Manage episode 337854754 series 3319995
This week Ps Steu speaks on Part 2 of the 4 week series ‘Matters of the Heart’. The title this week is ‘A Heart That’s Guarded’. Ps Steu is not talking about the physical heart that pumps blood around our bodies; but essentially speaking of our souls, at the very core of our being, where our emotions flow from.
Ps Paula’s subject last week was ‘A Heart of Love’ and she spoke about how we, as God’s people, are called to unity and this can only be achieved when we truly love one another with hearts softened to God’s love. Loving one another in a way that brings unity to the body of Christ can only come from a true, experiential knowledge of God’s love.
We must understand that a guarded heart is not a hard or a closed heart. We must be careful what we let into our hearts. In fact, it’s when we allow the ‘wrong stuff’ into our hearts that we start to close them up even to the ‘right stuff’ and we become hard-hearted. Crucially, we must operate the gate to our hearts correctly, letting the correct things in and keeping other things out. The Bible talks about this in Proverbs 4:23…(NLT) “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life”, or (NIV) “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”.
The condition of our hearts determines the course of our lives. If we want our lives to go in a healthy direction we have to keep our hearts healthy. 3 John 1:2 (NKJV) states “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul (heart) prospers”. The key to a prosperous or healthy heart is guarding it well. Operate the gate!
In order to have a healthy physical heart, we have to guard it well. It can be severely damaged by continually eating the wrong foods, not doing enough exercise, and by challenging circumstances that can lead to worry, anxiety, fear, shock, grief, loneliness, stress, disappointment and unforgiveness. However, by eating the right foods, doing exercise, and dealing with challenging circumstances our hearts will be kept healthy. In the midst of challenging circumstances, being deliberate about trusting God, walking by faith, speaking positively, spending time with good people, taking time to rest and relax, and being quick to forgive… all these things can be hugely beneficial to the health of your physical heart.
In the same way, when it comes to guarding our hearts (speaking of our souls), there are three main areas that we need to consider:
- How we eat. Matthew 4:4 (NKJV) “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” When we let God’s Word in we are eating the bread of life. This is really good for the heart. However, we are often so unguarded about what we feed on. We fill our minds with the voices of this world that contradict what God says - through friendships, social media, music, what we listen to, what we watch, what we read! We forget to operate the gate of our heart and end up letting in so much junk that our hearts get clogged up!
- How we exercise. 1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV) “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” When we live God’s way (godliness, holiness) it’s like physical exercise, in that our hearts become stronger. Living a godly life effectively positions the gate of our hearts ready to close when the wrong stuff tries to come in. However, when we continually live like the world the gate of our heart is left wide open and anything can come in!
- How we respond to challenging circumstances. Psalm 27:14 (NKJV) “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” In Psalm 27, David lists a whole load of challenges that he is facing in that moment - opportunities for fear, people against him, lies said about him, violent threats, relationship breakdown. Yet David was positioned at the gate of his heart (he lived a godly life) and he kept it firmly guarded… in this Psalm David declared that his heart would not fear, that he would worship God, that he would seek God’s face, that he would have good courage, trusting God and waiting on Him.
Waiting on God is about taking time to find out how God would have us respond, rather than immediately reacting or rushing in, or just trying to handle things in our own strength, or doing things the world’s way. When we face challenging circumstances, one of the best things we can do is ‘wait on the Lord’ and commit to respond to our circumstances in God’s way. This ‘waiting on the Lord’ will strengthen our hearts.
Let us determine the condition of your heart. If our heart has been damaged because we haven’t guarded it properly, we’ll be able to tell by the way we speak. Luke 6:45 (NKJV) “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”.
Critically, this isn’t about other people right now, just ourselves. Listen to our thoughts and think about how we speak. What does this tell us about the condition of our hearts?.....Perhaps we have been consuming the wrong stuff which clogged our hearts up, perhaps we did not exercise godly living and hence did not guard our heart? Perhaps challenging circumstances have damaged, broken, or even crushed our hearts? Perhaps it’s become heavy because of secrets, shame, or guilt.
The good news is that God wants to heal our hearts! Psalm 147:3 (NKJV) states “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”. Luke 4:18 (NKJV) “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
Let us come to Jesus today, laying our hearts before Him, acknowledging that we have let the wrong stuff in and let God take it out. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV) says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. Romans 12:2 (NKJV) “And do not be conformed to this world (man shall not live by bread alone), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God), that you may prove (live out, demonstrate) what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (living according to God’s ways/godliness)”.
Commit to guarding your heart!