The View From The Rock

the official blog of Pastor Jim Bradford & Solid Rock Worship Center

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Time for a heart exam…

Think of just about any ‘reality’ show on TV today.  For many people, the enjoyment of these shows comes from watching people at their worst: the deceit, the gossip, the back-stabbing.  The fascination is akin to watching a train wreck, in that it can be hard for us to turn away, even though we know it’s something we probably shouldn’t be watching.heart - reality-tv

In my devotional time, I was reading 2 Timothy.  In this book, Paul shares his last words before his ensuing execution to his young apprentice, Timothy.  His words are heartfelt, powerful, & sincere.  They are also remarkably timely for us today.

In one passage, Paul described to Timothy what to expect in the ‘Last Days.’  Read his description & tell me if this sounds like ‘reality’ TV to you.

2 Timothy 3:1 – 5 (NLT)

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.

For people will love only themselves and their money.
They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God,
disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful.
They will consider nothing sacred.
They will be unloving and unforgiving;
they will slander others and have no self-control.
They will be cruel and hate what is good.
They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride,
and love pleasure rather than God.
They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.

Stay away from people like that!

Sounds familiar, right?Heart Exam

But here’s what I want to get at: if you look at the context of the whole book, Paul is not just talking about everyone else in the world, he is talking about those in the church.

I think you would agree, we live in “difficult times”. Even though you may feel like you are overwhelmed with problems, examine your heart in light of this passage:

  • Would others say ‘you love only yourself?’  How important is it for you to “take care of number one?”
  • Does money, or the lack of money, consume your attention?  Remember, money isn’t the problem – it’s the “love of money” that is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim 6:10).  Sometimes, those who are poor can be more bound by a love for money than those who are rich.
  • Do you boast about yourself to try to impress others?  Do you feel more important when everyone is praising you?
  • How is your pride?  Don’t forget, that’s the sin that got Satan kicked out of Heaven.
  • Do you scoff God?  Do you ignore the Holy Spirit’s conviction?  Do you use the Lord’s name in vain?
  • How do you (or did you) treat your parents?
  • Are you truly grateful?  Or do you focus more on your ‘lack’ than on the blessings the Lord has given to you?
  • Do you regard God & the things of God as sacred?  Do you truly set aside the Lord’s day as a day to come to church to worship & grow spiritually with your entire family?  How serious is this to you?
  • Are you loving?  Love is verb, an action word.  It’s not about feelings.  See 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
  • Are you forgiving?  Is there someone who has hurt you so deeply that you don’t think you can forgive them?   I preached at length on this in the message “What the Cross means to me.”  If you struggle with forgiving yourself or forgiving others, I want to encourage you to listen to this message, particularly the 3rd point.

  • Do you slander others?  Spread gossip?
  • How’s your self-control?  Do you find yourself saying, “I just couldn’t help it…”
  • Are you cruel?
  • Do you hate good?  Love evil?
  • Would your friends say that you have betrayed them?
  • Are you reckless?
  • Do you seek pleasure in this life more than you seek God?  Do you care more if you’re happy than if God is happy with you?
  • Do you have the ‘religion’ thing down?  Do you have everyone fooled?  Be honest, what are you hungry for?  I mean deeply, truly hungry for?  the things of this world – or the power of God?  Do you want to please Him?  Do you want to receive everything He has for you?  Or are you fine just going through the motions?

This is a challenging word.  I want to challenge you to get real with the Lord!Heart in xray
If you are out of line, ask him to forgive you & give you the desire for the things of God!

Admit your sin,
Believe in Christ’s sacrificial death & resurrection,
& Commit your life to Him in repentance!

We are certainly in the ‘Last Days,’ meaning Jesus could return at any time.  He is looking for a people who are for real, who love Him as their first love, and who will serve Him with their lives.  To those who are truly hungry for God, He will bless & fill with the Holy Spirit.  Are you hungry for Him?  Ask the Lord to fill you with the fruits of the Spirit today (see Gal 5:22-23).

Don’t get caught up in the care of this world.  This world is shallow.  Pleasure is fleeting.  Financial security can be gone in a flash.  This life is secondary.  Keep Christ primary.

In closing, read the words to the classic song:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

– from “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

 

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2 Responses to “Time for a heart exam…”

  1. Angelina says:

    Thanks Pastor Jim… that’s just what I needed to read. I’ve been convicted lately that I treasure comfort more than pleasing God… I hate the uncomfortable, the unknown, and therefore I reject them. But it is in the uncomfortable that we are made to wrestle with life’s deeper questions… it is in the unknown that we are made to learn rather than pretend that we know it all. Living in another country is great, but it can be very uncomfortable at times… but I should be focused on what God wants, not what makes me feel good. This life is but a breath (another theme that comes up day after day) so what does it matter if I skip a meal if I know that the food could go to someone who really needs it… what does it matter if I don’t get the highest grade because my friend needs to talk… all of this to say, it’s good to be reminded that God is our focus, not anything else.. not even myself.

  2. Natalie says:

    I had to read this one again just because it really puts a lot of things in perspective. People do get “lost” in their own little worlds, but if you follow God, then you will not be “lost” anymore.