Christians’ Self-Focused Hearts

There is something which, for a few years now, I have been amazed and dismayed about. It has to do with the gross negligence of genuine encouragements given within the Body of Christ. Truly, I am actually shocked. Unregenerate people seem to have much more encouragements to offer than do “Christians”. I hear unbelievers say things like, “Well, I don’t share your beliefs, but I still greatly commend you for standing up for what you believe.” Or, “I think it is wonderful that you are showing such love and compassion to those in need.”

But what do most of the church people, even those in ministry, have to say? What do the pastors themselves say? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Or if they do happen to put out a word, is it to encourage another ministry? No, it is not. –Not unless they have something to be gained for themselves in doing so. In fact, they may even just completely ignore that someone they speak to even has a ministry; yet they decide to tell all about their own, and even ask others to join or support theirs. Very, very weird. I would think we all should be overjoyed that God’s Word is going forth in its truth and thus consistently motivate each other to continue in strength and zeal. …Is it a jealousy thing?  Or is it arrogance?  Well, whatever it is, it definitely does NOT portray a heart wholly controlled by Christ.

Jesus says in Matt. 10:40-41, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives the one who sent Me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.” That is a pretty amazing statement. In other words, let’s say someone comes back from being a missionary in another country and people in the church welcome her with honor, encouragements, thanks, gifts, their time, a listening ear, a car, and a place to stay. Those who do so will acquire the reward along with the missionary –the reward that God is going to give her for her hard sacrifice! One would think even because of this, people would be apt to “receive that righteous person.” Or better yet, that they would do so because they love Jesus, and He said in receiving a prophet (one of His Word-proclaimers) or a righteous person, it is showing that they are accepting HIM. But… how common is this? …Not very…

Jesus goes on in verse 42 of Matt. 10: “And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” A cup of cold water isn’t much. It’s a small thing. Thus, Jesus speaks about His will that we put forth effort and considerations in doing the small things for each other. This is sorely neglected in modern Christianity. Oh, the BIG things are often put forth; but not the small things. Why might this be? Could it be that the big things are the ones that get noticed, and the small ones do not? Yes. So what does that say about the motives of those who parade their big “righteous deeds”? And those deeds, of course, somehow always turn out to be “politically correct”. Or should I say, “culturally correct” –correct amongst modern Christianity’s culture.

Prov. 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” If someone is doing good deeds or proclaiming God’s Word, and you have crossed paths with him –or he is even your friend– should you withhold what is in your ability to do for that one as unto Jesus? What is the easiest thing that anyone can do? It is to give encouragement. A kind word. A word of hope, comfort, love…. Heb. 10:24 is a command –just as is verse 25 that MANY use to demand church attendance. Verse 24 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

Are people in the church body doing this? No, there appears to be very few of us who considers this command one to be obeyed. And why is this? I have had to conclude it is less from the lack of time as it is from just a true refusal to do so… a true rebellion toward God. 1 Cor. 10:24 says, “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” 1 John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” If a person casually says to another that they are glad they are serving the Lord, but that person does not put actions to his words by actually offering consistent encouragements, then the word was really just “hot air”, wasn’t it? James gives another example of such a disingenuous word in 2:14. “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”

Friends, if you see someone withhold a cup of cold water from a thirsty man, you would view that person as evil. Yet this is going on constantly. People are withholding a kind word, an encouraging word, a word of blessing or inspiration or comfort to those who cross their paths daily! They are withholding true, fervent, caring prayer for those who they know need it. Eph. 6:18 says to “always keep on praying for all the saints.” And as Samuel told Saul, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.” (1 Sam. 12:23)  Neglect of another’s need, when it is in your ability to help meet it, is most definitely called, in God’s Word… –sin.

May those who have the power to help another –in just small ways– do so. And stop letting their self-focused hearts cloud their compassion for another child of God.

with love,


~ by smilesback on December 9, 2009.

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