Bible reading plan Bible reading plan

Walls of our Hearts

04 June 2023

By Julia Post

 

We have some absolutely life-changing passages of scripture to read this week.  As we begin with the amazing love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, how could I not ponder these words together with you as a starting off point for our study and discussion in these next few days?  Heaven knows I have not perfected this subject, but my oh my is there so much to talk about in regards to these powerful statements.

 

Start this week by reading 1 Corinthians 13 in multiple translations and paraphrases.  There are so many nuances to gain through these multiple perspectives.  If you haven’t tried memorising scripture, write out these scriptures and give it a go this week.

 

The glorious thing about 1 Cor 13 is that no matter where you are in life, you can find yourself in a scripture here.  This subject of ‘love’ is a daily washing, renewing and journey that no one “arrives” at in this life.

 

Another interesting nuance about love is how subjective it is to each person’s own heart.  Human love feels so similar to Agape love - until it’s not.  So how do you really know?  You can’t always tell from the outside if someone is walking in love.  Neither can you (or should you) judge the inward motives of another person’s heart.  Proverbs 16:2 NIV says, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.”

 

No one else can assess you.  Most people can’t just walk up to you and tell you that you aren’t walking in love.  That would take you right out of 1 Cor 13 and straight into chapter 14, having to now get your heart right by praying in the spirit, ha!  The responsibility for self-examination remains solely in our own yielding to the Holy Spirit.

 

So how can we honestly examine ourselves?  If we are unable to assess ourselves accurately, we create hazardous blind spots in our lives, and these world-changing verses on love are useless to us.

 

2 Cor 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.”  The AMP says, “…Test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves (not me!)”

 

Are you showing the proper fruit?  Or are you trying to test and prove others instead of yourself?

 

How can we tell if we are really walking in love in a situation?  What is the “tell”?  Most situations requiring “walking in love” involve two (or more) parties that both feel rather justified in their sides.  So what happens when everyone involved is doing everything they know to walk in love, but the impasse remains?

 

I was involved in a small-scale “road rage” situation recently.  Someone stopped their car when driving by me, as they felt the need to confront me with the truth of traffic laws - in the middle of the road.  I stood in pure astonishment that someone could feel so blindly justified in their cause that they would leave their car in the street to come and tell me off. In the midst of the accusations, I could tell they felt completely in the right.  It’s strange to see someone cross the road to pull a splinter out of a stranger’s eye, while driving around with a giant a log in their own.  They are unable to see life through the correct lens.” (Matt 7:3-5)

 

Prov 26:12 reads, “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

 

Throughout history, wars have been fought in the name of Christ.  People have hurt others and themselves in the name of Christ.  People have convinced themselves that they are doing the right thing for God, harbouring His righteous causes.  But in reality, they are very far from Him.  I’ve known church people who, in the name of Christ, write letters to tell others what they are doing wrong.  Blinded by self-justification, they walk in the opposite of love in the name of love.

 

1 Corinthians 8:1-3 NLT says, “Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.

 

There were Christians on both sides of a divisive issue of the day, all really believing they were walking in love - but not all were.  So, how do we know the difference?

 

First, let the Word do the weighing.  Heb 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

 

1 Cor 8:1 says, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.  But the man who loves God is known by God.”

 

How do we check that tendency for self-righteousness in our flesh?  To think we are on the side of God when we are not?  How do we gain a life that is truly being lived for God so that He stands with us, right there beside us?  How do we live where He is holding our arms, our hands, and our lives instead of gaping in horror as we unjustly use His Name or claim Him in causes that aren’t His?

 

We don’t rely on our knowledge.   We get as close to humility as we can get.

 

Humility works hand in hand with love (Ephesians 4:2).  Have a look at these scriptures: 1 Cor 8:1; Isaiah 64:6; Proverbs 22:4; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Matt 11:29; Proverbs 37:11; Matt 18:4.

 

Love working with humility will produce the sweetest smelling fruit of honour, wisdom, life, joy, prosperity - and that’s how you know. That’s the check. The tell.

 

There’s an examination I would like us to do this week - it’s the examination of a mature heart that knows the laws, scriptures, right ways and right things to do, but balances that knowledge with humility and love.  How are your scales?  Only you and the Holy Spirit truly know.  Will you let Him be honest with you this week?

 

We all have the tendency to build the castles of our hearts, to stand behind the walls of our own good intentions and self-righteousness.  We follow rules, keep times, do the right things, feel strong in our works.  We get years into this Christian life and start to feel pride in the “knowledge” we’ve built in the name of Christ.  If we are not careful, we can put our trust in this knowledge and forgo the law of love and humility.

 

The truth is love is the only building material that will stand.

 

Prov 16:25 says that “Some people think they are doing right, but in the end it leads to death.”

 

You can hurt yourself and your destiny by not dividing this word of truth correctly.  Don’t just read this word this week and walk away from it thinking you’ve got it, when all you have is a knowledge that will puff up pride.

 

One question I’d ask is, if Jesus asked you to do the very thing you don’t want to do right now, would you do it?  And how would you do it?

 

Humble yourselves to the operating table of the Holy Spirit as you meditate on love this week.  Your calling is on the line.  Your heavenly rewards are on the line.  Destinies that could be impacted by your obedience and willingness to submit to the Word in this matter are on the line.

 

Walk in love joined with humility and you will see the sweetest smelling fruit growing in the garden of life God has for you.