April 30, 2015


Proverbs 21:2 All a man’s ways seem right to him,
but the Lord weighs the heart.

This is one of those obvious truths that we forget in practice. Anytime someone quotes this we say, “right,” but then we turn around and ignore God yet again. It’s interesting that the Japanese, instead of just saying “weighs,” says, “measures the price/value” of the heart. The ancient Egyptians believed that sins made the heart heavy, and that after death they would have to appear before Osiris and their heart would be placed on a balance against a feather. If it was heavier than the feather, they went to hell. There’s actually some real truth to that, though of course Osiris is not the Judge. The image of the heart being weighed down by sin is quite accurate. However, the only solution to our sin problem is the atonement of the cross of Jesus Christ. As the old hymn says, “Would you be free from the burden of sin? There’s power in the blood!” However, going back to the idea of the value of the heart being measured, God says that value is huge. If it weren’t, He wouldn’t have sent His Son to redeem it! We are unspeakably valuable to Him, but He leaves the key to our eternal destiny in our hands. Will we repent and believe, and so receive eternal life, or will we hang onto our sin and so choose hell? God’s grace and mercy are available, but they must be received by faith.

I’ve been a textbook example of this verse. Thinking my ways were right, even though I was ignoring the God I knew, I was walking in rebellion that I didn’t even recognize as such. When the Lord in His mercy tapped me on the shoulder and then showed me a mirror, spiritually speaking, I was devastated. I realized the pride, the conceit, the hubris of my ways, and I repented in tears. I wish I could say that I never fell into that trap again after that dramatic experience, but that would hardly be accurate. I’ve got to keep watch over my heart, because I am all too prone to think I’m right and not even bother to check with God. That’s what “hiding His Word in my heart” (Psalm 119:11) is all about. The more grounded I am in the Word, the better I know what His way is so that I can measure things against it and come into line. As a pastor I am charged with correcting, admonishing, and encouraging the believers. However, I must always do so in love, on the basis of the Word and the Spirit, and never just “because I say so.” Parents, spiritual as well as physical, sometimes have to “lay down the law,” but I must never think I am above it myself. I’ve got to remember the value of each soul in God’s eyes, and act accordingly.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the opportunity You have given/are giving me right now to speak into someone’s life. May I speak only what You are saying, in love and not condemnation, so that they may be built up and strengthened to follow Your way with all assurance and boldness, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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