Matthew 12:35 (NLT)
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”
In this passage, Jesus is confronting the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, who claimed to represent God yet refused to acknowledge the divinity and authority of God’s Son. They were trying to discredit Jesus by accusing him of being in league with the devil. Jesus, however, turns the tables on them and accuses them of the same thing. He points to their deceitful ways as evidence that their evil hearts did not belong to God.
A good heart, Jesus says, collects and stores what is good and precious to God. A heart full of such holy treasure generates conversations and behaviors that honor and serve God and manifest the gracious gifts of the Spirit. Scripture lists some of these precious treasures of a good heart:
- God’s wisdom (Proverbs 8:21)
- God’s word (Psalm 119:11; Job 23:12)
- God’s light (John 3:19; 2 Corinthians 4:7)
- God’s truth (2 Timothy 1:14)
- Fear of the Lord (Isaiah 33:6)
- Faith in God through Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1)
- God’s promises (2 Peter 1:4)
An evil heart, on the other hand, opposes God and rejects what is precious to God. Subject to sin’s influence, an evil heart generates conflict and hurt from the “treasure” it stores up—anger, jealousy, resentment, deceit, greed, immorality, lust, idolatry, selfish ambition, arrogance, envy.
Sadly, as much as we want to follow God, we struggle with hearts that are a composite of good and evil. Paul describes our dilemma when he complains, “Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me” (Romans 7:21). We say or do things we know are hurtful to others, and we later wonder, where did that come from? That’s not how I want to act. That’s not who I want to be.
With God’s help, we can take inventory of the treasury of our hearts and identify what does not belong. It will take effort, but we can begin to cast out the evil treasures and make room for what is truly precious and fruitful for God’s kingdom.
FATHER, I confess that my heart is not altogether devoted to you. I sometimes feel divided between living out the good you have deposited in me and selfishly grabbing what serves the darker corners of my desire. I ask you now to help me examine my heart and to cast out the evil treasures I have collected and cherished.
Matthew 3:8; Romans 7:21-25
Name one “treasure” in your heart that God would have you cast out.