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Treasures of the Heart

As Christians, what should we value in life? Scripture gives us a clear answer. We should treasure relationships more than we do our possessions, talents, occupation, popularity, or position in life. Communion with God is of primary importance, and our fellowship with other people is a close second (Matt. 22:37-40).

1.) We are to treasure our relationship with God.

Loving God includes worshipping Him.

  • Read Exodus 20:1-6. What reasons did God give the Israelites for not worshipping idols?
  • Although few of us today bow down to idols of gold and silver, what types of activities and pursuits rob God of the time, attention, and adoration He deserves from people in general?
  • What, in particular, steals your attention away from the Lord?

Loving God includes obeying Him.

  • Some might argue that they love the Lord but can’t agree with His commands; therefore, they don’t obey Him. Such people claim God understands. How does John 14:23-24 contradict this idea?
  • Others say that following God’s commands is simply too difficult. Contrast this statement with 1 John 5:3-5.

Note: If you have difficulty obeying the Lord, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to rely on His strength for godly living.

Loving God means we value His work in our lives.

Scripture says that Mary noted the unusual blessings that occurred in Jesus’ early life and “treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

  • How has God shown His faithfulness to you in the past? What events can you treasure?
  • How does recalling His goodness to you in the past encourage you now?

Every believer has also received spiritual blessings as a result of accepting God’s gift of salvation.

  • Look up each verse below and write a summary of the blessing(s) it describes.

Romans 8:1

John 5:24

1 Peter 2:9

2 Corinthians 5:17

Ephesians 2:4-6

  • How could meditating on these verses, and others that speak about who you are in Christ, be encouraging in your daily life?

2.) We are to treasure our relationships with other people.

In Mark 12:31, Jesus commands us to love others as ourselves.

  • How would your life be different if you were able to fully live out this verse?

Another time, Jesus said, “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12 NIV).

  • Most religions have a similar command. However, in every other faith, the statement is negative. They read something like this: “Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want them to do to you.” How is Jesus’ command more challenging?

We must love our family and saved friends.

At first, this statement sounds easy—almost too easy. But we all know that being truly loving toward our spouse, children, in-laws, siblings, and good friends is rarely effortless. Those we are closest to often feel the brunt of our frustration with the outside world. Also, we tend to show our irritation to them more quickly than we would to a strange.

  • Prayerfully read 1 Corinthians 14:4-7. Which of these attributes describes the way you relate to family and close friends?
  • Which ones do you need to ask the Holy Spirit to work through you in those relationships?

We must also love strangers and even those who oppose the gospel.

Sometimes we view other people as enemies. The truth is, we are at war with Satan, not other humans (Eph. 6:12). God loves everyone; so should we.

The parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates this truth (Luke 10:30-37). Jews looked down on Samaritans because they had intermarried with pagans and allowed incorrect theology to seep into their religion. No Jew would expect help from such a person, an enemy. Yet in this story, the Samaritan man shows the most compassion on a Jewish traveler.

  • What lesson does it teach (vv. 36-37)?
  • How could you apply this principle to your life?
  • Read Matthew 5:43-46. “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy” was a common saying in the days of Christ. Why does Jesus say “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (vv. 45-46)?
  • Who has treated you as an enemy? With eternity in mind, why might it be important for you to pray for him or her?

Conclusion: The world constantly bombards us with false messages about what matters in life. But Scripture is clear that two things are of utmost importance: our relationship with God and our relationships with other people. As we love God wholeheartedly and treat others the way we would want to be treated, we will experience life’s real treasures.

Prayer: Father, help me remember that success is not defined by my possessions, occupation, talents, or social position. Real success is found in loving You with all my strength and loving my neighbor as myself. Change my perspective, Lord, that I may value what You value. Amen.

By Dr Charles Stanley. Copyright 2010 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.