The word heart occurs over 1000 times in the Bible. Everything we think, say and do springs from the heart. We can have a great deal of intellectual knowledge of God, but it is with the heart that we know Him intimately and relationally. Paul prayed for the Ephesians, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you” (Ephesians 1:17-18). I guess we all want to know the glorious Father better. We will not get any closer to Him through head knowledge. It’s a matter of the heart. What we believe in the mind doesn’t necessarily bring change or action. Belief in the heart will bring transformation and actions will follow.
Our text for today makes it very clear that the way we live our lives day by day is a reflection of the condition of the heart. It addresses how we speak, what we look at and our lifestyle. It’s calculated that the average person speaks 125 - 150 words a minute – quite a lot in a day. Words have power – they can build up or pull down, bless or curse. They can be positive, hopeful, encouraging and unselfish or they can be negative, discouraging, self-centred and even destructive. Words can speak well of others or they can spread gossip, maligning someone’s character. Whatever we speak doesn’t simply come from our lips; it comes from the heart and is a reflection of what we are. Psalm 141:3-4 is a good daily prayer, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil.”
We live in a visual world surrounded by distorted images. We are encouraged to let our eyes look straight ahead, fixed on godly goals. Once we gaze at ungodly images they penetrate the heart and enslave us. We are told to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), then as the old song says, “The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” The psalmist wrote, “I keep my eyes always on the Lord, with Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8). This affected his emotions, his speech and his behaviour.
We are told to give careful thought to the paths for our feet and to be steadfast in all our ways. A path is a way of life. It has to do with lifestyle, which is shaped by the heart. It includes ambitions, life goals, motives, choices, desires, and even the reason for living. In a world devoid of absolutes, the path of life we are called to walk is one of no compromise. It’s not always an easy path, but it is a secure one.
So we are told to guard our heart above everything else because it is life’s driving force. We can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the hidden things and give us the desire for a heart like the heart of Jesus.
Prayer: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.
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