Sunday, February 8, 2009

Keep Thy Heart With All Diligence

Since Valentine's Day will be at the very end of this week I thought a post about the heart might be appropriate. So here goes:

We’ve all heard little cliché quotes about the heart such as: “My heart is breaking”; “Follow your heart”; and “He has a hard heart.” Our hearts “rejoice” when there’s good news and they “break” when there’s bad news. I used to think that I was unique in having the “heart problems” that I have……not physically but spiritually. I thought I must have more trouble than anyone else around me in having the right attitudes toward things and people or keeping my temper in check or all the other “besetting sins” that I have. I really had trouble getting close to other Christian ladies because I thought that when they got to know me they wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore. Then one day a dear friend of mine told me something that forever has changed the way I think about the heart. Several years before, her Pastor’s wife had told her that ALL us women are alike…that we all have the same weaknesses, the same selfishness, the same envy, the same disobedient spirit as the next woman. The Bible backs this up in a verse in Jeremiah 17:9 which says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Because our hearts are wicked we need to heed the advice given in Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We may look at each other at times and only see the good…..that’s when we’re on our best behavior. At other times we may see only the bad in each other. The Bible says in I Samuel 16:7 “for the LORD seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” I sometimes may be able to fool you and you may sometimes fool me, but we can never fool God. If we are behaving well today, it’s only because of the grace of God and His Spirit that is dwelling in us as believers. Usually, when our heart is right then our outward actions will be right too. (“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7)

On the other side of the coin, isn’t it wonderful to know that our God is always perfect, never having any negative attributes to grieve us with. When we occasionally see a fellow Christian fall by the wayside into sin, let’s don’t let that keep us from serving God ourselves. The devil will use the failures of others to try and make us give up too. It’s such a comfort to know we don’t have to depend on other Christians for our security. There’s a wonderful verse in II Thessalonians 3:3 that says “But the Lord is faithful…”He can never disappoint us or be a bad example to us. One of my favorite songs is called “He is Faithful”. The lady who wrote it is the wife of the pastor of the well-known Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City. She wrote this song during a time when their teenaged daughter had rebelled against the Lord, against the convictions of their family, and had left their home. Sometimes we only see the glitter and the glamour in a person’s life and not the personal heartaches and tears. There are probably more Christian homes than we will ever know of that go through personal tragedies of one kind or another. But it’s good to know our God knows all about it.

There are many functions of the heart but maybe these two top the list. First is the part our heart plays in our personal salvation. The Bible says in Romans 10:10, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” We can never be the person God has planned for us to be until we have believed in our hearts that Jesus is the Christ and we become a new creature in Him. After we do that, then we can do the most important thing our heart can do for God. Mark 12:30 tells us what that is: “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.” As human beings we cannot always measure up to what God expects of us but we should always keep trying to love Him more and more. If we truly want to do this, then God will give us a “heart to know Him”. (Jeremiah 24:7 “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”) I want to be more aware of the condition of my own heart so that I will be able to serve the Lord better. In these times of uncertainty we need to focus on loving God with all our heart and then everything else in other areas of our lives will fall into place. (Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”


(This post is also running today....Sunday....over on the KJV Blog Directory site)


Yolanda said...

"I really had trouble getting close to other Christian ladies because I thought that when they got to know me they wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore."

Marilyn, are you looking in my mind? I can't tell you how many times I've thought this.

Love you and thank you for a rich writing filled with God's love on our HEARTS.


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I love the scripture from Proverbs 4. That may be my next in line for memorizing for the Beth Moore scripture challenge.

It's all about the heart and its overflow into the lives of others. Heart tending is the requirement of all believers. We'll never know our full purification without our willingness to allow God his hands in the matter. It's a daily discipline to give him my full attention where the heart is concerned. I will be thinking about it more this week as love day approaches.

Thanks for all your many kind words over me. I do receive them in the spirit they are spoken; you'll never know how much they mean to me.

You have a good and gracious heart my friend. I count it my privilege to share this road with you.


Kay Martin said...

God gives us a new the Bible promises. I thank God daily for this new heart. As time goes by I keep getting amazed at the mercy and gentleness God is working into my heart.

When I come to know I am in Christ and forever the righteousness of Christ I am at peace. Then I can love the unlovely and see past their porcupine wall protection. That's when Christianity gets wonderful adventurous and magnificent!!!