Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

HEART 'e-VALUE-ations'

By Bessie Wilson

“The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Luke 16:14, 15

God knows our hearts! This can be either a comforting or a terrifying thought. Jesus first analyzed the Pharisees’ attitude (“You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men”) before He told them that God knew their hearts. Then he clarified it even more by saying that this attitude before men was a very poor standard because what men put a high value on was detestable in God’s sight.

What is highly valued among men? Perhaps by itemizing some of the things men value we will see that we have, in some cases, allowed the world to press us into its mold. However, we can, by His grace, stop this and instead be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Then we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1, 2

Financial success is highly esteemed among men. Is anything wrong with financial success? The Pharisees “loved money,” and Paul pointed out in 1 Timothy 6:10 that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” It is not money but the love of it which is detestable in God’s sight. Where would the work of God in evangelism be but for the faithful giving of God’s people? Some have the gift of managing money for the glory of God. CCM donors have kept this ministry going. It is when money manages men that it is detestable in God’s sight.

Judging by the average TV commercial, we would also have to list sex as highly valued among men. Whether it is a car, gum or clothing that is advertised, more often than not the word “sexy” is used or implied. Call-in shows devote much time to the subject of sex, and the private lives of people are discussed freely.

Men and women now are casual about illicit sex, treating sex as a right rather than a privilege. God has placed boundaries around sex so that we are not hurt by it. In the sanctity of marriage there should be safety.

Hosea 8:7 aptly describes our condition as we face the plague of AIDS. “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” Also in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

Fame is highly valued in society. Fame can be from politics, the arts, or theatrical success. We know how fleeting fame is in politics, for people are lauded one day and condemned the next. Fame in the theater and arts is dependent on the “trend-setters,” no matter how crude and revolting their practices. The many-times-married men and women are applauded as authorities on just about any subject. This is where the rot sets in and the decay pervades society. But remember, it is detestable in God’s sight.

God knows all hearts. “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5).

This led to the flood. What is His evaluation of our world today? Of your heart? Of mine?

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