Steve Macchia Blog

The Foolish Heart

“The fool says in his heart ‘There is no God’” Psalm 14:1. To deny God is to foster a foolish heart. Period. End of thought.

But, there are many other manifestations of foolishness of heart toward others, and the Proverbs are filled with insight here. “A chattering fool comes to ruin” (10:10) and “Whoever spreads slander is a fool” (10:18) and “A fool shows his annoyance” (12:16) and “A fool is hotheaded and reckless” (14:16) and “A fool spurns his father’s discipline” (15:5) and “Every fool is quick to quarrel” (20:3) and “A fool repeats his folly” (26:11) and “A fool gives full vent to his anger” (29:11).

Foolishness comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Fools consider their heart as their own and left to their own devices end up foolishly inconsiderate toward all others. It’s almost as if a foolish heart is the ancient term for what we know today as a narcissist. A self-absorbed person is unable to see anyone else but themselves. Therefore, to act in such unbecoming ways isn’t seen by the narcissist. There is no clear self-awareness to a fool. Others can see it in them, experience their world by projection, and suffer (often quietly) as a result.

When have you seen a foolish heart lately? And, in what ways has your own heart led you down foolish paths yourself? When “fools” submit to God, He imparts them with wisdom. That’s the grand irony of the gospel. God takes the foolishness of the cross and transforms it into the outstretched arms of love. God takes the foolish heart and makes it wise, courageous, eternally focused. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Cor. 1:26). I love the upside down nature of God and His Gospel unto our Salvation!

So, my friend, stop looking over your shoulder at the foolish heart of another and look inwardly and prayerfully toward your own foolishness of heart. Allow the Spirit to renew your heart and revive it into a wise and discerning heart. Invite God to lavish his forgiving love upon the foolish places in your heart where you have denied him full access. Then watch how God himself takes that which was previously foolish and makes it all brand new. That’s the power and the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to Him alone belongs all dominion, honor, and praise.



The Grateful Heart

In the Apostle Paul’s “rule of life” for the Colossians, he urges them to “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3: 15-17).  Notice his emphases at the end of each encouragement: be thankful, with gratitude, giving thanks.

A grateful heart is a blessed and joyful heart. Gratitude is the source of both. When we are grateful for our salvation, grateful for the grace extended to us so generously from God, grateful for the gift of life, every breath we are privileged to breathe, then our hearts are overflowing with love. A grateful heart is in essence a loving heart. Who among us doesn’t like to hear the words “thank you” or “I’m grateful to God for you” or “how grateful I am for life: whether in suffering, in plenty, or in want.” Yes, a grateful heart is a gift to the one who’s thankful and to all who cross their path.

When you examine your life, even the past 24 hours, for what or whom are you most grateful? This blog is being posted just three days after Ruth’s and my 33rd wedding anniversary. I am profoundly grateful to the Lord for the gift of my precious wife. I am giving voice to my gratitude to both God and directly to her so that the giver of the gift and the gift herself can know of my heart’s true delight. I treasure the gift of Ruth and when she knows of my grateful heart I can see her heart swell; when I deny her of my gratitude I can see her heart shrivel. O Lord, may you continue to ripen within me a grateful heart!

Crafting a personal rule of life includes the awareness of all that God has given to us thus far. When we have a grateful heart we are led into a deeper fellowship with the God of grace, goodness, and generosity. Each time I hear a story of how God has so sweetly developed gratitude in the heart of His followers, my heart grows with thankfulness and joy. Listen for yourself to the testimonies of others – at www.ruleoflife.com – and may your heart blossom with gratitude too.  I’m grateful that you took the time to read this blog, dear friend!



The Deceitful Heart

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” says the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 17: 9).He previously judges similar hearts, “Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. ” Jeremiah 9: 5. So beware of the deceiver and the slanderer and all who speak not the truth.

Our mouths speak forth that which is in the heart. If truth is in the heart, truths will be spoken. If lies are in the heart, lies will be spoken. Sometimes the lies we have believed are about a god we think we understand…but it’s a false god when what we believe about God isn’t based on the truth of His Word. Many think they know God but when their mouths give voice to that knowledge it can sound more like shame, ridicule, condemnation, judgment, or constant rebuke. That’s not the God we know as loving Father, forgiving Son, and empowering Spirit. But, many lie about their god and many others believe their words.

We can also lie about ourselves and others. We say things about ourselves that are untruths…and we are deceived. We say false things about others…and we deceive. Deception is beguilement, bluff, mystification, bad faith, and subterfuge, all acts to propagate beliefs that are not true, or not the whole truth (as in half-truths or omission). Deception can involve dissimulation, propaganda, and sleight of hand. It can employ distraction, camouflage or concealment. All of which when employed toward a friend or family member wreaks havoc on relationships.

I have seen the destruction and dismantling of relationships first hand when deceitful hearts have the upper hand. It’s demoralizing and debilitating for all involved. When such deceit is in ones heart toward God, it leads to eternal damnation. When deceit is in the center of human relationships, there is a separation that often goes unresolved. The antidote to deceit is truth. Knowing truth, living truth, and speaking truth will indeed set people free to fully live and fully receive the love that comes from the God of Truth to set free their captivity of deception.

“Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jeremiah 17: 14). Be free to love and serve with truth in your heart and love on your lips!



The Humble Heart

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11, 29, 30). Jesus is the perfect embodiment of a humble heart. He displays such a heart toward all who cross his path. He willingly humbles himself and gives up his life, even on the cross, for the sake of his followers.  He humbly receives all responses to his life and ministry and doesn’t fight back or stiff-arm anyone. His humility is contagious and beautiful. He invites us to humble our hearts and be filled up with God. Then and only then will we truly find rest for our souls.

As Jesus lovers and followers, we are to exhibit a humble heart – first and foremost toward God and then toward all who we know and serve. But, a humble heart begins with the choice of the will. “Humble yourself before the Lord” (James 4:10) as it emerges from the gift of God, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).  These same two phrases are repeated in 1 Peter 5: 5,6 and wrapped up by verse 7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” which harkens back to Jesus’ words previously quoted above.

A humble heart is evidence of a contrite heart. When we are willing to admit our brokenness and our desperate need for God, we humble ourselves before God and invite him to reign supremely in our hearts. When God’s Spirit resides in the deepest crevices of our hearts and transforms from the inside out, we are changed people. From such a humble heart we are available to love and serve others in Jesus’ name. But, it begins with our desire to submit ourselves to God.

I’m so encouraged by the many friends who are crafting their personal rule of life – read about and listen to their stories at www.RuleOfLife.com and be encouraged by their humility of heart. Each of them represents a life in discovery of true rest for their souls. Each are finding that a humble heart is the beginning of the journey toward a well-ordered life with God. Join us today as together we pursue a life that “acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with God” (Micah 6: 8).



The Hardened Heart

When the 21 year old Zedekiah became king of Judah (subsequently reigning in Jerusalem for eleven years), he did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before God or King Nebuchadnezzar. “He became stiff-necked and hardened his heart and would not turn to the Lord, the God of Israel” (2 Chronicles 36: 13). One of a string of kings who continually defied and defiled the ways of God and took matters into their own hands, Zedekiah mocked God’s messengers and stood up against anything that would breathe godliness into his heart.

When we stand up against God’s Word, defy His reign in our hearts and lives, we may not be as dramatic as Zedekiah but in fact our necks stiffen and our hearts harden nonetheless. Ever see such a display of arrogant exile of the heart? Ever experience it yourself? I recently confronted one such leader about the defiance in his heart toward God and those he was called to lead and serve. I could almost see his neck stiffen as he was confronted by truth about God and himself. He didn’t like what he was hearing and even though I could see a seared conscience, he resisted the invitation of God to soften his hardened heart. A sad sight indeed.

“Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 36: 14). The fruit of a hardened heart, and the sad reality, is unfaithfulness and defilement among others…the ripple effect of a stiff-necked person is that they espouse and encourage similar hearts to grow in others.

The invitation from God is quite the contrary…”Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Psalm 95: 7,8). Instead, let it be softened by God’s Word, in prayer as you hear his still small voice, and in community as you are challenged to embrace the truth (which will set you free!) from a brother or sister who cares enough to confront a hardened heart. The world needs leaders who confess their hardened heart and allow the Spirit to soften it for God’s glory.