3 Words in 1
Do You Love Me… TRULY?
When we love someone, we will go to great lengths to demonstrate that love. This demonstration is an outward manifestation of what is on the inside and it is through our actions that our love is made known. We hope that the intended recipient notices these intentional acts and recognizes the heart behind them.
Yet even still as we strive there is room for misinterpretation and even the chance that our efforts will be overlooked altogether and therefore be for naught. This outward manifestation, at least in part, is about revealing what is true on the inside. If nothing were done, the one for which we have such great affection may never even know.
This is not the case with Jesus. He notices not just our outward actions but the motives of our hearts. He readily recognizes the difference between playacting and sincerity. We need say or do nothing for Him to fully recognize our affections or lack thereof. So when we demonstrate our love for Jesus it does not come out of the same need to manifest outwardly what is on the inside so that it may be recognized.
He already knows our hearts. In fact He knows them better than we do ourselves. No matter what we demonstrate outwardly, He knows us inwardly. There is no danger of Him overlooking our love or misinterpreting its outward appearance.
This does not mean we should curtail our love offerings. In fact, with this understanding we should be moved to pour them out all that much more. We are free to express our love to the Lover of our souls knowing He will always understand our expressions, no matter how awkward of clumsy they may be.
Now to those who so meticulously demonstrate outwardly that which is not on the inside this is bad news. Jesus knows a play actor when He sees on and His not impressed. So while men may observe and interpret wrongly, Jesus sees right through your religion.
If you do not surrender your heart to Him in the secret place, the result of your public space displays will be the only reward you will ever receive.
So hear His voice as He says,
“Welcome to all who genuinely respond to My love. Even if your demonstration of love is overlooked by men, I see and receive your authentic expressions.
Welcome to the clumsy and the socially awkward. Never will I misinterpret what you are trying to say or do. Your sincerity is as sweet to Me as the perfume of that ‘known sinner’ who poured it all on My feet. Never use what others may say as a gauge of the effectiveness of your love gifts. For even as the poor widow gave her last penny and was unnoticed by men’s eyes, I see and receive.
Now, to those who posture before men but your hearts are in fact dead and cold, I advise that you get real with Me before it is too late. Your righteousness is no better than filthy rags in My sight and they can never compensate for what is lacking in your heart.”
In meditating on this word, I am drawn to Jesus’ words in Revelation 3:1-2.
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,
‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.”
In His personal note to the church in Sardis He exposes what others had not seen. While they noted the great works, apparently demonstrating their deep and abiding love for Him, Jesus knew the truth and He let the whole world know.
Our religious services mean nothing to Him. Our acts of charity do not impress Him. If these outward expressions are not matched with genuine passion they are putrid in His sight. Furthermore, after putting His finder to the spiritual pulse of these, the Great Physician declares them DEAD.
In the same way the Pharisees and Sadducees were experts at demonstrating an outward persona even as they lacked all signs of life inwardly. To make up for their lack of affection towards God they turned to the law to compensate. Yet even their apparent meticulous observance here was only for show. They were the people leasers of people pleasers but they failed to please God.
Even as I write these words I can feel God’s compassion for these. “If only they would have surrendered their whole hearts to Me,” He says, “I would have been able to do My work in and through them.”
The Great Physician has you on the examination table today. Only what He is doing will surprise you. He is not examining what is within you based on your outward appearance.
He is examining what you manifest outwardly based on what you hold true in your heart. Are you a whitewashed tomb full of dead man’s bones? Are you openly condemning that wary sinner who is on their knees crying out before God? Will then you also be condemned before all mankind?
All the accolades of man’s praises cannot compare to six simple words spoken by the LORD Jesus.
“Well done good and faithful servant!”
Spark into FIRE!
Not every spark becomes a roaring fire. In fact, most grow cold only seconds after they are born.
God Himself provides the spark. It is our responsibility to place it carefully into the tinder of our hearts. Has God’s spark within you matured into a roaring fire or has it grown cold and died?
If you find that you are cold and without life, first prepare your heart for Him then ask for His spark to set you on fire.
Comparisons and Contrasts
The dandelion’s roots grow quickly but not deeply.
The oak tree’s roots grow slowly but draw nourishment from the deep soil.
The dandelion shoots up from the ground and matures in a matter of days.
The oak tree begins as a small seedling that requires years to mature.
A dandelion can be plucked with two fingers.
A mature oak tree is a force to be reckoned with.
The dandelion lasts for but a season.
An oak tree remains for hundreds of years.
“I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments,” Exodus 20:5-6.
~ Mitch Salmon