Ace’s most recent post got me thinking about the human heart. The obvious verse from Scripture that my mind was drawn towards was that famous one from the Prophet Jeremiah:
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately corrupt;
who can understand it?
This verse has been demonstrably proven time and time again. Yet it is one that we, even among the faithful, seem to constantly forget. Even now many who would call themselves Christians would no doubt defend the statement “The Heart Wants What it Wants.” How easily they forget (ignore?) the words of our Savior, who warned us that: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21). If someone does naught but gather material pleasures, then it is in the material world where that person’s heart will be found. He also warned us that:
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
Either our heart is for God, and we accumulate spiritual treasure, or our heart is for the world (and its dark master), and we accumulate only material “treasures.”
While on the subject of masters, I wanted to briefly note that this applies to some of the ideas expressed in Dalrock’s most recent post. Those “Christian” leaders that Dalrock mentions have replaced God as the Master to be served. In His place we have worship of Romantic Love. Specifically, Romantic Love as defined by The Woman (whomever she happens to be). In a twist of fate that seems disturbingly appropriate, it only goes to accord the Prophet Isaiah:
My people—children are their oppressors,
and women rule over them.
O my people, your leaders mislead you,
and confuse the course of your paths.
I have more to say on Dalrock’s post later, but in the meantime I have a little more scripture to cover. Specifically, a section from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans:
As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions. 2 One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.
5 One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let every one be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12 So each of us shall give account of himself to God.
There are two components to this section that stand out- eating and the observation of days. From what I recall reading elsewhere, Saint Paul was addressing the Mosaic food laws and Liturgical calendar (the various Jewish feasts, etc). Note how it is not sinful to observe any of those old practices. But they are not mandatory either. Instead, St. Paul tells us to direct everything towards God. However, St. Paul is using very broad language here which seems to go beyond merely the Mosaic laws and traditions. What I am curious about is the Catholic/Orthodox theology on this section as it relates to liturgical calendars and various fasts. Specifically, I’m curious about Lent. Because this passage to me always seemed to make such observances optional, not mandatory, albeit highly encouraged. Are there any writings of the Saints on this matter? Would love to know more.