I pray you are finding great joy as you continue to humble yourselves before the Lord and seek His face…as you crave the I AM!
During this time, I encourage you to continue to look for ways to reach out to those around you and point them to Jesus, and I pray your lives will increasingly be marked with the fruit of true fasting. [Ref. Isaiah 58]
As a church family, we have been blessed to see God at work among us. We’ve experienced His presence in worship. We’ve seen life change that comes through Jesus, and now we are setting aside food, time and other things to see Him do even more.
We’re chasing after Him. We’re saying in word and deed that we desire Him more than those things…that we long for Him more than other things. Jesus once said, “…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Luke 12:34] That means how we view, handle and talk about material things reveals a lot about our heart.
In our reading today, we get to see the hearts of a couple of people.
Having witnessed the power of Jesus in the resurrection of Lazarus, Mary kneels before her Lord and anoints His feet. Judas responds, and his comments reveal his twisted heart. John provides greater clarity with additional insight in verse 6. I still find it very interesting that someone could walk with Jesus, claim to be a follower of Him, but in the end not really be submitted to Him.
Throughout my life, I have encountered true followers of Jesus Christ who desire Him more than life itself and others who on the surface appear to be Christ followers but have not really given Him the throne of their hearts. One way to tell the difference is by the fruit in their life. In a few more chapters, we’ll hear Jesus say, “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” [John 15:5]
The fruit in Mary’s life was to live in a manner that showed how Jesus was more valuable than any earthly item including her hair and her own pride. That is why she could kneel before him and anoint Him like she did. Judas could have never done that…even with a bottle of cheap perfume.
Treasure reveals the heart.
Judas’ “treasure” revealed his heart, and the fruit of Mary’s actions revealed hers.
Like Mary, you may encounter people [religious and irreligious] who might seek to discourage you or discredit what God is doing in your life as you continue to lean into God. Don’t let that be a distraction. Follow the fruit. Seek out where God is working, and join Him there in that work no matter what others may think or say.
Keep pressing on.
April 9, 2014
you are right with Isaiah 58. that is the fast that He calls us to. to stop the pointing the finger at other people’s wickedness when we need to work ourselves on not paying back evil with evil, paying forward blessing instead. that gives me plenty to work on!!! 1 Peter tells us to be tenderhearted, kind, courteous and to overcome evil with good. that is what i am trying to focus on and praying over the list that He has given me to pray for. thank you for all of your encouragement. i won’t be offended if you don’t put this up as i have a bad habit of getting preachy i guess.
April 10, 2014
The fruit we bear in our lives comes out of our heart. So right, Shawn! And it’s so much about what we put into our spirits, our hearts, that determines what comes out the other side. Garbage in, garbage out. Jesus in, Jesus out. Mary had it figured out, and she didn’t even travel with Jesus for the three-and-a-half years of His public ministry. Judas was along for the whole ride, and he was clueless. Makes you want to pay more attention. Makes you want to spend more time with Jesus, too. Deb and I have already talked about revisiting our priorities in light of doing this fast and study. Thanks for pointing us to some real, meaningful life change! Carry on!