Tag Archives: Heart

Guard Your Heart!

Guard

Keep your heart with all diligence!

From the moment I got saved I’ve been obsessed with the heart. I continuously think about what it means to have a clean and pure heart and I’m always trying to find ways to ensure that my heart is protected from festering filth. My understanding that God searches the heart of men has increased my awareness of my own heart and instilled in me a genuine desire to keep the source of my actions as pure as possible.

With that being said, you’d understand why I appreciate the advise given in Proverbs 4:23

 Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

I have not begun to unravel the depths and mysteries of this verse but I suspect God will continue to reveal it’s true meaning to me over time. For now though, I’d like to share some ways I’ve learned to keep my heart guarded when dealing with painful or disappointing situations.

The more I interact with people who disappoint me is the more I realise that their actions not only affect my mood and my view of them, but it affects my heart. The more upset I become when I’m hurt by the words or actions of others is the easier it is to infect my heart. In fact if I were to be blatantly honest with myself, I’d admit that when I’m not careful, I allow things to fester unnecessarily, causing an ugly bitterness to develop that wasn’t there before and then I have to take deliberate measures to get back to a place where I can genuinely love that person again.

The danger I’ve found in my own behaviour is my ability to tell myself that I’ve let things go and believe those words without truly examining the truth of my statement. In the past I’d simply say to myself that I’m fine and never go through the process of feeling hurt and angry and then finding practical ways to forgive and move on. Recently though, I’ve found that praying for people whom I feel have wronged me and blessing God for creating them has helped me to keep my heart pure. When I acknowledge that the person who’s done me wrong is also a child of God, whom he loves and cares for then my perspective shifts. I begin to honour God for who they are to Him, and for what He is doing in their lives and so I shift my thinking. That prayer impacts my heart and helps me to forgive and love people in spite of our misunderstandings and disagreements.

Another way I’ve learned to keep my heart is by being deliberate in having meaningful conversation with them even while I’m hurting. This one is a bit tough to do at first but once I let go of my ego and start speaking I find it becomes easier to carry the conversation forward. The key, I believe, to being successful in this, is to remember that our lives should please God. That having this conversation is not about me feeling good or better, but it’s about honouring God and being a good example so His name would be glorified. Most times I find that having a lighter conversation that isn’t directly related to the problem I’m facing with the person helps with my frame of mind and makes it easier to raise the issue I’m having in a way that facilitates healing conversations. This also helps in changing my perception of people in my mind. Once my mind is changed, then my actions change and my heart is void of all malice against that person.

Photo Credit: http://www.essentialparenting.com/2014/12/10/3-ways-the-heart-becomes-hardened/

Sometimes though, in spite of having these methods I still find myself holding on to negative words and situations much longer than I intend to.  I sometimes refuse to forgive others because I feel a justified sense of satisfaction when I can look at them and say they’ve done me wrong and highlight the flaws of their character. Sometimes when I think about some people I still only see the wrong they did to me, I still get annoyed or hurt when I think of words they said or things they did to me and I’m still not open to genuinely connecting with those people  on any level – all because I choose not to be honest about the negative feelings I’m harbouring against them in my heart.

Recently though, I’ve started examining my flaws and I’ve begun to truly appreciate that we all have things in us that God is working on. I’m not perfect by any stretch and if God can forgive me for the many times I’ve messed up and the many times I’m going to mess up, then I can forgive people that have done wrong against me. Holding a grudge feeds a desire to be right and righteous, but the bible uses the analogy that our righteousness are like filthy rags before God.

I’ve come to realise that one of the main keys to keeping my heart in diligence is to always aim to please God. Not just in my ways but in my thoughts as well. A heart that is set on pleasing God will remain guarded and will not be easily affected by the poison of this world. I know that there is a lot more to be understood and applied from Proverbs 4:23 but this is what I have to offer on the subject for now.

What other insights did you get from this verse?

 

 

Tagged , ,

Warning Signs of Developing Hardness of Heart

Hardening is like a callus or like the tough bone fibers that bridge a fracture. Spiritual hardening begins with self-sufficiency, security in one’s self and self satisfaction. The real danger is that at some point, repeated resistance to God will yield an actual inability to respond, which the Bible describes as a hardened heart. Insensitivity indicates advanced hardening. Here are some of the warning signs:

1. Disobeying – Pharaoh’s willful disobedience led to his hardened heart.

Exodus 4:21  And the Lord told Moses, “When you arrive back in Egypt, go to Pharaoh and perform all the miracles I have empowered you to do. But I will harden his heart so he will refuse to let the people go.

2. Having wealth and prosperity- Taking God’s blessings for granted can cause us to feel as though they were owed to us.

Deuteronomy 8:6-14“So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. 10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.11 “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. 12 For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, 13 and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! 14 Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.

3. Rebelling and being discontented – Suffering or discomfort can create an attitude that blames God.

Psalm 95:8The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness.

4. Rejecting a deserved rebuke – Rejecting God’s gift makes our neck stiff and our heart hard.

Proverbs 29:1Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.

5. Refusing to Listen – Refusing to listen leads to a loss of spiritual hearing.

Zechariah 7:11-13 11 “Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. 12 They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.13 “Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

6. Failing to respond – Listening to God with no intention of obeying produces an inability to obey.

Matthew 13:11-15 11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see.They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,

‘When you hear what I say,
    you will not understand.
When you see what I do,
    you will not comprehend.
15 For the hearts of these people are hardened,
    and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
    so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
    and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
    and let me heal them.’

Reference: Romans 9, Page 1911. (n.d.). In Life Application Study Bible. Tyndale House.

Tagged ,

Heart Matters: Facing Filth

heart_xray2

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

My fascination with the human heart and the way it works is peaked more and more each time I see the potential for both good and evil in it. With each day that passes I am faced with the reality that purification of the heart and by extension, the mind is a daily endeavor that one must approach with humility and vigor.

Like David I continuously pray the prayer:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)

God in His faithfulness continues to answer me and I am always surprised by what I see. As I grow and learn I’m realizing that my response to my heart condition is maturing. In times past, any revelation of the ills of my heart would have sprouted a fountain of tears and I would have been launched into a week of depressed prayers and brokenness, however this has not been the case recently.

With the passing of time and what I assume is increased wisdom, my approach to facing the filth of my heart has evolved.  Instead of bringing on the waterworks and curling into a ball of despair I am now able to acknowledge God in the process and open myself to change. Recently I’ve been reflecting on a number of things God has been showing me and I feel an explainable peace from the words in Hebrews 12:6

For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives. 

I can’t help but feel honored that God loves me enough to discipline me. To take the time to show me my wrongs so that he can make them right. For some reason beyond me I mean enough to this great being that he won’t allow me to continue living with a filthy heart. I fall more and more in love with Jesus as I embrace the depth of this love.

Proverbs 3:11-12 is somehow illuminated in my mind’s eye

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,as a father the son in whom he delights.

As with everything surrounding God there’s a choice to be made when facing discipline from our Father. We can choose to be weary of it and despise God because of it or we can embrace discipline and witness the transformation of our lives because of it.

I know that for each of us our journey would be different and we would experience God in different ways however, I wish to encourage you. It doesn’t matter where you are on your journey with Christ the key is to be open to Him and embrace His ways; chastisement and all. It’s not always easy to accept what God reveals about our hearts but it will be worth it to open those things to Him and have Him remove them and continue the purification process.

Tagged , , , , ,

Daily Dose – Acceptable Unto God

Pleasing to God

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

The God that we serve is all knowing, all seeing and all powerful. When he looks at us he searches our hearts, listen to the words we speak and examine what we meditate upon.

Let us purpose in our hearts to think, speak and meditate on those things that would be pleasing to God. For unlike men, he sees beyond our outward appearance and our portrayal of right. God sees us for who we really are.

Presenting ourselves as  living sacrifice, pleasing to God is not an overnight venture. It is something that we have to work on daily, something that we have to purpose into being.

So as you go through each day remember that whatsoever you have in your hearts, think about and the speak, should be pleasing to your Father in heaven.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Daily Dose – Clean Up Your Act

small-broom-1

Job 42:2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

There is nothing we can hide from God. He knows our thoughts and much more our deeds.

What do we think about? How does our mind respond to unfavorable situations or people?

Sometimes we “act” the Christian role when faced with negativity but our hearts and minds are far from that of Christ.

God looks at the heart first, so while acting right is commendable it is in vain if we harbor bitterness in our hearts regarding anything. It’s time to think right and act right.

God is looking at us, be sure that what he sees is clean both inside and out.

Tagged , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: