Friday, February 3, 2017

Reaction is Everything!




A few years ago I had a very strange falling out with someone I cared a great deal about. It hurt my feelings and my pride and happened at a terrible time in my life. For months afterward, I would see him out and about, sometimes alone and other times on what appeared to be a date.    It hurt my heart.                                                   One evening after such an encounter I cried out to Jesus, who through experience, I know to be totally sovereign, "Why do you keep making me see that, if you love me the way you say you do, you wouldn't want to put my heart through that." 
I was surprised by his near immediate response; a response that revealed a great deal to me about my precious Jesus. His answer was this, 

" My dear heart, it was not for you to see him, but for him to see  you." 

I have thought about that response many times. Jesus shared a part of his character with me that night that was much more important for my own personal growth than the temporary comfort for my hurt feelings that I was seeking. He taught me that HE is always looking at our reactions because those reactions reveal the spontaneous truth as it flows directly from our hearts and that is the knowledge he is seeking concerning His sheep. 

Proverbs 17:3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts 

After thinking about his response for some time I have come to understand that Jesus is not in the business of making people feel comfortable. He want's our hearts. He watches as we ignore the things we should and could do for others and the things we choose to do which only serve to harden our own hearts, and He takes note of our attitude about those things.

How do we react when someone we know is suffering; do we avoid them? Are we secretly delighted? Do we feel sadness in our hearts and try to help them or pray for them, or do we simply shrug our shoulders and go on with our lives? 

I shared my story and my thoughts regarding it with a dear friend, who's husband is a pastor. I explained to her that Jesus helped me to understand that he is always looking for reactions from us. She said it reminded her of a man she and her husband had met some years back. The man was one of sizable wealth, yet he had felt pressed to do mission work. He was having some difficulty getting responses to programs he applied for so he asked Jesus what the problem was; why was he being overlooked for something he was dreaming about?  Jesus told him that if he were serious about being a missionary he needed to give his money away. In the man's earthly thinking, the money would provide him the opportunity to help others more. But God had other plans, He wanted to see this man's reaction to his simply bringing the gospel to the table.
This account, in turn, reminded me of an incident I had heard of where a woman from the United States had gone to a third world country on a missions trip wearing her enormous diamond wedding ring and diamond earrings and it made me think of the famous quote by Carl W. Buehner; "They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel." 
Without knowing the circumstances it's difficult for us to know what any one's motives, thoughts or feelings are, but for Jesus, it is nothing, He knows.He always knows the truth.   


 Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts, and see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in an everlasting way. 


Jesus walks with us daily, listening in on our conversations with others. He makes note of those who feel convicted and those who do not. He doesn't care if we're rich or poor, handsome or ugly. if we look like a fashion plate or if we are dressed in garments that came from a bag of rags. 
He doesn't give one iota about big noses, fat bellies or stringy hair...what matters to Jesus is our reactions to life and the people around us. Those reactions show Him the condition of our hearts. 

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel  "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."


What's inside of your heart?