Written by Stephanie Reynolds

Matters of the Heart

Now Abel kept the flocks [of sheep and goats], but Cain cultivated the ground. And in the course of time, Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. But Abel brought [an offering of] the [finest] firstborn of his flock and the [b]fat portions. And the Lord had respect (regard) for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and his offering, He had no respect. So Cain became extremely angry (indignant), and [c]he looked annoyed and hostile.  And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why do you look annoyed? If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it.” Cain talked with Abel his brother [about what God had said]. And when they were [alone, working] in the field, Cain [d]attacked Abel his brother and killed him.

Genesis 4:2a-8

If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it.” 

Both Cain and Abel gave an offering to the Lord.  Outwardly, it looked the same; they were both giving from the fruit of their labor.  But, God addressed the reason He was displeased with Cain’s offering: Cain’s heart wasn’t in it.  It wasn’t true worship because it wasn’t an outward expression of his love and devotion to the Lord; he was just going through the motions.

1 Samuel 16:7 For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

It can be easy for people to “look” the part in the “right” situations but the heart motive can be something entirely different.  Two people standing side by side may have similar outward worship displayed: hands raised, eyes closed, seemingly engaged.  But, just because the outward looks similar doesn’t automatically translate to pureness of heart.

In a recent message by Pastor Andrea, she said “The garden is the glory of the gardener.  The glory of God is you.”  You…your heart is what brings Him glory.  That’s what He wants to cultivate and protect.

Reflect on and ask the Lord to show what areas you’re just going through the motions in…where your lips say you love Him but your heart is saying another.  He desires UNITY.  Unity with one another, but also in us and with Him.  He knows if our hearts are not in line with Him and His Word, sin crouches at our door; its desire is for us (to overpower us).  This is a loving warning for us to show us the importance of guarding our heart against this trap of allowing our hearts to continue in deception while we go through motions that make us “look good.”

Father, I ask you to search my heart and try me.  Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me.  I lay down every area of my life that doesn’t translate into authentic relationship and submission to you.  Help me build a life that is sturdy, honest, trustworthy, and above all – a beautiful representation of who You are.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.