Pastor Miles delivered today’s message with parallel scenes from the movie, Snow White and the Huntsman.
One of the places Pastor Miles loves to minister most is in prisons, sharing the love of Christ where people are at their lowest. But as powerful as that ministry experience is, prison is a nasty place, full of the consequences of all kinds of sin.
In Mark 7:18b-23, Jesus explains the source of that wickedness: our hearts.
“Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
God knows our hearts intimately, and therein lies our problem: we can’t hide our sin from Him! All our behaviors are motivated by our hearts.
God knows our hearts intimately, and therein lies our problem: we can’t hide our sin from Him! All our behaviors are motivated by our hearts. In Snow White and the Huntsman, the witch thought she could achieve eternity if only she could obtain Snow White’s heart, but actually, what she needed was the same thing you and I need: God’s heart.
A Heart of Stone to a Heart of Flesh
Hillary shared a testimony about her life as a high school student. She reflected that she was self-absorbed and manipulative, gossiping about and hurting people by whom she felt threatened. In an aim to be accepted and popular, she deflected any negative attention off of herself and onto others, even to the point of purposely creating conflict between friends. At the time, she felt proud of her power, but looking back, those memories are “soul-crushing.” One day, a less affluent student made a comment about her and she replied with a hurtful comment about his clothing. His response was, “You are one of the prettiest girls in our school, but you have the ugliest heart.” She felt the burn of truth in his words, knowing that though she claimed to be a Christian, she was not living like a Christian. She didn’t want to be a mean girl and have an ugly heart. She wanted others to see God in her and to care about others the way God did.
So what is the root of our desire to cut others down? Pastor Miles read from Genesis 4:2b-7:
Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
If you are right with God and walking with Him, you will have enough love for people. But an empty heart will never be satisfied by cutting others down.
The reason Cain was angry at his brother (and eventually killed him) was because of his broken relationship with God. People have issues with other people because they have issues with God. If you are right with God and walking with Him, you will have enough love for people. But an empty heart will never be satisfied by cutting others down.
Pastor Miles encouraged us not to allow our hearts to deceive us. Many times we trust our hearts to lead us, but “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) The heart of each of us stubbornly wants to please itself. What we need instead is a new heart, a heart devoted to God and beating after His Word.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
The witch didn’t need Snow White’s heart; she needed the heart of God in the context of a continual relationship with Him.
Pastor Miles challenge for today is two-fold:
1) Give your heart of stone over the God and receive His heart; and
2) Trust and rely on Him day by day.
Only then can you experience true fulfillment and joy, finally understand love, and live a meaningful life.