Bible Word Study
By Joe Banghart
Table of Contents
Definition of the Word Heart in Scripture(Genesis 18:5)
The Lord Seeth the Heart(I Samuel 16:7)
Our Confidence in Christ and Our Heart (I Peter 3:15)
Our Mouth Speaks What is in Our Hearts (Matthew 15:19)
Murder in the Heart
Adultery in the Heart
Committing Adultery in the Heart
Thefts and the Heart
False Witness and the Heart
Blasphemies and the Heart
Treasure and Our Heart (Matthew 6:21)
Treasures of Our Heart and Fruit (Matthew 12:33,35)
Peace of Mind and Our Heart (Philippians 4:7)
Thinking on the Things of God From Our Heart (Philippians 4:8)
Inner Desires and the Heart (Romans 10:1)
Our Hearts and Drawing Nigh to God (James 4:8)
Drawing Nigh to God With a True Heart (Hebrews 10:27)
God Knows the Secrets of Our Hearts (Psalms 44:20-21)
God Searches Our Imaginations (I Chronicles 28:9)
God Prepares Our Hearts (I Chronicles 29:17-18)
God Causes Light to Shine in Our Hearts (II Corinthians 4:6)
Hardness of Heart (Mark 16:14)
Salvation of Our Heart (Romans 10:9-10)
Loving God With All Our Heart (Mark 12:30,33)
Lust Can Destroy the Hear t(Romans 1:24)
Doctrine and the Heart (Romans 6:17)
To Purpose in Our Heart (II Corinthians 9:7)
Troubled Hearts (John 14:1)
Worry and the Heart/Part 1 (Matthew 6:25)
Worry and the Heart/Part 2 (Philippians 4:6-7)
Teaching Gods Word From the Heart (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
Psalms 119 and the Heart (Psalms 119)
Meditation and the Heart/Part 1 (Psalms 19:14)
Meditation and the Heart/Part 2 (Psalms 1:2)
Meditation and the Heart/Part 3 (Psalms 119:15-16)
Meditation and the Heart/Part 4 (Luke 1:37)
Imagination and the Heart/Part 1 (Proverbs 6:16-18)
Imagination and the Heart/Part 2 (Proverbs 6:16-18)
Imagination and the Heart/Part 3 (II Corinthians 10:5)
Imagination and the Heart/Part 4 (Philippians 4:8)
Wicked Imaginations and the Heart (Genesis 6:3)
Musing Within Our Hearts (Psalms 39:3)
Anger in Our Hearts (Ephesians 4:26)
Decisions and the Heart (Acts 5:4)
Being Cut to the Heart (Acts 5:33)
A Heart Waxed Gross (Acts 28:27)
Our Heart and a Delayed Answer to Prayer From God (Proverbs 13:12)
Trusting God Not Our Own Understanding in the Heart (Proverbs 3:5)
Keeping the Heart With All diligence (Proverbs 4:23)
What to Write Upon Our Hearts (Proverbs 7:1-3)
Heaviness In the Heart (Proverbs 12:25)
Filled With Our Own Ways (Proverbs 14:14)
A Sound Heart (Proverbs 14:30)
A Merry Heart/Part 1 (Proverbs 15:13)
A Merry Heart/Part 2 (Proverbs 15:13)
Pride and the Heart (Proverbs 16:5)
Making Plans In Our Heart (Proverbs 19:21)
A Prudent Persons Heart (Proverbs 18:15)
Heart” (Hebrew lebab/leb [b’bel], Gk. kardia [kardiva]) occurs over one thousand times in the Bible, making it the most common anthropological term in the Scripture. It denotes a person’s center for both physical and emotional-intellectual-moral activities; sometimes it is used figuratively for any inaccessible thing. The Heart as Center of Physical Activity. “Heart” denotes to both ancient and modern peoples the beating chest organ protected by the rib cage. Ancient people, however, understood the heart’s physical function differently than moderns. From their viewpoint the heart was the central organ that moved the rest of the body. Ancients ate to strengthen the heart and so revive the body. Abraham offers his weary guests food so that they might “sustain their hearts” and then go on their way ( Gen 18:5 ). Since moderns understand the anatomy differently than the ancients, the English versions gloss the Hebrew to accommodate it to a more scientific viewpoint. (Baker on line Bible Dictionary) It is my prayer that all we do as servants of the most high God will always originate within our hearts. That the words we live by each day will be found within the pages of the Bible.
The Lord Seeth the Heart
The word “heart” in scripture is defined as the seat of our affections. “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). Scripture clearly instructs us concerning what proceeds out of our mouth comes from the heart. “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man” (Matthew 15:18). Christ was teaching concerning what defiles a man. What we eat if the food is clean or unclean enters the body then is passed through normal body processes and eliminated. But when we open our mouths and speak we are expressing those things which originate in our heart and “these things always contaminate the man.” When we work with our hands we often have dirt on them. Dirt from the hands can enter the body by the mouth and travel to the stomach and finally be discharged. This is not what defiles a man according to the teaching of Christ. It is our verbal expression of evil words that comes from the heart that defiles us. This is one of many scriptural reason why we should memorize the Word of God.
Our Confidence in Christ and Our Heart
As a Christian we should be ready always to give an answer to anyone that may ask us about our spiritual conversion? “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (I Peter 3:15). If we do indeed set Jesus, the Messiah apart in our hearts as Lord, we will have done so for good reasons. Hence, the rationale that supports our decision should be prepared and we should be able to give it on short notice. The Christian who has the assurance of salvation in his heart that he is saved (Romans 8:16) must “study to show himself approved unto God” (2 Tim 2:15) in order to bring the rationale of his mind into more complete conformity with the assurance of his heart. A first step involves a systematic scripture memory program. Every day should be given to scripture memory and then application of those scriptures when ask for “the reason of the hope” that is within us. When is the last time any of us spoke to someone about how to trust Christ as personal savior?
Our Mouth Speaks What Is In Our Heart
What flows from the mouth comes from the heart. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). How the word “evil thoughts” appear in scripture. Read the following, “disputation (Rom. 14:1), “disputing, (Phil. 2:14), “doubting” (I Tim. 2:8), “imaginations” (Romans 1:21), “Reasoning” (LK. 9:46), and “thought”(Mt. 15:19, Mk. 7:21, Lk. 2:35). The word “evil thoughts” refers to those verbal arguments we may attempt in trying to think through a point. The word is used of thoughts that may not have been audibly expressed, (I Cor. 3:20, Jam. 2:4). This is the mental gymnastics of any person that has these “evil thoughts” in trying to justify their sins. This is when we become masterminds of intellectual prostitution and adept to rationalization in an attempt to make excuses for that which we do or think which keeps us from a close fellowship with Jesus Christ. Each individual should examine what it is they read, watch on television, discuss with others, or listen to on the radio to help guard against evil thoughts.
Murder and the Heart
The second action listed that flows from our hearts and causes great harm to our life is murders. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). Two definitions appear in scripture. First it is murderous thoughts and words (Mat. 15:19; Mk. 7:22; Rom. 1:29); with reference to the crime of Barabbas’ fellow- prisioners ( Mk. 15:7; Lk. 23:19,25). Second the crimes of sinners in the last days-Rev. 9:21. The reference to the fate of the early Christians and the Old Testament saints -Heb. 11:37. Murder in its psychological impetus begins in a haughty contempt, which intensifies into hatred then often ends in the taking of a life. All murders start within the heart and then proceed into action. This is one of many reasons the book of Psalms tells us, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10). Maybe you have never had this type of intensive hate for someone! “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Sam. 16:7).
Adultery and the Heart
The third human internal action that is listed which flows from a heart not given to Jesus Christ is adulteries. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). Two meanings are found within scripture for adulteries. One is the adulterous thoughts of the unregenerate heart- Mt. 15:19; Mk. 7:22. The second is the adulterous act of the flesh- John 8:3. Adultery and fornication are the forms of physical prostitution that often accompany intellectual prostitution. Our society is filled with the invitation of sex and encourages open adultery and fornication. These desires come from within, out of our hearts, and will create within us a spirit of opposition to the Holy Spirit, Word of God, and love for Jesus Christ. I offer the following challenge for anyone that will take me up on it. Research the Bible and tell me if any real and definite distinction between fornication and adultery exist? I would enjoy hearing from many of you on this challenge.
Committing Adultery in the Heart
Can we commit sin in our heart just by looking at someone or something? “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). Jesus is telling all of us that if we look on a woman to lust then we have violated the seventh commandment. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Jesus is not condemning everyone who looks at a woman; only those who look at a woman for the specific purpose of illicit sexual fantasy. Our society continues to promote sexual fantasy and desires in advertisement, television programs, movies, magazines, the internet, books, and on the streets. Society teaches us to look upon a woman with these lustful desires and calls it normal. Christ is teaching that society is wrong and His Word teaches us that such looking is adultery. In terms of cause and result, we can say that the adulterous thought in the heart is the cause of the adulterous look. Our heart being the seat of our emotions must focus on the Word of God or else we will fall into the evil advertised on every street corner.
Thefts and the Heart
The fourth reaction that comes from our heart and defiles us is thefts. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19). The meaning of the word theft is to steal or commit a theft. Read Mt. 19:18; Mk. 10:19; Lk. 18:20; Romans 13:9. The disciples alleged theft of Jesus’ body –Mt. 27:64; 28:13. The Sermon on the Mount –Mt. 6:19,20. Jesus is teaching us that earthly wealth is subject to fluctuations of the economic order, over which we have little if any control, and any other wealth is subject to chemical decay or being stolen. How often we hoard these earthly possessions is the question we should be asking? The disease of materialism above God turns into idolatry and takes us from the will of God. Thefts would include anything that God has given us and we have not given back to Him. Our prayer should be, “O Lord help me dedicate everything you have given me into your service and not consume it just for my pleasures.”
False Witness and the Heart
The fifth reaction that comes from our heart and defiles us is false witness. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19). The meaning of false witness occurs in at least two places in scripture. First the deceptive thought and word from the heart of the unregenerate – Mt. 15:19. Second the people who were willing to give false witness against Jesus at His trial –Mt. 26:59. A false witness is found within the heart of any person that refused to accept the clear teaching of scripture concerning Christ. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). If we attempt to undertake a task in word or action apart from Christ we could be in danger of being called a false witness. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17). A false witness is a person, saved or unsaved, that attributes the authority of eternal life to any other object or person on earth or heaven other than Jesus Christ.
Blasphemies and the Heart
The sixth reaction that comes from our heart and defiles us is blasphemous utterances. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19). To blaspheme is to speak evil of God, an evil speaker. Paul warned young Timothy about the coming apostasy, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Timothy 3:2-5). The evil list of the internal actions that flows from the heart involves transgressions of the sixth, seventh, eigth and ninth commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). When we do not speak the truth concerning the Word of God could we be guilty of blaspheme ?
Treasure and Our Heart
What is it that our heart sees as a treasure? “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21). The question that is presented to us has two major parts. First where is your heart? Second what do you place your eternal values (treasure) on? Materialism knows only that which it sees, hears, smells, tastes, and touches. Only hearts that have been turned heavenward by the Holy Spirit’s illumination are able to recognize the unseen treasures of heaven as objects of reality. Why is it that some people have a heart that loves the treasures of heaven and others have a heart that love the things of this earth? We can by faith accept what Jesus Christ has for us or we can look around and place value in all the eartly things we can see. Which type of heart possed treasure will have eternal value? We cannot say these treasures are of equal important or we violate Matthew 6:22, “The light of the body is the eye. Therefore if your eye be uncomplicated your entire body will be full of light.” Where are your values? On earth or in heaven? Are they temporal or eternal? (II Cor. 4:16-18).
Treasure of Our Heart and Fruit
Scripture is clear on good things flowing from a heart that has the treasure of Heaven within it. “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit…A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matt. 12:33,35). Jesus is teaching that we should get on one side or the other. He is teaching us to eschew inconsistency and seek to eliminate from our philosophy and conduct ethical elements that cannot be reconciled with His Word. Regardless of the root being good or evil the teaching illustrates that what our heart feels in overflowing abundance our mouth is sure to express. If we speak about what we think about, then the way to avoid idle and empty words is to bring “into captivity evey thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:5). Our hearts and words from our mouths will justify or condemn us. What is it that flows from our mouth from the time we wake in the morning till the time we fall asleep at night?
Peace of Mind and Our Heart
How can we find peace in our hearts and mind? “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). The picture given is that of a garrison keeping watch over a town. Paul is saying that God’s peace builds a shield, guard, protective wall or moat around the Christian mind and heart. David said, “The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; whom shall I fear? (Psalms 27:1). A victorious Christian is one completely impervious to surrounding forces of disequilibrium because he has the peace of God surrounding him like the wall of a medieval castle, with it’s moat being deep and wide. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). We can have peace flowing from our hearts and minds because we are children of God. Make sure Christ is your personal savior or you cannot have this peace.
Thinking on the Things of God From Our Heart
What is it we should be thinking about from the seat of our heart that will give us the peace of God? “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8). Paul is telling us to stir up our hearts and minds with thoughts of virtuous and praiseworthy things. We are to look for the excellence and for that which is praiseworthy and to reflect always upon them. That which is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtues and praise, all have source in Christ (Col. 2:3,9,10; 3:3). Our society presents to us daily a dose of perverted sex, violence, profit of materialism at the expense of others, war, and doubt about who Jesus Christ is. It is obvious why we need more today that ever before the items listed that support us in finding the peace of God in our hearts. When you face trials and tribulation in this life where do you seek peace for your troubled heart?
Inner Desires and the Heart
Our heart is the seat of our inner desires and from it we express what is of greatest value to us. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved” (Romans 10:1). The desire of Paul’s heart was that Israel might be saved. This inner desire from his heart took action not only in words but also in his continued outward service to help them come to Christ. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). That which each person desires is deeply rooted within our hearts. Regardless of how we may try and make excuses for what we say or do these excuses can only harm us and hinder the work God has given us to do in confessing Christ before others. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in Heaven” (Matt. 10:32). How often we justify our lack of being an active witness for Christ. This is actually a mental exercise of what our true desires concerning Christ are and fear takes hold. I can find no excuse that is acceptable to God why each of us cannot be the witness he desires. What excuse’s do we have and when we make these excuse’s why is it that we cannot not find ourselves on our faces in deep conviction for the lack of being a witness for him?
Our Hearts and Drawing Nigh to God
Our hearts and what we should do to draw nigh to God. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8). Notice how important the order of this verse is for our heart condition. God draws near to us when and if we draw near to Him. Our spiritual growth in Christ is social as well as emotional and intellectual. Hands as well as hearts and minds are subject to it. This is telling each of us if we desire a close relationship with Christ we must take the first step and as this process takes place we will experience an intellectual and emotional house cleaning. He who loves God and the world cannot serve both. (Mt. 6:24; James 4:4). To serve one is to fight against the other. It is by “the renewing of our mind” that we offer ourselves as an acceptable sacrifice to God (Rom. 12:1&2). Will each of us immediately “draw night to God” and seek His cleansing of our lack of trust in Him and His Word?
Drawing Nigh to God With a True Heart
What is the teaching of scripture when we are told “to draw nigh with a true heart?” “Let us draw night 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). What is a heart that is true? It is a heart without deceit, dissimulation or doubt. A true heart is one that has assurance that its source is in faith. The practice of faith produces assurance in our heart while belief in works only generates doubt and anxiety (Heb. 10:3). The sprinkling is blood (not water) and it is on the heart (not the head). This is a metaphorical reference to the fact that almost all things are by the law are cleansed with blood (Heb. 9:20-22). In this verse note the close connection between the will and intellect and between emotion and thought. It is one thing to have the law of God in our hearts, by the grace of God, and having the law of God inscribed in our intellect by a consistent study of His Word.
God Knows the Secrets of Our Heart
Is it possible for someone else to see into our heart and actually understand what we are thinking? “If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; shall not God search this out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart”(Psalms 44:20-21). When you place any substance under a microscope you can adjust the focus and see clearly deep within that object. God understands everything about each of us and searches the very depth of our hearts. “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my down sitting and my uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off” (Psalms 139:1-2). We can act like no one is looking at us and even continue to do the things that meet the needs of our flesh and leave God out of our daily life. We can say we love him and act like we really have no clue of who he is. When you find yourself in this condition remember “he knoweth the secrets of the heart.” What secrets are we hiding from others and what is it we must change to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ in our life?
God Searches Our Imaginations
Is God searching our imaginations and minds? If so then most of us are in real trouble with him. “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever” (I Chronicles 28:9). What is it that each of us glory in? Could it be riches, might, wisdom, pleasure, or just life without consideration of God? “Thus saith the Lord, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24). Someone may tell us they love the Lord yet we see no evidence within things they do that proves the statement. Remember God understands all your imaginations and thoughts.
God Prepares Our Hearts
God alone prepares our heart for his service. We must first willingly offer our hearts to him. “I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee” (I Chronicles 29:17-18). Who is it that actively prepares your heart each day? Do you allow time for prayer and study of the Word of God? The places you go and the people you surround yourself with are they people that need the Lord? Are you able to tell them about what Jesus Christ has done for them or do they see something wlse in you? Who is it that prepares your heart each day? Only you can answer this question.
God Causes Light to Shine In Our Hearts
God has enlightened our hearts. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6). If God has “enlightened our hearts” why is it we continue to walk in darkness? Have we by faith, from the seat of our own hearts, really and honestly said yes to the salvation of our soul to Christ? If we answer yes then why are we still walking around in darkness? God has chosen us to not walk in darkness but in light. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into the marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9). If you are saved and Christ is within your life, he has called you from darkness into light. Could it be you are walking in darkness because your heart has never been enlightened by Christ?
Hardness of Heart
Can a Christian experience hardness of heart? “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and unbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen” (Mark 16:14). Jesus directly attacks the reason for their unbelief and hardness of heart. Many eye- witnesses said they had seen Jesus in His resurrected body, and these most trusted disciples rejected these testimonies on a theory that such could not be the case. Remember Christ had previously taught them concerning His death and resurrection yet when it takes place they harden their hearts and refuse to believe it. These disciples, huddled together in a secret room, with the enemy outside, only a short time after the death of Christ, had great fear and could not accept what others told them. How often do we find ourselves huddled together within our own hearts accepting only what we believe to be true and remain hard in our hearts towards what scripture has taught us? How often have we been torn between our desire to believe and our natural inclinations to accept false teaching other than scripture? Yes a Christian can experience hardness of heart.
Salvation and Our Heart
What about our heart and salvation? “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9 & 10). Notice the essential order of events that transforms the heart of any individual that believes in Christ. First you must “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus” then “believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead.” It is in the heart that man “believeth unto righteousness.” If we have followed this process we have from the heart to the mouth expressed “confession unto salvation.” “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Someone hears the “word of God” from another person and then that individual can practice faith for salvation. Without the “word of God” and faith acting within the life of a person salvation will not take hold in the heart.
Loving God With All Our Heart
How can we understand what the Bible is saying when it tells us “to love God with all our heart?” “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment…And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself…” (Mark 12:30, 33). First our love for God has its source in our hearts symbolically used to refer to our emotions. Second flowing from the heart we are to love God with all our soul, the sociologically developed self which makes us conscious of God and our earthly environment. Third we are to love God with all, our mind, which is our intellectual capacity to reason. Fourth we are to love God with all our, strength which refers to our bodily prowess measured in physical strength and vigor. When we love God with this total capacity of our being we will automatically keep the first four commandments. This is what the Bible means when it instructs us to love God with all our heart.
Lust Can Destroy the Heart
Will the lust in our hearts influnce how God deals with us? “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lust of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves”(Romans 1:24). God saw the reasons of the heathen in rejecting His holiness. The people in Rome were polytheists, willing to create as many gods as necessary to meet their needs. Once a decision like this is made all moral standards are gone. There is nothing either good or evil. Situation ethics – the religion of the secular humanist becomes the rule. They believe no two situations are alike and there can be no absolute standard of morality. They had the desire to change a heterosexual partner for a homosexual sex partner. Once we redefine natural law and set its pattern of normality in paths beside those set by the Creator, there is no limit to their deviation. Look at our country today and what our legal system has created apart from God’s holy plan for the family. Scripture is clear that God has since the beginning made man and woman for the structure of the human family. It is a reality that portions of our society are given over to “the lust of their own hearts.”
Doctrine and the Heart
Are we to trust the doctrine of the Word of God from our hearts? If so then what will happen within our heart and what will we desire? “But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Romans 6:17). Paul writes to the Christians in Rome and expresses his joy that they had a supernatural change of heart to serve God. Before regeneration they had consistently served sin. But their regeneration experience had changed all that. They would still have problems with the flesh (Rom. 7:15-25), but their heart would not be in it. When a Christian is saved he trades his slavery to sin for slavery to righteousness (Rom. 6:18). If a person is saved they have found from that point forward they are faced with the compelling demands upon their wills to perform the righteous acts which God has before prepared “that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). From the point of salvation our new nature is permanently on God’s side. We should not continue the practice of habitual sin if our hearts belong to God. Place scripture into your hearts through memory of it’s content which is the doctrine of God for life.
To Purpose in Our Heart
Should we purpose in our heart when we give of our possessions to God ? “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Cor. 9:7). Our intellect may dictate a gift that the emotion would reject as too great a sacrifice. In such a case, let the heart rule. The gift that originates out of sadness or compulsion and does not come from the heart is not good. Remember God does not need our money but He desires a heart that gives out of love. We can only glorify Him with our willingness to give all that we have to him on the proposition that if we do, He will not allow us to suffer want. The word “cheerful” means hilarious. It takes great faith for us to give hilariously of all that we have. It is important that we honor God with the attitude of our giving, since God is the source of all that is good. The statement “purposeth in his heart” means we should make up our mind by consulting our heart as we seek to serve the Lord in all area’s of our life, especially when it involves that which we give of earthly possessions.
Can a Christian worry to the point that it can influence their service for Christ ? “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). Christ is saying to His disciples, “You must stop worrying. You believe in God. Believe also in me.” Worry is the anxious care that comes from assuming a responsibility, which we are incapable of discharging. Christ is not talking about meeting that which we are responsible to meet, because that is our God-given responsibility. He is talking about assuming somebody else’s responsibility, namely, God’s responsibility, which we cannot assume because we cannot take His place. Worry accomplishes nothing, except to destroy the worrier; consequently, it is profitless. Faith is the antidote to worry. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Worry in the Bible is not dealt with as a weakness or a failure that is excused because everyone worries. Worry is dealt with as a sin and the teaching of Christ on this vital subject is for Christians only. Why ? The answer can only be found in Christ.
Worry and the Heart/1
Worry originates in the heart and is demonstrated through our words, actions, and deeds. “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on it. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” (Matthew 6:25) It is striking that whenever there is reference to worry in the Bible, it is cast in the terms of a command. Any commandment that God gives that is not obeyed is a sin. Peter, in speaking of the same problem, said “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (I Peter 5:7). The word care means anxiety or “anxious care.” This is a command from God and not given so the child of God may or may not respond. When God gives a specific command to His child and that command is not fulfilled, the child of God has sinned in disobedience. The first step to conquer worry or “anxious care” from our hearts is confession of our own sin of doubting God. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
Worry and the Heart/2
Another antidote for worry is given to us by the apostle Paul. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). Peace is that which settles upon a mind guarded by Christ. The mind over which Christ stands sentry duty cannot give way to gnawing anxiety or worry. So, if we would have Him stand guard duty over our minds to resist worry, as we recognize each need, we must present it to our heavenly Father, who is able to meet it. We trust Him to do it, and we walk away from the committal with confidence that God who has heard will supply the need. God knows our needs and has the power to supply them. He will meet our needs as we trust Him and ask Him to do it. We are well practiced on how to worry but not on how to trust. We must release our grip on all worries and anxious cares and let them fall off on Christ, counting His word as the truth, and allow Him to meet all our needs.
Teaching God’s Word From the Heart
Teaching the Word of God from our hearts. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deut. 6:6-7). Study alone cannot place the Word of God in our heart. We should have the Word of God placed in our memory. If you ask the average Christian if they would be involved in a scripture memory program they would say no. Unless each of us make an effort in this important area we will not be able to teach our children and grandchildren the Word of God. We will not be able to talk about the precious scripture sitting in our homes, walking each day in life, when we prepare for bed, or wake in the morning if we have not placed scripture to memory. We often do not carry a Bible with us everywhere we go. This is just another confirmation that we should be involved in scripture memory. When you place a Bible verse in your heart the Holy Spirit brings it into your memory when you seek encouragement or guidance from the Lord.
Psalms 119 and the Word Heart
When we examine Psalms 119 the word heart occurs fourteen (14) times. Here is a list of statements concerning the heart in this chapter. “Whole heart” (vs. 2,10,34,58,69,145),“Uprightness of heart”(vs.7), “word hid in the heart”(vs.11), “enlarge my heart”(vs.32), “incline”(vs. 36, 112),”fat as grease”(vs.70),” sound”(vs.80). The number fourteen is a multiple of seven and is a great number that indicates spiritual perfection. In the Old Testament the word seven occurs 287 times, or 7 x 41. When Christ is in the heart of any individual that person is perfect spiritually in Jesus Christ. This is not saying we will not commit sin. It is a picture of what Christ has done within the heart and the great potential that we have through Him and in Him. It is not by chance that the word heart has occurred this number of times in Psalms 119. Spiritual perfection can only be obtained in Jesus Christ, not in our efforts of working for spiritual achievement, or our membership in a church, or our following of any individual upon this earth.
Meditation and the Heart/1
What type of meditation is acceptable unto the Lord ? “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalms 19:14). Many people try mediation for inner strength. Any meditation on earthly pleasures or inner desires apart from the Word of God can only create confusion. Notice David seeks the acceptance of the Lord on not only the words he may speak but also the mediation of his heart. How can we mediate on the Word of God if we only read it on occasions or neglect the study of the Bible? The Word of God can best enter our mediation time and flow from our hearts when we have placed scripture to memory. If God is to be our “strength and redeemer” then we must feast upon His Word. People place all types of information into memory and at various times these items appear in our speech. If we can place social security, driver license, home address, and phone numbers in our memory then we can place scripture into our hearts and minds. What is it that occupies the majority of our mediation, the world and all it has to offer, or the Word of God?
Meditation and the Heart/2
What is the meaning of scripture when we are instructed to “meditate day and night” on the Word of God? “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Ps. 1:2). Meditation is quiet contemplation of spiritual truths. You cannot meditate on the word of God if it is not in your heart. In David’s day they had only the first five books of Moses. We have the complete Bible and still refuse to place scripture to memory. David’s delight was to read the word of God by day and mediate upon it at night. He would take a text and carry it with him all day long then when sleep came to his eyelid’s he would meditate upon the word God placed within his heart. In the day of his prosperity he sings psalms out of the Word of God, and in the night of his affliction he comforts himself with promises out of the same book. The law of the Lord is our daily bread and we should delight in all that is contained within the Bible. Is your delight in the law of God? Do you study God’s Word? Do you make it the man of your right hand — your best companion and hourly guide? If not, this blessing belongeth not to you.
Meditation and the Heart/3
We must not forget the word of God. “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.” (Psalms 119:15-16). Consider the great value placed upon the Word of God and it’s eternal impact for all that live by it. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). How often have we developed an inward delight in something in this world to only find discouragement or depression? We may meditate on our own past success or failures yet they are gone and have no eternal value. Is it not rational that we should be involved in trying to accomplish something that will last forever and not pass away? Scripture teaches us that we are justified or condemned by words. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). It is said that no spiritual exercise is more profitable to the soul than meditation upon the Holy Word of God. What excuse can you offer for not placing scripture to memory?
Meditation and the Heart/4
Unlimited power exist in every Word of God. “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1;37). The translation from the Greek reads, “No word that comes from God will ever be without power.” When we meditate upon the Word of God we focus on God and not our own power. It is by the eternal power of God’s Word that we bear witness of Christ (John 20:31), faith is produced (Rom.10:17), we are made wise (2 Tim. 3:15-17), allows our heart to rejoice (Jer. 15:16), the world was created (Heb. 11:3), and it is the Christian Gospel (Acts 4:31). Jesus in speaking to the Saducees concerning the resurrection said, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matt. 22:29). Jeremiah cried out saying, “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord”(Jer. 22:29). Jesus in teaching about a divided house said, “Yea blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Luke 11:28). One of the many evidences of our personal salvation is being able to continue in His word. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 5:31-32). Speak about everything and anything but if you are not speaking the Word of God you are speaking nothing of eternal value.
Imagination and the Heart/1
What is the meaning of the word imagination? It is the power of our mind to form images, especially of what is not present to the senses. In the study of Psychology and helping children learn to read it is the ability of a child to build a gestalt or mental picture of what they imagine when reading. Of the six things listed in Proverbs 6:16-18 that the Lord hates we read, “An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations…” The fuel that helps power our imaginations can be found in the homes of every person. It is rooted in pride, wickness, neglect of God and his word, and our ability to ignore the direct will of God for our life. We may imagine that just because we think about it or picture things in our mind that displease God we are getting away with sin. Scripture teaches us in I Chronicles 28:9, “for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts…” Our imagination is evil from our youth, “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21). When you think about Christ or read scripture what types of mental pictures do you form? Our imagination is a vital mental component for spiritual growth.
Imagination and the Heart/2
In the Old Testament, King James uses the term “imagination” five times (Gen. 6:5; Det. 29:19; Jer. 3:17; Prov. 6:18; Lam. 3:60). In four of the five references, the Hebrew word heart (lav) is used. Literally, the Old Testament speaks of the “conceptions” of the heart (Gen. 6:5) or the stubbornness of the heart (Dt. 29:19; Jer. 3:17) or the evil plots of the heart (Prov. 6:8). In Lamentations 3, though the word for heart does not appear, in verse 60 the same word for “plots” of the heart that is used in Proverbs 6 appears (mahashbet). Though “lav” or “heart” does not appear we can safely say it is implied. In the Old Testament “plots and evil schemes” happen in the heart. There is no singular word for “imagination” in Hebrew. In the New Testament, the word “imagination” appears three times in King James (Luk. 1:51; Rom. 1:21; 2 Cor. 10:5). In these references, two of the three also speak or refer to the heart (kardia). What is in the heart flows into our imagination and from that point turn into action. What we are is the direct product of what we have allowed ourselves to imagine. How do you see yourself today? As a child of God or living in this world without him?
Imagination and the Heart/3
How can we cast down all imaginations that exalt themselves against God? “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…”(II Corinthians 10:5). The thoughts we should bring under control are those things which our eyes have seen and ears have heard that stand against a Holy God. Every thought (idea, concept, mental construct, theory) should be made obedient to Christ. We must refute all the arguments of Satan who is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). The only way to defeat the devil and all his devices is through the use of God’s Word each and every day. The lie of the devil is that you cannot place scripture to memory and if you did what good would it provide for you? When confronted by the devil in Matthew 4:1-11 Christ always said, “it is written” and defeated the devil by the use of God’s Holy Word. Thus with nothing but true mental constructs left standing (the Word of God) after our mental battle is fought, we can find ourselves in true fellowship with Him in Whom are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3; I Cor. 2:10).
Imagination and the Heart/4
Has God given us clear scripture on what we should meditate on and allow our imaginations to experience? “Finally, Brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil 4:8). The word “think” in the Greek speaks of the act of careful reflection. We must reflect, meditate, open our imagination to being true in character to the widest sense. We must practice honesty at a level that invites reverence and shows others they can trust us in all things. We must be just or righteous in all that we say or do. We are to be pure in all things and practice being lovely so others will find us pleasing in the Lord. We should have a good report from those that we associate with. These meditations, imaginations result in Christian virtue in our life. The word “virtue” in the Greek text was used in classical Greek for any mental excellence, moral quality, or physical power. All of these Christian virtues are not for the praise of man but the glory of God.
Wicked Imaginations and the Heart
What can wicked imaginations in man do to the world? “And God saw that the wickness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Giants ruled the earth prior to the flood and they sought to destroy all that would not accept their rule and false belief system. God saw that every imagination of the thoughts of mans heart was only evil continually. A sad sight that was very offensive to a Holy and righteous God. The thoughts of men on the earth in Genesis, and even today, are based on prior judgement or opinion and formed through habits of life. How can anyone expect to defeat the devil and find victory in this life if they have not placed scripture into memory? If we expect to see change in our own life, and that of others, then we should memorize scripture. “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Eph. 4:23). “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). The clear plan of God for all we face in this life and through eternity is found within His Word. Is it in your heart and imagination today?
Musing Within Our Hearts
What is the musing within our hearts? “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue”(Ps. 39:3). David struggles trying to unlock the door of his heart to understand the providence of God. How often we may find ourselves like David, we have shut the door of our heart to muse over all the circumstances that have taken place, and in the process cry out to God for understanding. Often as with David, we become greatly agitated and it is at this moment within our heart that we must meditate upon the word of God. It seems that this process of musing within our heart takes place more often at night when we are upon our bed or alone without others to help support us. The out flow of this process is the speaking of the tongue. What is it we should be speaking when in this condition? “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart”(Ps. 40:8). I encourage each of you to take a piece of paper and write at least five scriptures you have placed in memory. Share these with someone today. The best medicine for a musing heart is the word of God.
Anger In Our Hearts
God commands us not to let anger rule in our hearts. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26). There are three words for “anger” in the Greek New Testament. Thumos the boiling agitation of feelings, passions, anger forthwith boiling up and subsiding (Eph. 4:31). Parorgismos, translated “wrath” in (Eph. 4:26), refers to anger that is accompanied by irritation, exasperation, embitterment.
Orge is anger which is abiding and a settled habit of the mind and used in (Eph. 4:26). The key in all these can be found in the words, “let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” God is saying if we put our anger away before nightfall it will not be imputed unto us as sin. When guided by scripture we can be angry and at times it is even commanded of us. “And when he had looked around about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts…”(Mark 3:5). Christ experienced anger over the hardness of men’s hearts. Maybe our heart being hard to His Word and our lack of obedience to Him is creating anger? Anger is health and we should be angry at the sin in this world. Just don’t allow anger to control your life. Confess your sins and rest in peace each night (I John 1:9).
Decisions and the Heart
Decisions made in the heart naturally flow into outward action. “While you owned it, it was yours, was it not? And after you sold it, it was still under your authority wasn’t it? What happened that in your heart you decided to do it? You have lied, not to men but to God”(Acts 5:4). Notice that after the land was sold the money was still under Ananias’ control to spend or not spend. The Christians in Acts chapter 5 where giving what they had on a voluntary basis. No one was making them do what they did. At the root of the issue in the heart of Ananias’ and Sapphir was that the decisions they made where self-serving and they lied to God. Notice when a person lies to God then it is not as difficult to lie to people around them. Have you ever been caught in this situation of heart? Notice Peter says, “What has gotten into you?” “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lust of your father ye will do. He was a murder from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). Lies in the heart of men always originate from the father of lies the devil. One lie not confessed as sin will naturally move in the direction of another lie.
Being Cut to the Heart
What happens in the heart of an individual that hears the message of Jesus Christ and refuses to trust him as savior? “When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them” (Acts 5:33). The heart of those who heard Peter preach where “cut asunder or cut into pieces.” The message presented by Peter was that of Christ. “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30-31). The lost are held in the grip of Satan (Eph. 2:1-3). This darkness is too great to be expelled by human wisdom alone, regardless of who preaches or presents the message. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). All those that hear the message of Christ and refuse his wonderful loving grace have hearts that have been cut asunder into pieces because they have refused the saviour sent from God for all who will by faith receive him.
A Heart Waxed Gross
What is a heart that has waxed gross? “For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (Acts 28:27). When people turn their eyes and close their ears to the gospel message of Jesus Christ they are allowing their hearts to be waxed gross. Paul was speaking to the Jewish leaders in Rome concerning Jesus and the good news of his death burial and resurrection being for not only the Jew but also the Gentile. Some believed and others rejected. A heart that is waxed gross abides in that individual who continually sees, and hears the message of Christ, and rejects him each time they hear the Gospel. How many of our friends and family fall in this category? Our individual responsibility is telling others the message of Christ and leaving the results in the hands of God. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30).
Our Heart and a Delayed Answer to Prayer From God
Have you ever desired something deep within your heart and then not received it when you expected? “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life” (Prov. 13:12). When we seek the will of God and the answer is delayed it can produce depression, hurt, or even confusion in our heart. The reality of seeking the direct will of God for our life is that many times God does not reveal his will when we expect an answer. God never reveals His will so that we can debate about it or tell God how He should handle our request. God’s will is not revealed to be debated, nor questioned when it is deferred, but to be obeyed. As children of God we must settle in our own heart and mind that we have unreserved committal to His will no matter what it is. The delays can create mental agony and cause us to question what God is doing. If we wait on His will then the joy of service will exist. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:31). Lord please help us to understand that waiting can be good for us.
Trusting God Not Our Own Understanding in the Heart
What is trusting in God from the heart and not just our own understanding? “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Our own understanding without faith will always take us into the path of rationalism. The path of needing everything proven and if we cannot see it we will not believe in it. “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil” (Prov. 3:7). Trusting in God from the depth of our heart is accepting by faith what Christ has accomplished for us. The very act of a holy and righteous God giving His only begotten Son on the cross that we might have eternal life. The fact of his death burial and resurrection involves trusting him by faith. “Committ thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Ps. 37:5). “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” (Heb. 10:22). “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
Keeping the Heart With All Diligence
What flows from our heart that requires us to keep it under the full Grace of God? “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). Wisdom in practice is our ability to take control of our hearts. We must keep ourselves from hurting others and not allowing them to hurt us. Keep our conscience void of offense by saying no to evil thoughts and yes to the Holy Spirit and Word of God. We should keep our hearts with more care and diligence than we keep anything else. If we neglect the spiritual welfare of our hearts our life will not flow forth with the glory of God. The word “keep” indicates each individual should take responsibility for all that flows from within the heart. “Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil” (Prov. 4:26). We are responsible and cannot offer excuses for the wrong decisions or acts that we have allowed ourselves to committ. No other person can answer for us we all will answer individually before God. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12).
What to Write Upon Our Hearts
What does God want us to write upon our hearts? “My son keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy finger, write them upon the table of thine heart” (Prov. 7:1-3). Very clear instructions are given about keeping the words and commandments of God. It is our individual responsibility to write these words and commandments upon the table of our heart. How can we peel back the skin and muscle that would block the entry of a writing instrument so that we may write what God has given us on the heart? You cannot place the commandments or word of God in your heart without scripture memory. You can read the Bible every day and depend upon the Holy Spirit to help remind you of what has been read. Without taking time to place scripture to memory you are failing to write scripture upon your heart. You may not agree and I might remind you that we are commanded to “write them upon the table of our heart.” The responsibility is ours for the writing and most of us fail to do it. Have you placed any scripture to memory in the last several days?
Heaviness In the Heart
What is heaviness in the heart and how can it be comforted? “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad” (Prov. 12:25). The word “heaviness” reminds me of weights that can hold something down. What is it in life that can cause our hearts to be weighted down? It could be making decisions concerning our financial welfare and that of our family would be one of the large weights that pull our hearts down. Each day individual or family decisions, death of love ones and friends, physical illness, mental torments, or actions of others that cause distressing emotions can create heaviness in our hearts.. We need to hear from others when these weights drag us down. “A good word maketh it glad” happens when another person speaks to us the words of encouragement that reaches our heart and helps lift the burden. “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13). When is the last time you spoke words of encouragement to someone that was experiencing heaviness of heart?
Filled With Our Own Ways
Who is that person that is filled with their own ways? “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself” (Prov. 14:14). Backsliding originates within the heart of unbelief. These individuals may reject God out of fear for suffering, or in an effort to gain profit, or for the pleasures of this world. A backslider is the person that only lives for this life, finds no value in the fellowship of Christ and his church, and has convinced themselves what they are doing is acceptable to God. The backslider is that person who has been hurt in the past by someone within the fellowship of Christ and turned their back on being apart of another church. A backslider is that person that questions God and talks back to him in a effort to justify what they are doing that is not within the direct will of God. “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Rom. 9:20) A heart that is filled with it’s own ways is this person and the only cure is to repent and turn to God.
A Sound Heart
What is a sound heart? “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones” (Prov. 14:30). Soundness in something indicates strength, ability to with stand the pressure, or possessing the qualities to remain firm. The soundness of our heart is determined by our own decision to accept the provisions God has given us. From the point of personal salvation till God calls us from the walk of this life we can build the soundness of our heart stronger in response to the Word of God and clear direction of the Holy Spirit. When our heart is sound we can experience control, find friendships, enjoy life, and have a cheerful attitude and appearance. Envy can take this pleasure and experience from us. Envy for the things of others or the possessions of this life over God stands at the failure of building a sound heart. We spend more time in the closet of worry than on the street of trust and joy. We practice envy in many areas of our life and this practice robs us of the joy that should be ours when our total heart is given to the Lord Jesus Christ. God desires that each of us have a sound heart for His service.
A Merry Heart/Part 1
What is a merry heart? “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Prov. 15:13). What is it that can influence our hearts to be merry? When we experience something that causes us to laugh or feel emotionally good about the situation then we have a merry heart. When is the last time we have had a good health laugh? A merry heart can come from our experience of serving God when we see those whom we love trust Christ as personal savior. Our countenance is changed when our heart is merry. What type of person would you desire to be around, one that is cheerful and has a positive attitude, or one that radiates sorrow and sadness? Sorrow is natural and part of this life yet we should not allow it to drive our feelings and actions on a continued basis. What is it that others see in us when they meet us in church or at the local store? Is it a merry heart or one of sorrow? Our countenance clearly demonstrates to others the condition of our heart? We can change from sorrow to merry if we make Christ the center of our daily life.
A Merry Heart/Part 2
“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Prov. 15:13). How can we over come depression and experience a merry heart? We must first learn to forget. Quit being proud of your failure and stop feeding on it each day. What we are proud of we continue to speak about or imagine in our hearts. What ever may have been done to you in the past cannot be changed. Yes we should learn from the past but not allow the negative events to rule our current life. Forget it before the past changes you. Reach forth to those good things that are before you. Avoid cynicism. Cynicism and depression feed each other as they dry the bones and break the spirit. I recommend you make an effort every day to pray for others, compliment others, and laugh at your own problems. Find something good in every situation and seek the opportunity to help someone else dig out from under the depression they may be experiencing. Place a smile on your face, be happy in what God has done for you, and enjoy life.
Pride and the Heart
Pride destroys our hearts and service for God. “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished” (Prov. 16:5). “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:16). “Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6). Pride takes the focus of our life away from God and places it on things of this earth. We start to talk in terms like, “Look what I have done,” instead of “to God be the glory.” The only answer is found when each person explores the inner chambers of their heart and allows the Holy Spirit to reveal the pride they possess. Then when we have a clear picture of pride deep within us we should cast it at the feet of Christ. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). All of us have experienced pride in one form or another.
Making Plans In Our Heart
How often do we make plans and leave God out? “There are many devices (plans) in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand” (Prov. 19:21). Making plans is not wrong and God expects us to look ahead and plan what we may do each day and past that point into the weeks or months ahead. Making plans can give us peace of mind and allow us to examine the cost of the project or decision before we make it. God expects us to use the mental abilities he has given us to make plans. Yet if we leave God out of the process we have failed. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). What are these “things” that God will provide if we seek His will and consider Him in all our plans? A place to sleep, growing physically, raiment, and what we shall eat or drink. God will take care of these needs and he also expects us to plan for the future but never leave him out of the plans. All we plan, all we possess, all we can imagine on this earth will remain here when we are gone. The “counsel of the Lord” is that which will last into eternity and the plan that has stability for our life. Lord help us include you in all our planning.
A Prudent Persons Heart
What is the heart of a prudent person? “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge” (Prov. 18:15). The Bible list at least four sources of knowledge. God (Ps. 94:10), Nature (Ps. 19:2), Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15), and Experimentation (John 7:17). We must not allow ourselves to be puffed up by knowledge (I Cor. 8:1), yet at the same time scripture encourages us to grow in it (2 Pet. 3:18). We are to be filled with knowledge (Phil. 1:9) and accept our limitations of it (I Cor. 13:8-12). “Apply thine heart unto instructions, and thine ears to the words of knowledge” (Prov. 23:12). The first and essential act we must take is to commit our heart to God and allow Him to direct our ways. “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Prov. 23:26). Sinful men turn from the knowledge of God. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:21). Are we prudent people that seek knowledge from Christ and then apply that knowledge to help us reach others that are lost and without him?