Introduction Scriptures: Psalm 51:10, 1Peter 3:3-4, Psalm 19:14, Proverbs 4:23, Ephesians 4:26-27, Mark 4:14-21, Hebrews 4:12, Mark 4:4-8
heart: organ that circulates the blood; the vital center of one's being, emotions and sensibilities (delicate, sensitive awareness or feeling) attitude: state of mind or feeling with regard to some matter
The heart is mentioned in the Bible so many times that it has to be of importance to God. The Bible warns us time and time again to guard our hearts. Why is that? Our heart (love and desires) dictates to a great extent how we live, for we do what we enjoy. In Proverbs 4:23 Solomon cautions us to guard our heart above everything. Make sure your affections push you in the right direction. Put boundaries on your affections and don't get sidetracked on detours that lead to sin. Keep your eyes fixed on the goal.
Christians tend to be so casual about the things of God today. We let the popular phrase "God knows my heart" excuse our laziness and lack of commitment to doing what we know we should. If our hearts are right, our performance will eventually line up. We must look deeper into our hearts and know the importance of the inner-man. That is where our true substance lies. We are so appearance oriented-how we look on the outside, and this is what means the least to God.
Your heart pumps the blood that travels throughout your body. If we put wrong things into our body, it poisons the blood and clogs up the arteries the blood has to travel through, thus damaging the heart. And we die. In the case of cancer, the cancer cells travel through the blood and infect all of the organs they come in contact with. Spiritual affects the physical. If we are sick in our heart (spiritual) we will be sick in our bodies (physical). If we have a blood infection, we need the proper medicine to get well. If our spiritual blood is infected, Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil can't help us because it's the wrong medicine. Only the Word of God will work. This why many times doctors can't diagnose our illness--it's spiritual, not physical. Since the heart is the center of our emotions, etc., if we pollute our spiritual blood with wrong thinking, we will clog up our pathway to God. We won't hear his voice, he won't be able to guide us, and sin will invade our heart. We will die.
So, what is in your heart? Anger? Hatred? Strife? Envy? It is important to know how to handle anger properly. If vented thoughtlessly, anger can hurt others and destroy relationships. If bottled up inside, it can cause us to become bitter and destroy us from within. Paul tells us to deal with our anger immediately in a way that builds relationships rather than destroys them. Nursing our anger will give Satan an opportunity to cause division, strife, and confusion. That is his purpose; to kill, steal, and destroy. Remember, God examines our every word and thought.
The Parable Of the Four Soils ( Mark 4:4-8): "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on a rocky place, where it didn't have much soil. It sprang up quick, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty,or even a hundred times."
Usually when we read this we think Jesus was talking about four different kinds of people. What if he was talking, instead, about different times, seasons, or phases in a person's life? Periods of different heart attitudes. What if he was talking about how we willingly receive God's message in some areas of our life, yet resist it in others? For example, you may be open to God about your future but closed concerning how you spend your money. We may respond like good soil to God's demand for worship, but like rocky soil to his demand to give to people in need. The Four Soils show us where we are in regard to our heart attitude. What kind of soil are you?
We have to be careful of our heart attitude. We have to guard it and keep the junk out. We must not only listen to the Word of God, we must also let it shape our lives. Circumstances can't control our emotions or steal our joy. Never forget, it's not that we go through, but how we go through that matters, and always keep a calm, peaceful spirit.
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