Romans 10:8 But what does it say?
“The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
9 because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Deut. 30:14 No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.
We find here this continuing story from the Old Testament and brought to fruition in the New. The scripture from Deuteronomy is quoted and a more full meaning is brought to Moses’ understanding. With the reality of Christ there is now a heart change. It is faith in Christ — the risen Messiah which is transformational. When Christ is in you, then the profession of faith is quickly and easily released from our lips. The adoption into God’s family is possible through the indwelling of Christ and not because of human descent. Eternal life becomes possible for all.
What is in the heart of the believer becomes confessed through the expression of a life of faith, lived out on a daily basis. What is in the heart will affect what is on the lips.
It’s Valentine’s day and of course, it’s a day when we think about love. I very vividly remember my first date with Chuck. He actually told me it wasn’t a date and it was a pastoral call from the church. I had been there on Sunday and he was doing the follow-up call for the Sunday School class. Of course, he had a long-stemmed red rose in the car, but he told me he had just found that lying on the side of the road. We had a lovely dinner and he took me home — reminding me it wasn’t a date — but a call! I guess the real date followed :) — but I also remember falling in love. My heart was filled with love for him and I wanted to be with him and hang around him, and, of course, there were plenty of confessions of love! What was in my heart was expressed in my words and actions.
On this day as we think about love, we ought to be considering our relationship with Jesus Christ. There are many folks who are lamenting what is happening to Christianity and the fact that fewer people are attending church. I would argue that the behaviors we are observing are simply a reflection of the heart. Could it be that far too many, like the church in Ephesus, have forgotten their first love? Or, possibly, our love for the Lord has simply cooled and we find ourselves lukewarm. With no love kindling in our hearts, there is no confession in our actions. Remember — our actions speak louder than our words!
This cooling toward Christianity may be the result of a loss of love in our hearts. There are many who are wanting to “fix” the problem with the church — and try to fill the pews in any way possible! Could it be, however, that we simply don’t want to listen to sound preaching or teaching? A medical doctor can get lots of followers if he tells people that they can eat Krispy Kreme donuts every day and be okay! But listening to your doctor, eating right, exercising and showing some self-discipline isn’t that easy. Just so, showing self-discipline in our daily walk with Jesus Christ may not always be easy but there is a love there that must be nurtured or it will grow cold. When that love grows cold, the passion will be gone. God’s people won’t look or act like God’s people and the pews will be empty.
We don’t have a methodological problem (what’s the next best plan to fill the church) — we have a spiritual problem. Our behaviors are a reflection of what’s happening in our hearts. If we are not passionate about the lost, then I doubt we are passionate about Christ. On this Valentine’s let’s ask God to rekindle the fire of love for him in our lives and be willing to reflect him to our world.
Lord, please, draw me nearer to you! Amen.
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