By John Barnett
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23
Open with me to Mark 4:20 where Jesus explains that the Good Heart – Accepts the Word.
What does a heart look like that accepts the Word? How is a life lived that welcomes as its own Jesus Christ the Word of God? The Gospels capture six elements from the very lips of Jesus. Listen to Him. Accept His Word. Desire this depth of devotion, and welcome Him by giving yourself to Him.
In the Gospels we can trace Christ’s call to commitment. He states we can’t be His disciples unless we desire to evidence these characteristics. Here are ways that we evidence Christ as our Teacher, and that we are His Followers.
Hearts opened completely in love for Christ – that means we love Him MOST.
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).
In this verse, the word “hate” essentially has to do with a comparison of loves. Simply put, our love for God is to be so great that, in comparison, love for even the dearest of relations should seem as hatred. This is based upon His first and greatest commandment:
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37-38).
In both the good times and the bad, we will continually be confronted with whether we are going to obey Christ and His Word—or buckle under to pressures to compromise our faith and “go with the crowd.” Each opportunity to serve God represents this test: Who do we love most? If we do not give Christ the preeminence He deserves, He says that we are not worthy of Him (Col. 1:18; Matt. 10:37).
Loving God with an unrivaled love means that we will esteem nothing—family, friends, possessions, job, fame, power, pleasures, and especially ourselves—of more worth to us than He is. In so doing, we demonstrate His “worthship” to us by choosing to do things His way, and not our own. This is the essence of true worship. By losing our lives in that manner for Christ’s sake, we will find them (Matt. 16:25).