Saturday, February 15, 2014


I often say that Jesus wants our hearts, but what I mean by that is that Jesus wants our whole self: Every bit of us, completely. People can be really good at having their hands do something to gain others approval, or have their words be pleasant so others hear what they want to hear. Children can even do that. People, for the most part, can obey rules well enough to keep the peace and possibly gain the admiration of those expecting them to toe-the-line. Many can do all of that without one smidgen of sincerity.

So when I say that Jesus wants our hearts, I'm saying that Jesus wants our hands, our actions, our words and our deeds to be consistent with our hearts as well.  Jesus not only wants us to obey, he wants us to want to obey. Jesus seeks our hearts and calls on us to live with integrity, where every bit of ourselves lives, breathes, acts, and thinks out of our love for Jesus Christ. When I say Jesus wants our hearts, I'm saying little more than Jesus wants us... all of us. Jesus says: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21)." But flip it around and its still speaks to truth. Where your heart is, your treasure will be also... as well as your hands, and words, and actions.

When the heart is centered on Christ, the words will follow, so will the hands and the actions. The call of Jesus is the call to live with integrity. The life that lives in two worlds and with two standards will not last for long. The person who acts, not out of core beliefs, but to please others only, will not please them for long, because the truth found in the heart will reveal itself. The person who shares Valentine's wishes on the surface, but swims in a sea of hate in their heart, will not be able to convince others of their loving kindness for long. The truth found in the heart will reveal itself.

This becomes the point of Jesus's Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. It's not good enough to pat an enemy on the back while holding on to your hate in your heart. Sure you didn't kill your enemy, but Jesus wants you! Get your heart right, and allows your action of "not killing" come from your heart and NOT through insincere obedience.  It goes that way with adultery as well. Don't be "faithful" to your spouse and then bury your mind with desire for others. Jesus wants all of you. Live with integrity. Don't wait until your on the witness stand in the court room to be honest, under penalty of law. Forget the oaths. Instead live with integrity. May your "yes" always be yes and your "no" always be no.

Stories like "The Boy who Cried Wolf" from Aesop's Fables teaches the lesson well.  The person without integrity will not be trusted for long. Without integrity, your "yes" will be heard by others with skepticism and scorn. Just when you need them most, they won't be there for you. Go ahead and say "Your word is your bond" till you're blue in the face. It won't matter. You won't be believed.

The Kingdom of God is much more than that, however. And Jesus wanting your heart is more than a morality tale. The thoughts of others is secondary to the truth that living for Christ with integrity means finally being free. In the Kingdom of God we are freed of the pain of living as two selves, for two sets of values. That tight rope walk will only conclude with a great fall.

You're are united in values, in purpose, in truth, and in faith when your "yes" means yes and your "no" always means no. In Jesus Christ you can truly, fully, be yourself. No convincing. No pleading. You never will say "Your word is your bond" nor with even think of saying it... because you will just be... and speak... and act as wholly you.

I see it everywhere. People are tired. It's hard to keep your work you separate from your family you and then still keep that separate from your paling-around-with-your-friends you. Just be you: a disciple of Christ who loves the Lord and seeks to live as the light of the world consistently and always. Life with integrity is life in, with and for Christ, whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.