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Bible Ballistics: BBs #333 Lovest Thou Me More Than___???

 

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

As a word of encouragement on this Friday, I would like to draw our thoughts to the import of guarding our heart. The proverb warns us to “Keep thy heart” because it is the foundation of our life, and we live in a time of multitudinous distractions. And while many of these distractions appear to be “good” things, they have the ability to adversely affect our lives. There are so many seemingly good things that we can become involved in and passionate about, yet we must measure wisely the things that we allow into our lives, the things that we pursue. Even as Jesus asked Peter after the resurrection:

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” John 21:15

Jesus took time to restore Peter after his denial of Him. Jesus asked three times “do you love me?” and while Peter answered yes, each time, I imagine his mind was going back to his great failure. Yet Jesus walked him through this process, and called him to do the work that He had called him to, in love and newness. We can take heart in the restoration that Jesus brought to Peter, because we have all failed Him, and probably will again. Yet Jesus calls us to press on in a service to others that reflects the “love” which only Jesus, His presence and His power, through His precious Holy Spirit at work in us, can accomplish.

Jesus didn’t call him to work His way back, but to simply love Jesus, first and to serve others out of that love.

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5

Praise God for the gift of His love—His love that is imparted to us by His Holy Spirit when we are saved. This love “OF” God that transforms us from sinners to saints—love that is of Him, from Him, by Him, and through Him. The only “love” that transforms ‘hearts’ through the blood of Jesus and the salvation that HE bought at Calvary; the only ‘love’ that can change the world as He is reflected in our lives.

But we must remember that it’s not “doing” good works that saves us and pleases God, but is our loving Him that produces the works that are pleasing to God (See Eph. 2:8-10). Jesus rebuked the church for this very thing in the first of the seven letters to the churches in Revelation 2.

I know thy works,

and thy labour,

and thy patience,

and how thou canst not bear them

which are evil:

and thou hast tried them

which say they are apostles,

and are not,

and hast found them liars:

And hast borne,

and hast patience,

and for my name’s sake hast laboured,

and hast not fainted.

Nevertheless

I have somewhat against thee,

because thou hast left

thy first love.” Revelation 2:2-4

We must take ‘heart’ and guard our ‘heart’, “with all diligence” being aware of all the things that are vying for our love and devotion. We must examine those “good” things that are calling us, and be sure they are not taking the place of our love for, and devotion to Jesus. And if you’ll note, Jesus didn’t say that they had ‘lost’ their love, but that they had left it. I don’t think they had just cast it away, or rejected it in any way (Because Jesus commended their service but rebuked them for their deficient motives!) but they had been negligent to guard their hearts and while doing the right things, they had lost sight of the One whose love was and is the only way to accomplish God’s work! We must keep a watchful eye to our hearts and be sure that “good” things haven’t been creeping into the “best” place that belongs only to God The Father and God The Son. If we will but listen and give heed to the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can maintain the pure, single-minded love and devotion that Jesus alone is worthy of!

Won’t you join me in setting our hearts on our “first love”, JESUS? May we each examine our heart and see what is standing between Jesus and ‘me’? What will we answer when Jesus asks us, “lovest thou me more than these?” What is your “these”? I’d like to share one of my favorite hymns with you, may it speak to you as it has so often to me. May we see through HIS eyes!

Be Thou My Vision                 By Dallon Forgaill

Be Thou my Vision,

O Lord of my heart;


Naught be all else to me,

save that Thou art


Thou my best Thought,

by day or by night,


Waking or sleeping,

Thy presence my light.



 

Be Thou my Wisdom,

and Thou my true Word;


I ever with Thee

and Thou with me, Lord;


Thou my great Father,

I Thy true son;


Thou in me dwelling,

and I with Thee one.



 

Be Thou my battle Shield,

Sword for the fight;


Be Thou my Dignity,

Thou my Delight;


Thou my soul’s Shelter,

Thou my high Tower:


Raise Thou me heavenward,

O Power of my power.



 

Riches I heed not,

nor man’s empty praise,


Thou mine Inheritance,

now and always:


Thou and Thou only,

first in my heart,

High King of Heaven,

my Treasure Thou art.



 

High King of Heaven,

my victory won,


May I reach Heaven’s joys,

O bright Heaven’s Sun!


Heart of my own heart,

whatever befall,


Still be my Vision,

O Ruler of all.