The Heart of the Matter

What is the root of our most important calling in life? What is the reason someone faithfully follows Jesus? How is someone able to do so?

During our morning worship service at Richland Baptist Church today, I preached through Mark 7:1-23 on “The Heart of Discipleship.” My challenge: does your heart gladly reflect the heart of discipleship?

Frankly, one can “successfully” come across as a faithful follower of Jesus in the eyes of others. He can be devoted, zealous, consistent and committed. Yet, he can be headed straight for hell, relying on himself and looking “good” while doing so.

That is what I addressed in my message this morning. We need to understand the heart of discipleship, knowing that a genuine relationship with God is not earned by our obedience but rather a result of our humble surrender. Salvation from sin and death is not a result of what we can do, but rather the result of trusting in what Jesus Christ has already done.

When we were on family vacation at the beginning of this month, one of the fun things we had the privilege of doing a few times was a ropes course. The “Leap of Faith” was one of the obstacles at the course, and there were seven of us from our group of 27 who attempted the “Leap of Faith.” Four of us were able to complete the task, which involves climbing up a 20-foot telephone pole, figuring out how to turn around and stand on the top with only a rope on your back, and then leaping as far as you can to grab a trapeze bar.

If someone can successfully complete the “Leap of Faith” as seemingly easily as 13-year-old Noah did (see the below video), then it might be assumed that person is not afraid of heights. What we cannot see when watching someone do the “Leap of Faith,” though, is the condition of his heart.

There might be adventure and excitement consuming someone, and/or there might be fear and dread. There might be confident assurance, or there might be absolute horror.

The reality is that life is a lot like the “Leap of Faith,” but much harder. Really, we cannot do anything by merely “willing ourselves” to do so. We may be able to appear as if we have it figured out and are confidently moving along, but we are never at a point where we do not need the Lord.

Sure, you might successfully complete several “leaps of faith” along the way, but you also have several failures (We all do!), particularly when compared with a perfect, holy, righteous God.

So, what is the condition of your heart? Are you trusting in what you can do, or are you trusting in what Jesus has already done? Are you depending on your own abilities, or are you humbly surrendering to the Only One who paid it all?

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