♥ Heart Issues ♥ - a Devotional for Women

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  Proverbs 4:23
Heart Issues is a collection of devotional teachings straight from the heart of God, given during those quiet times of fellowship, to share with you.  It is our desire that, through them, you will experience God’s love and His purpose for your life.            


As I was reading out of Mark 9, something about verses 33-37 really struck me.  I was using my Good News Translation Bible.  Jesus and His disciples were traveling on foot to Capernaum.  Along the way, the disciples began to squabble about which of them was the greatest.  Of course Jesus, who knows all, knew what they were doing and when they arrived at their destination, He decided to address their conversation.  “What were you arguing about on the road?”

Don’t you just love it when the Holy Spirit starts a conversation with you with a question?  Now, I don’t know about you, but when He does that with me, I’m pretty sure we are going to have one of those “Come to Jesus” talks so I usually just stay quiet and let Him take the lead.  That’s the first thing that struck me when reading this passage. That is exactly what Jesus is doing here.  He’s leading the disciples into a “Come to Me” talk.  Verse 34 tells us that the disciples would not answer Him because they were already being convicted in their hearts that their argument had not been pleasing to Him.

Scripture goes on and tells us that Jesus sat and called them to join Him.  That’s the second thing that struck me.  He is not a mean and uncaring God.  He loved His disciples, just as He loves us.  He was not using His authority in a tyrannical manner.  He was not going to scream and rant and rave at them, throw His arms up in the air and shout about how “bad” they were.’  Jesus was lovingly inviting them to come, listen, and learn the “better way.”

Verse 35 - Jesus said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all.” Wow!!  Did you get that?!?  First of all, to be first, we must be last.  What an oxymoron!  He seems to be contradicting Himself.  Be last to be first!  But that’s pretty much what Christianity is all about.  God Himself, in His Word, says that everything we are going to be asked to believe and do is going to go against worldly reason. 

The next thing is just as important.  “Whoever wants to be first *Must Place Himself Last…”  Jesus is telling His disciples (and us) - this is up to us!  *WE* are the ones who have to decide where we want to be.  He is not going to “assign” our spot.   WE are responsible for that.  How?  By making the choice to put ourselves last!  It is a voluntary act!  Are we willing to be a servant to others?  To put them first?  Their needs before ours?  Their salvation and spiritual welfare before our own comfort and convenience?

And if that isn't enough, the Passion Translation takes this verse even deeper and tells us to not only voluntarily take the last place, but to be content in it! So while this is our choice, the action must be based on a pure heart motive, not out of greed to be rewarded! Again, WOW!! Can I, can you, put others ahead of ourselves - and rejoice in our decision, without greed??? Will we, with the angels, rejoice when one sinner repents? Can we count whatever we had to give up as reward enough for what someone else has gained???

Verses 36-37 then go on and tell us how Jesus had a child come to Him.  “He wrapped the child in His arms (Oh, how I love this picture!) and said, ‘Whoever welcomes a little child in My name welcomes Me…and the One who sent Me.’” Children are so content.  They learn greed and selfishness by seeing others claw and fight to be “first.”

Our choices, our actions, our contentment must be lived out of a pure, child-like heart.  Are we willing to be last?

From God’s heart to ours…..