WHAT OUR HEART NEEDS
HEBREWS 13:9 NKJV
9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
Chapter 13 is another of those chapters that is rich in content. I could argue that all Scripture is rich in content, but from a practical standpoint, this chapter stands out.
Chapter 13 is the writer's closing thoughts, and he covers some serious ground: angels, prisoners, the marriage bed, the Lord's help, and spiritual leadership. Also included are dealing with rejection, offering praise, helping the family of God, and God's continual work in the life of a believer. This is a chapter worth reading again.
In the middle of chapter 13 is our verse for today. This is a warning to the believers about what is good for the heart. He warns them to not get caught up in different weird teachings. The writer actually says various and strange doctrines, but it's pretty much the same thing. Evidently, various and strange doctrines were present in that day, just as they are today. And from the context of this verse, we can surmise that these strange teachings had to deal with food. Don't get caught up with any teaching that emphasizes food. What we eat is not going to bring us closer to God, nor is it separating us from Him.
Whether or not someone eats healthy and organic or fried foods and ice cream is not the issue. Foods establish nothing in our hearts. Jesus Himself said foods go in and come out, but spiritually speaking, it's neutral. Obviously, eating well is a good strategy for taking care of our bodies, but food will never establish anything for us spiritually.
But a good foundation for our inner man is a good understanding of God's grace. God's grace is all He has done for us in Christ. Grace is not what we have earned from God but rather is a function of His love and mercy. And grace can establish us in strength and will profit us as we put our focus there. Focusing on food may make you hungry, but it will not profit your inner man.
You may be thinking that this devotional is majoring on minors, but over the years, I have seen some strange teachings come through the Church. Not so much our church, but we have also had to deal with some doctrines that were simply off base. And if you become occupied with these weird teachings, they are not going to help you.
Focus on God's grace and what grace has done for you. Paul instructed Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1) If you want to be strong in an area, that's a good place to start and stay with. And becoming strong in grace is good for your heart, your spirit, your inner man.
And when you are strong spiritually, life will continue to happen, but your ability to handle life is greatly increased. And that is profitable.
Thank You, Lord, for Your amazing grace. I will establish my heart in what You have done for me.