PASTOR'S PEN: Gem or dirt?

Whenever you see people sifting for gold or searching for gems, they seem to be in the dirtiest of places. They’re digging through the mud of a stream or burrowing into a dark and dirty cavern. They seem to spend hours working the ground to find that little bit of treasure buried underneath it all. The dirt is everywhere, but the gems are rare.

The values of those around us can be easily spotted. We just view their actions to see if they are greedy or selfish or sexually immoral. Those attitudes are pervasive in our culture. The reason is that they take up a lot of space in our own hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 says that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” That sounds like a terrible condition! It basically means that our hearts are evil, not innocent. They are wicked and tend to be attracted to what is wrong. It’s the dirt of the world, but it begins right inside our own hearts.

But God calls us out of that dirty mess to be something so much better. He calls us to be gems. Matthew 5:48 says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Christ said this in the context of loving your enemy. If hating, doing wrong to and ignoring the needs of your enemy are all part of a dirty heart than I certainly have the filthiest one of all.

So God called me to something else. He called me to become something I could never be. He called me to do something I could never do. He called me to holiness and perfection, the unattainable. He could have called me to be mediocre or a little better than dirt, but He knows my heart. He knew I would deceive myself finding some excuse for how my standard is good enough so He made one that I cannot keep. God put in a standard that requires me to say, “I cannot do this on my own. I need You, my Father.” It requires humility, dependence and trust.

There’s a lot of dirt in the world, but you can be a gem. It requires looking to the only One who can transform the heart. Look to God.