“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good,Luke 6:45 ESV
and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil,
for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
It’s hard to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Even harder to make a stone-filled heart pliable. But these are the folks dealt with on the Christian path in this world. Hopefully our homes and circle of friends have had stoney hearts made new in Jesus. And these dear ones are those we trust. As for the rest, it should be pretty easy to see what lies in the heart. But I don’t think it is. Evil takes on an image not its own. It hides within. It lurks in corners. It even hides in plain sight. We’ve all heard the expression wolf in sheeps clothing.
A new heart and a good circle of friends doesn’t take me out of the world; eventually I leave my circle. It isn’t if, but when, I encounter evil in some form, however mild or strong, that my heart is set upon. Prep. Like cooking, it’s all in the preparation and the presentation–how I prepare myself and how I present myself to those I encounter.
On the way out of the bathroom, The Fonz of “Happy Days” (sitcom on American TV) would look at himself in the mirror with comb in hand. Then, without even a touch up, seemingly satisfied with his appearance, head on his way.
Before setting out, out into the world of others, do I check myself to see if within myself I harbor some hidden wickedness, some hidden evil? Do I check my attitude? Am I “prayed up”? I don’t think I always do this. Seems to me before I head out, before I assume I might come across evil, I need to look in the mirror and check my heart, my attitude. To use an expression adapted from a friend: Do I have my halo on straight?
Have mercy on me,a O God,Psalm 51:1,2
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
But before I go out into the world, let me also pray:
O L-RD, I call upon you; hasten to me!Psalm 141:1-4
Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!
Set a guard, O L-RD, over my mouth;
keep watch over the door of my lips!
Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
and let me not eat of their delicacies!
Am I ready to face the world?
Apostle Paul teaches that our battle is not against the individuals that we may meet on our roads we travel. Hence, we need armor. We are soldiers in the Army of G-D. Like soldiers we need EDC—Every Day Carry.
“. . . take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. . .”Eph. 6:13-18
Purging the self of those pesky pieces of flesh we find within the hear, prepared in prayer for action, step into the world for another day, like sheep among wolves, trusting that whatever happens, the L-RD’s there.
On these treks in the world, outside the circle of family and friends, not everyone met, not every stranger with whom I engage, is necessarily a wolf. Commenting on Luke 6:45, Ellicott wrote: “Out of the “good treasure of his heart” the good man would bring forth, not harsh or hasty judgment, but kindness, gentleness, compassion.”
Good advice would be: Wear the armor prepared for battle, but mouths must speak from the the knowledge of G-D’s mercy and grace bestowed upon us. Be kind. Don’t return evil for evil.
When it becomes apparent that people met along the way have issues—I love how Jude puts it:
“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garmentg stained by the flesh.”Jude 17-23
I go out into the world. I win; I lose. I come home to lick my wounds like a dog. I acknowledge the wins are because of Spirit’s guidance and strength. I acknowledge failures are sins, are evil, and they are mine, all mine, and mine alone. I find refuge in Jesus.
O LORD, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O LORD!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the LORD;Psalm 150
your blessing be on your people! Selah
L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .