Matt 12:35 “The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.”
What defines a person as good? There are lots of “good people” in the world who don’t believe in God. On the other hand, there are “Christians” who act worse than some of those “good people.” So, what makes a person good or bad?
I have read the verses in Matthew 12:33-37 many times, but I don’t think I ever saw them from this perspective before. I like how amplified rendered verse 35. “The good man from his inner good treasure flings forth good things, and the evil man out of his inner evil storehouse flings forth evil things.” It’s almost like we have 2 storehouses, one for good, and one for evil. As we go through life, we store up good treasure in one, and evil treasure in another. What’s in your storehouse is what defines you.
I can hear someone saying, “Sounds like you are saying that my christian life is defined by my actions.” I want to be clear. Those of us “In Christ,” can never get “out of Christ.” Our salvation is dependent on the finished work of Christ on the Cross. Those who believed in His finished work are as secure as that fact is. Christ died for my sin, I died with Him. He rose from the dead. I rose to new life with Him. That is a fact. Nothing I have done or ever will do can change that!
So, what are we talking about here? Evil storehouse, good storehouse?? When I choose to harbor bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness in my heart, I am storing up evil in my heart! I am choosing to “treasure evil.” What Jesus is teaching here is that that evil treasure that we store in our hearts is going to come to the surface. Lust, envy, discontentment… this is all evil that we can “treasure” in our hearts. The more we store up that stuff, the more it is going to come to the surface and “fling forth evil things.”
In Mere Christianity CS Lewis captures this thought quite well. In chapter 7 he shares these insights:
“When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected: I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated.
On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”
So, what comes out of your heart when you are taken off guard? Some of those treasures have been stored up for so long, they have almost become just part of who we are. But, when Christ came in, HE wants to replace who you are with himself! He wants to fill your storehouse with treasure of His life and character. But, it takes intentionality to empty the evil storehouse and fill up the good storehouse.
- When I react with negative emotions, or snap at someone, i am “flinging’ the evil stored up on my heart. Lord, help me to exterminate those rats!
- Jesus came into my heart to replace who I am with Himself! Reveal the evil in my heart so that it can be replaced with your character.
I want to pray what Ian Thomas said in his short video titled, “Timeless;”
“Thank you. I know that you not only died for me to get me out of hell and into heaven, but rose from the dead to replace what I am. You came from heaven to come and indwell me by your Holy Spirit. I acknowledge today that with every part of my being, body soul and spirit, mind emotion and will, the totality of my personality, my body should be yielded to you. A living sacrifice. Not conforming to this world and aiding it’s patterns, but transformed by the renewing of my mind, having that mind which was in Christ Jesus, adopting that attitude which was in Christ Jesus. The attitude that you as a man, constantly adopted toward your father, allowing your father to be who he is in action, I am yielding to you, to allow you to be who you are in action. My hands are yours to work with. My feet are yours to go with. My lips are yours to speak with. All that I am and have, this flesh and blood to clothe your divine activity.
“Lord Jesus I haven’t a clue what you have in mind for today, but it’s going to be exciting placing myself at your disposal to see you accomplishing through me your eternal end.