The Word is My Life
Monday, December 11, 2017
My Words are life to those that find them . . . . Prov. 4:22

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June 2016 What's in Your Heart?

From My Life’s Journey                                                                               June, 2016

 

Topic:  What’s in Your Heart?  

Over 100 people have died or been injured in the night club massacre in Florida.  The thought of this tragedy has cycled in and out of my mind – thoughts of devastated family and friends, thoughts of unexpected loss.  I also have thought about the shooter, particularly about his heart.  What unforgiveness was lodged there? What wounds would he not release? Why did his heart hold fast to such wrath?   

God looks on the heart, and He is dealing with me about my heart, how I am to present it clean before Him, and how wrong attitudes, motives, and thoughts must not be allowed to fester.  Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” This passage means that what I have lodged in my heart will determine who I am and how I behave.  I may put on a good front before people, but eventually what is in my heart will be exposed.  In Florida, we all see how this young man thought in his heart, and we all see who he really was.   

As Christians, how can we avoid appearing one way and then breaking out in a completely different way?  The answer is by examining ourselves.  In 2 Corinthians 13:5 (Amplified), Paul says, “Test and evaluate yourselves to see whether you are in the faith and living your lives as [committed] believers.” The Message Bible says, “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.”  

If you’ll remember a couple years back, there was a Capitol One credit card commercial that asked, “What’s in your wallet?”  Something similar can be asked of Christians: “What’s in your heart?”  I often counsel by asking someone to “identify the elephant in the room.”  That simply means identify that overwhelming thing that takes up space in your life, mind, or heart.  The blessings of God cannot flow freely and abundantly unless the elephant is dealt with.  What is the elephant in the room in your heart?  Are you easily angered?  Do you hold grudges and think on them for days?  Do you have difficulty forgiving and letting things go?  Do you get jealous of others? Are you fearful? Are you a negative person? If these elephants aren’t confronted, they will eventually take root – a bitter root – in your heart.  The Word proclaims that what I think on, especially as it takes root in my heart, will determine what I become.  

Give the devil no ground in your life, heart, or mind as he comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  Instead, we are instructed to guard our hearts.  Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Powerful!  The Amplified Bible says, “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” Both Proverbs 4:23 and Proverbs 23:7 connect your heart to your life.  Do you ask, “Why is my life so tough?  Why am I always taking two steps forward and three steps back?” Try this: Examine your heart.  Our lives will not improve based on who the president is, who our bosses are, or who our pastors are.  The springs of life flow from the heart.  What’s in your heart? 

What provision does God make to transform our hearts?  Psalm 1:2-3 tells us to meditate on the Word of God and our lives will be like trees planted by rivers of water – bringing forth much fruit – and whatever we put our hands to shall prosper.  God transforms the heart as you meditate, fill your mind and heart with His Word, and yield to His instructions.  He will instruct you and show you the path for your life (Psalm 16:11) through His Word and however else He chooses.  Also, Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” As Christians, we shouldn’t think of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3).  We shouldn’t think we can open our minds and hearts continually to sin, unforgiveness, or anger and expect our lives to spring forth abundantly. We must be people who meditate on the Word and allow it to renew our minds (Romans 12:2) and change our lives.   

Let me share what God showed me about my heart as I meditated in the Word one morning.  I began to think about something hurtful that was said to me.  In the devotion for that day, the author said that pain and disappointment should not be allowed to “reverberate in your heart.” Reverberate means to echo or vibrate.  God arrested me right there, and immediately I prayed and confessed that I would not participate in allowing disappointment to reverberate (echo) in my heart; I would cast all of my care on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7) and leave it there.  I wrote this in my prayer notebook and continue to guard my heart by offering all to God.  

We live in a day where many look for something external to blame for problems and ills.  There is no end to finger pointing.  As Christians, let’s take the road that most do not travel down.  That road is one where we look internally – at our own hearts first – to see what we need to bring before God and get free of.  God invites us: “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). The New Living Translation begins with “Come now, let’s settle this.” 

I will close with the work of Robert Frost.  He wrote a poem entitled The Road Not Taken, and it concludes, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."  Today, the road less traveled by is the road where people examine their own hearts, bring their elephants in the room before God, and seek His face for freedom and life. That road will make all the difference. 

Ever onward, ever forward~

 

Iris Barrett, Ed.D.

"The Word is My Life" Training Ministry