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Don’t Look Now, but Your Heart Is Showing

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

             The word heart(s) is found 941 times in the Bible across 870 verses. In all but a few instances, the Bible uses the word heart to describe the “inner man,” the seat of our emotions, our thoughts, and our will.

             Just like the condition of our physical hearts affects our physical bodies and lives, so the condition of our spiritual hearts affects our spiritual and emotional lives. If you have heart disease, your body cannot function as well as it ought, which hinders what you are able to do in life. If your “inner man” is diseased, you cannot serve God as you ought. It’s as simple as that. God puts great importance on the condition of our hearts. Let’s take a closer look at what He has to say about them:

At a Glance

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

             Imagine that you are Samuel and God has sent you to Jesse’s house to anoint the next king of Israel from among his sons but has not told you specifically who it is. All Samuel had in his mind was a picture of how he thought a king should look.

             Well, Eliab sure looked the part! He was tall and handsome, most likely well-muscled and strong. However, God saw something that Samuel could not—Eliab’s heart. God refused Eliab because of what He saw on the inside. The same thing happened with six more of Jesse’s sons until, finally, David was called in from the field. Perhaps David did not have the height of his brothers nor, being the youngest, the same muscle build or life experience, yet David was God’s choice.

             The Bible tells us that David had a “beautiful countenance, and [was] goodly to look to,” so we know that David was a handsome young man. We know that David was strong, having killed a lion and a bear, and having the strength to lift Goliath’s huge sword and cut off the giant’s head. The Bible tells us that David grew to become a “mighty man of valor” long before he became king of Israel. We know also that David was very gifted in music, writing much of the Psalms. Yet, it was what God knew about him that made David so great. God called David “a man after mine own heart. God chose David because David’s heart was surrendered to Him.

             Of course, we know also of David’s great sin; he fell very far from God when he committed adultery. However, what was David’s reaction the moment that Nathan the prophet confronted him? Immediate humility and remorse. Why? Because David’s heart still desired to serve the Lord. David reaped the consequences of his sin, but God never forsook David the way that He forsook Saul when he disobeyed. The difference? Their hearts.

             The same principle applies to us today. Now, we should always strive to look our best, but our greatest efforts ought to go into making our hearts the best that they can be. We can only accomplish this by surrendering fully to God and His will for our lives. It’s not enough for us to simply go through the motions in our Christian lives; such empty Christianity will never please God. In fact, God commands us to serve Him with our whole hearts:

…what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, (Deuteronomy 10:12)

             Our actions are not insignificant to God, but our heart attitudes matter so much more.

A Deeper Scrutiny

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: (Proverbs 23:7a)

             In those ten little words above, we see exactly why our heart attitudes matter so much—because our hearts are who we are, they define us! Now, because we are sinners, we all think things we shouldn’t occasionally, but do we allow wrong things to dominate our thought processes? Are we more likely to have a wicked thought over a good one? Do we dwell on those wicked thoughts when they come?

             It is crucial for us to grasp the importance of having a godly thought life. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 10:5, tells us that the best way to use our spiritual weapons is by, 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; We must gain control over our thoughts because, eventually, they will come out in words or in deeds.

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 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. (Matthew 12: 34, 35)

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. (Luke 6:45)

             A wise person once said, “Watch your thoughts; they become your words. Watch your words; they become your actions. Watch your actions; they become your habits. Watch your habits; they become your character.” The most heinous crimes imaginable all began with a single thought.

The Glaring Truth

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: (Matthew 15:18-20a)

             The verses leading up to the above portion show us an occasion where the Pharisees were trying to criticize Jesus’ disciples for not washing their hands before they ate. They approached Jesus directly about it because they were so offended by His disciples’ lack of respect for tradition. Jesus goes on to condemn the Pharisees for honoring tradition above God’s law.

             After condemning the Pharisees, Jesus goes on to teach the multitude that it’s not what you put in your mouth (meaning what you eat) that defiles you, but it’s what you allow out of your mouth (meaning your words) that defiles you. We can be sure those Pharisees did their best to be clean and not allow something to contaminate their bodies, but, as Jesus pointed out, they did nothing to keep their hearts clean.

             Read verses 18-20 again. Jesus tells us right there in verse 18 where our evil thoughts and words originate—our hearts. Look at that list of actions in verse 19! Within each of us is the ability to commit every single one of those actions if we are not careful to guard our hearts against evil thoughts.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

             Keep, in this context, means “to guard from dangers; to blockade.” We must allow God to have control of our hearts; we must make His Word and the truths contained therein the wall that guards our hearts against worldly dangers.

One Last Glimpse

             Our response to every command from God begins in our hearts. We cannot properly serve God unless our hearts are pure before Him. We must make sure our hearts are prepared to obey God. Let us take time right now to pray just as David did:

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23, 24)

For a further study on the word heart in the Bible, please click here.

To learn more about how you can accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal Saviour, please click here to learn more about the Bible Way to Heaven.

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