Our scripture verse this week reminds us that we are to guard our hearts and keep it with all diligence, above all else, for it determines the course of life. That sounds vital. The word heart in this verse is the Greek word Cardia which means the center of moral being and clarity. We safeguard our hearts by hearing and acting on the Word of God (Romans 10:17; James 1:22 – 24) and being careful in what we see and hear (Proverbs 4:25; Psalm 119:37; Matthew 6:22-23). For example, if you are looking at scary movies or listening to frightening news stories, fear can replace faith in your heart. Or if you are listening to gossip, you may start believing the gossip you hear about a person. You may be familiar with the TV promotion of the Capital One credit card that says, “What’s in your wallet?” Well, today, we’re going to look at, “What’s in your heart?”
The Bible talks a lot about our hearts. It refers to our spirit or inner man and is the seat of our words, thoughts, and actions (Proverbs 23:7; 27:19). What we believe in our hearts is how we will respond in a crisis, and what we will say and do (Matthew 12:34-37). Our words and actions reflect the intention of our hearts (Matthew 15:18-20).
Therefore, what we believe in our hearts matters. Faith believes in God and His Word (Hebrews 11:6). That is how we come to salvation (John 3:16; 1:12; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:10; Ephesians 2:8-9), and receive everything Jesus wants to give us (John 6:35; 11:40; 14:12-14; Matthew 21:21-22), etc.
Our hearts can deceive us, and we may even think we are doing okay (Proverbs 21:2; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 1:8; Galatians 6:7), but it is the Lord who searches the heart and reveals it to us because only He truly knows and sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; Jeremiah 17:9 – 10; John 2:23-25). It is His Word that discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). So we must spend time in the Word so that it can change us and keep us from sin (Psalm 119:10-11; Romans 12:2).
LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart. Psalm 15:2 (NKJV)
Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right. Proverbs 20:11 (NKJV)
“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me, and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Matthew 15:7 – 9 (NKJV)
Father, sanctify us to Yourself. Help us to draw near to You with our hearts and not just with our mouths.
It is with a repentant heart that we change our minds about God and sin when we believe and ask Jesus Christ to forgive us and to come into our hearts as our Savior (Romans 10:9-10; 1 John 1:9). God will judge those that do not ask Jesus Christ into their heart to be Lord and Savior (Romans 1:21; 2:5). Jesus dwells in our hearts through faith (Ephesians 3:16 – 17) and comes to make His home in our hearts through the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). God has given us a new heart and put His laws within our hearts (Ezekiel 36:26-27; 2 Corinthians 5:17). We become the temple of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19)!
Jesus is knocking at the door to our hearts and wants to come in to be Lord as well, surrendered to His will (Revelation 3:20). We see in the Old Testament that God called King David a man after His heart (Acts 13:22). He had a heart that loved God and desired to do God’s will. Jesus said we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind (Matthew 22:37).
How do we do this? We can’t do it of ourselves. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us by revealing our hearts and helping us to change (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:26-27). Only He can bring the revelation, show us how to apply God’s Word to our lives, and give us the grace and power to walk in it (Psalm 119:11). When we purpose in our hearts to put God’s Word first and believe, speak, and do what it says, our lives and circumstances will change. Plant the Word in good soil (Mark 4:13-20)!
We need to minister to the Lord first through worship, prayer, and spending time with Him and His Word. Everything else flows from this place of relationship. He wants to recapture our hearts and for us to know His heart! The Lord is awakening our hearts to return to our first love for Him (Revelation 2:1-7). Our first love is the love that Jesus gives us for God and each other (1 John 4:6 – 19; Romans 5:5).
We are not to harden our hearts or have a divided heart (Ephesians 4:17-18; Proverbs 28:14; Hebrews 3:8). No man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). We are not to be half-hearted but love, seek, and trust the Lord with a whole heart (Psalm 119:10; Proverbs 3:5-6). When we give Him our heart and life, He can trust us with true riches, those of the kingdom (Luke 16:11).
Psalm 37:4 tells us that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He shall give us the desires of our hearts. Why would He do this? It is because our heart is connected with Him when we fellowship with Him through His Word, worship, and prayer. He can trust us when our hearts are surrendered to Him and come into alignment with His kingdom purposes.
It is the Holy Spirit who can tenderize and purify our hearts. The psalmist asked God to create in him a clean heart and renew a right spirit within him (Psalm 51:10). Let’s look at a few verses that speak of having a clean and pure heart.
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Psalm 24:3 – 5 (NKJV)
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8 (NKJV)
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22 (NKJV)
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 (NKJV)
Another purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5 (NKJV)
We are to reveal the heart of God (Psalm 40:10). When we are kind and show compassion and mercy to others, we are revealing the heart of God (see the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37). Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles. Proverbs 24:17 (NKJV)
We are to have a joyful, thankful heart and not allow it to be anxious or troubled. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3; Luke 4:18), and give us peace.
A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)
I will praise You with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. Psalm 9:1 (NKJV)
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you were also called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15 (NKJV)
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1 (NKJV)
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:26 (NKJV)
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6 – 7 (NKJV)
We are to have a heart of wisdom. The wisdom of God shows us how to live life according to a correct knowledge of God (Romans 11:33; Job 28:12-27; Jeremiah 10:12). Jesus is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:30; Romans 16:27) and is the visible image of the invisible God (John 14:9-10). God’s wisdom fills every book of the Bible because He authored it by His Holy Spirit. In the book of Proverbs, chapters 3-4 and 8-9 describe many of the benefits of wisdom. Wisdom is a key to ruling and reigning in life (Proverbs 8:15). A wise heart discerns time and judgment because, for every matter, there is a time and judgment (Ecclesiastes 8:5-6). Don’t take to heart everything you hear people say (Ecclesiastes 7:21).
So how do we get Godly wisdom? God’s Word makes us wise (Psalm 19:7; 119:98-100; 1 Corinthians 10:11). Also, we are to ask God for wisdom in faith, and He will give it to us liberally (James 1:5-8). The Bible makes it clear that the beginning or starting point of knowledge is the fear (or reverence) of the LORD, and wisdom brings the fear of the LORD when we listen to it (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). When we fear or revere God, we are putting Him and His Word first, trusting and obeying Him, and acknowledging what He says about Himself and His authority, which motivates us to act accordingly.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom and in all your getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7 (NKJV)
So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (NKJV)
We are not to be faint-hearted. God is the strength of our hearts.
My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26 (NKJV)
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:9 – 10 (NKJV)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)
What is the condition of your heart? We need to ask the Lord what shifts need to happen in our hearts. When we open our hearts to God, we gain clarity on our purpose and the path of our destiny. We need to have a repentant heart. If we want to see a revival for our nation (2 Chronicles 7:14), we must first set our hearts on seeing a revival in our lives. Revival begins with repentance.
God’s grace transforms a person’s heart and produces true holiness, which is a fruit of God’s grace (Galatians 5:22-23; John 15:5). Are you allowing God’s grace to change and transform your heart? We may have wounded hearts from circumstances that are or were beyond our control, which left scars. Or maybe there is a sin problem because we are setting our hearts on things other than God, which become idols in our lives, and then lead to bondage.
Idolatry is when we turn from God or His way to follow after other things or to ourselves to try to meet our needs. We run to other things in place of running to God because we believe the lie that God is not enough, He doesn’t care or love us, or He can’t help us, etc. Or maybe it’s because of pride that says we can handle things on our own, in our wisdom or strength.
Whatever the reason, these are not the truth, and they will lead us away from God and into bondage. We must replace the lies with the truth of God’s Word about who He is and His love for us. Correct thinking is when we recognize that everything we need is in God who loves us, and we don’t need to go anywhere else to get our needs met. God’s love and grace can heal and restore our wounded heart when we give it to Him. He also provides forgiveness when we ask Him, and His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit help us turn from and remove the idols from our hearts and lives.
Does your heart yearn for God (Psalm 42:1-2)? Does it burn for a more profound revelation of who the He is and what is to come? Jesus is coming back again to receive His Bride. Jesus told us that we must be ready because we don’t know the exact hour when He will return (Mark 13:32; Luke 12:40; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). We are to stay awake, be wise, establish our hearts and to watch for His return (Matthew 25:1-13; James 5:7-8; Revelation 3:3; 16:15).
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34 – 36 (NKJV)
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19 – 21 (NKJV)
Remember how the two disciples on the road to Emmaus said that their hearts burned within them while Jesus talked with them after His resurrection and opened the Scriptures to them (Luke 24:32). I want to encourage you to get into the Word and hide it in your heart. Draw near to the Lord and spend time in prayer, worship, and fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Listen to the Holy Spirit and follow His leading. May our hearts burn within us as we see Jesus in the Word!