I really love driving analogies, as I often feel God speaks to me when I’m driving to work or driving home. This passage reminds me of speed cameras.
The purpose of a speed camera is to keep everyone on the road at a safe speed so that there’s less chance of accident or injury. But let’s say I was so focused on going under the speed limit that I wasn’t focusing enough on the road, and ended up hitting a pedestrian. I couldn’t then argue “but I was going the legal speed!” Similarly, if I found myself in a position where going over the speed limit meant avoiding injury, I believe I’d do it in a heartbeat – even if it meant getting fined.
This passage speaks about the importance of the condition of our heart. Jesus powerfully explains to both the Pharisees and the disciples that it’s not meticulously following the rules and regulations that is the end goal, but having a healthy heart. In fact, having a healthy heart leads to us living in wisdom and obedience to the rules. Proverbs 4:23 sums it up well – “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
If the dominant purpose of my life is to follow all the rules and tick all the boxes, I’m going to end up hitting a pedestrian. I definitely want to live my life in obedience to God’s commands, but the first step is to surrender my heart to Him afresh each day. For it is not my effort, but God’s grace, that will enable me to live right.
So Lord, have my heart. Examine it, search it, and reveal what You find. Remove what’s bad, heal what’s hurt, and fill it with Your goodness. Amen.
Written by Matt Samperi