Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Condition of The Heart

Scripture Texts: Mark 10:1-31; Proverbs 2

Here in Mark 10 we find some of the "hard teachings" of Jesus. Hard because they are both difficult to live out and difficult to hear. Still we are left with these words and the opportunity to wrestle with them. While we find teachings about divorce, wealth and being childlike, it is possible the real hard teaching is much deeper.

In each of the areas Jesus lifts up the focus is on the condition of the heart of a person. Moses allowed the people to divorce because of their hard hearts. The rich young man may have had financial wealth, he might have also through he had religious wealth because he followed all the commandments. Yet Jesus highlights he is still lacking, a heart that is poor in spirit that realizes its need for God, like the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. Welcoming the children was a matter of the heart as well.

Jesus seemed more concerned with the condition of a persons heart than the results of their actions. Often we find ourselves living less than the full life God desires for us because the condition of our heart is not at a place that is ready to receive the fullness of God.

This passage has an obvious connection to a blog about marriage. Divorce is a very real part of the human experience especially now that over half of the marriages in our world end in divorce. We want to be careful in how this idea gets talked about because people find themselves in divorce for all kinds of reasons. A significant number of people ended up being divorced because their partner decided to walk away from the marriage. Still the "hard teaching" of Jesus remains. The intention of God was not to have divorce be a part of the equation, yet it became part because of hardness of heart.

No one enters into marriage planning on divorce. However there are some intentional decisions that can be made to help reduce the possibilities. For us we decided before our wedding day that for us divorce was not an option. This means when we disagree, when we struggle, there is a trust in our relationship that we are both committed to this for the long haul. This decision needs to be intentionally reinforced in tangible ways. We continue to remind each other in the hard times and the good times, that we are committed to this marriage and walking away is not an option.

This brings me to the matter of the heart. Both of us have to have our hearts in the right condition for this to work. If we do not tend to our hearts, our best intentions can be laid aside. We must do things that help keep our hearts open, soft and pliable to God and each other. It is our hope that the time you invest in reading this blog is part of that work. Further, if you are married and reading this blog, please consider reading it with your spouse as a devotional. Through it all may all of us be intentional about the condition of our heart.

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