THE HEART IS A RESERVOIR
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23 NIV
What does God say about the heart? The heart is mentioned 830 times in the King James Bible, so we can assume that God wants us to understand the spiritual components of the heart. For the heart is a reservoir that can either hold things that support life and faith, or they can hold things that impede the flow of life and faith. The following outlines a few of the many reasons why we must guard our hearts.
The mouth is the heart's barometer. That which is in the heart overflows into our speech (Luke 6:45). Jesus said, “…I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment”— “for death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Matthew 12:36; Proverbs 18:21;) Therefore, we must guard our heart by guarding our mouth.
King David said, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3-4). Words have the potential to be beautifully wrapped gifts that encourage and uplift, or they can be destructive darts that harm others, including the one who speaks them.What word-containers do we hold in our hearts? The mouth speaks what the heart is full of" (Luke 6:34 NIV).
The deceitful heart make its plans. "The
heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). What concealed motives, hidden secrets, or personal agendas do we have neatly tucked inside our hearts?
The foolish and careless heart knows God,
but does not glorify Him as God, nor is it thankful, but is futile in its thoughts and becomes darkened (Romans 1:21). What things, that God calls “sin unto death,” has been accepted by society and many Christians, because their understanding has become darkened?
The willful heart walks in disobedience and
rebellion. Satan was the “seal of perfection,” full of wisdom and perfect in beauty (Ezekiel 28:12-19). But he became prideful and said in his heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:11-15). Those two words “ I will,” reveal a willful pride that precipitated Satan’s great fall. That old sin nature continually draws us to willful disobedience and rebellion.
An obstinate heart is hardened to God's
truth, guidance, direction, and is ill-informed about divine things (Deuteronomy 2:30). According to the Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus,
"obstinate" means to be stubborn, unyielding, inflexible, unbending, bull-headed, self-willed, strong-willed, uncooperative, stiff-necked, rigid, uncompromising, and immovable. The obstinate heart is easily deceived.
The Apostle Paul said of the obstinate, that their foolish hearts are darkened because their spiritual eyes are closed (Romans 1:21). Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity (Proverbs 28:14 ESV). Do we yield daily to the things of God?
A heart of unbelief is a dangerous place—
"Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God, but exhort one another daily, while it is called "today," lest any of you be
hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:12-13). Unbelief can cause backsliding.
The heart holds desires. We are forewarned
against lust, covetousness, and envy, and told to set our hearts on those things above—for where our treasure is, there our heart will be found (Colossians 3:1; Matthew 6:21). Do we desire God above all earthly things?
An obedient and willing heart says "yes" to
God. Jesus asked His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if You are willing, take
this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done (Luke 22:41-43). Even Jesus struggled with surrendering His will, but His love for mankind and His Father was greater than what He desired, and He surrendered all to God. What are we willing to surrender to God?
God requires a pure heart of integrity. That
heart is principled, honorable, upright, truthful, ethical, and moral. “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. ”For it is the righteous man who walks in his integrity, that his children are blessed after him" (Proverbs 10:9; 20:7). Shading the truth, misleading, deceiving, lying, and exaggerating all contribute to an impure heart.
The heart thinks. What we think in our heart, we become (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus asked, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?" (Matthew 9:4) We are to think on what is true, noble, right, lovely, admirable, excellent, pure, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). What consumes our thoughts?
The heart remembers, reflects, and meditates. “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). To “ponder” is to meditate, consider, reflect, review, and deliberate. “May the words of [our] mouth and the meditation of [our] heart be acceptable to You, Lord, [our] rock and [our] Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). Do we daily reflect on God's Word?
The heart understands, discerns, and gives insight. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians said, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18). The Holy Spirit will illuminate our heart of understandig when we seek Him.
The heart is a reservoir of either good or bad. We choose what goes into that reservoir. Are we choosing wisely? Are we choosing God’s Word, for His Word is a safeguard against sin (Psalm 119:11).
The heart functions as our conscience. It
alerts us to the presence of sin. It is the inner forum where decisions are made. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Do we include God in our decision-making, or do we make our own plans?
The faith-filled heart possesses unwavering
trust, integrity, purity, obedience, willingness, discernment, insight, understanding, wisdom, joy, and much more. It trusts God in all circumstances. Conversely, a hard and unyielding heart holds doubt, fear, unbelief, pride, sin, inflexibility, stubbornness, rebellion, sinful thoughts, lust, envy, covetousness, and unforgiveness. The hard heart follows its own path.
The more we invest in God, the more we allow His extravagant love to work in and through us. He wants us to trust Him and pour our hearts out before Him (Psalm 62:8). His peace will then protect our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. When we speak God’s Word and believe what we speak, His powerful and creative Word becomes action.
What power transforms hearts of unbelief into pure hearts of faith? What should we be storing in our reservoir? The answer to both questions is God's Word. He always responds to faith that is anchored to His sovereign Word. We can depend on His Word to bring truth to our souls, to heal, encourage, direct, lift burdens, and settle joy and peace deep within our hearts. Then as our lives are daily transformed by the renewing of our minds through His Word, we become living testimonies to others of His immense goodness and love.
PRAYER: FATHER, like King David, I ask that You “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Help me embrace and understand Your Word, as I read it each day, so that I may know how to guard my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.