fact - put in more than all the others? Quantifiably, NO! Only two very small copper coins. Compared to all the rest, she put in the least in absolute amount. That’s what we usually think about. The amount. A mathematical, statistical, spendable currency.
That’s not the way Jesus looked at it. It wasn’t the absolute amount that mattered but the percentage of what she had that mattered. She put in it all! Others put in a portion from their wealth. She put in ALL from her poverty.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV
This isn’t a budgeting matter. This is a heart matter. Not accounting, but trusting. Not a have-to, but a get-to. Not dollars & cents, but Spirit sense.
#2 - When I ______________ a friend / mate / partner.
So much of attraction is physical for us. Outward appearance. But not for God.
“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
The Bachelor is one of today’s most popular reality TV shows. Based on this outward, physical attraction. 5 days before Christmas, 1965, a TV game show came out (that if you think about it) was much more of God’s idea of attraction: The Dating Game. The one choosing could ask questions of 3 people, but couldn’t see them. Could only ask questions.
How about you now? Is the heart of someone more important to you than their outward physical appearance? Would God choose them for you? Can you pray with them? Go to church with them? Do they encourage your faith in Christ? How do they set an example for you?
#3 - When I am ______________ by my friend / mate / partner.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.” Psalm 34:18 NCV
Because the heart matters so much to God - and you matter so much to Him! He is never so close to you as when you are brokenhearted. It is especially when you feel betrayed and used and discouraged and unloved that God wants to wrap His arms around you the most and show you His never-ending, always-depending love. Turn to God then! Only two other choices and neither good. #1 Homebound - just stay in, give up on relationships; #2 Rebound - hook up with the next person who comes along, whether they’re right or not.
#4 - When I _________ for other people (and wonder what to say).
“You know what is in everyone’s heart. So from your home in heaven answer their prayers, according to the way they live and what is in their hearts.” 1 Kings 8:39 CEV
How do you pray for someone when you don’t feel particularly inclined to their problem. “They brought it on themselves.” Judgmental. Do I really want to go before God with an unmerciful attitude? He also knows all of my mistakes, sins, habits. How do I maintain ‘But for the grace of God there go I?’ Ask God for His wisdom, for His best, for His insights!
#5 - When I ____________ God’s plan for my future.
What is the condition of my heart when my future is in doubt? Troubled! Worried!
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1 NASB
There is a reason for Jesus saying this. The two are opposites. The more I believe in God and Jesus, the less I will be troubled. A troubled heart expresses itself in worry. Like the engine trouble light on your dash. Something is wrong. Better do something about it! But worry is like spinning your wheels without going anywhere. Sometimes it’s hard to make yourself just “believe in God.” Proverbs gives the “heart answer!”
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 NCV
Two things to do. (1) Trust. But not just a little bit. Not half-hearted trust. “With all your heart.” Faith is never a majority percentage proposition. It’s all or nothing! (2) “Don’t depend on your own understanding.” Doesn’t mean to not think. God gave us a brain. Our unique advantage. He expects us to use our brains. We need to think. 2a - “Don’t depend” means don’t fully lean upon. Don’t make your “trusting” dependent upon your “understanding,” because you’ll never understand everything. That’s where faith comes in. 2b - our understanding is flawed. God knows all. We don’t. Leave room for possibility that God knows something you don’t.
#6 - When I am ___________ by God’s results for my present.
We all end up at a place we didn’t intend to be. Not everything is in our control. Bad news. Health. Injury. Job loss. Disappointment. Betrayal. Weather disaster. Death of a loved one.
“The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NIV
Turn to God’s peace. He promises it for us. And not just as some weak substitute feeling to replace the hurt. Nothing so fake. What is the verb? Peace of God guards our hearts! In the midst of the hurt, the emotions, the feelings of loss, God’s peace guards us! We need only ask (v.6).
#7 - When I ____________ my sins. We cannot be our own judge.
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” Proverbs 21:2 ESV
Ask God to reveal our sins to us. Then ask him to clean and renew:
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 NIV