Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life
Written by Reeba Elizabeth Royce
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. Psalms 139:23-24
This is a prayer of King David asking God to search him and know his heart, to test him so that his anxious thoughts and offensive ways would come to light. And, in the end, he would be led to God, to Jesus who is the everlasting way. This prayer that David prayed is not an easy prayer but a dangerous one. Yet, why would he, who is a king, have to pray about something as minor as the matters of his heart? Well, it is no wonder that He was called a man after God’s own heart. A man who kept his heart in check, in alignment with God was indeed reckoned to become a man after God’s heart. That is why we too must ask God to uncover the things deep in our hearts and lead us in His ways. This prayer is coming to a place where you are asking God to break you, redirect you and completely surrender yourself to allow God’s plan to unfold in your lives. To do this no matter how uncomfortable you might feel at that moment. So, what are these matters of our heart that we need to keep in check with God?
MATTERS OF THE HEART
- THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9.
Without Christ all of us are wicked, our hearts are deceitful. And because of this, there are so many times that our hearts not only deceive others but also ourselves.
God is always thoughtful and more concerned about your heart than your deeds, appearance or other worldly statuses. Which is why, we constantly see in scripture, God asks His people to return to Him with all of their hearts. In Matthew 9:4, we find Jesus who knowing the thoughts of the teachers of the law, asked them, ‘why are you entertaining evil thoughts in your hearts?’ Christ observes whether your concerns are worldly or if your concerns are of the Father.
- THE HEART CAN BE WEIGHED DOWN
A heavy and weighed down heart will entrap you. It is important to always be on the guard, alert, prayerful and to hide God’s word in your heart so that you might not be weighed down by sin and anxieties of this world.
Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 21 : 34-36, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen and that you may be able to stand before the Son of man“.
While it is important to know the matters of our heart, it is imperative to keep them in check and identify whether our hearts are aligned to God. So there are two places your heart can be – in the right place or in the wrong place.
A heart that is set in the right place is a heart that places God first before and above all things.
God commanded us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6 : 5)
God wants us to love Him with our all. If there is anything in your life right now that is taking God’s place, you will definitely see the symptoms. Closely examine yourself and you will find them lurking around. It is just like a disease that shows symptoms and needs to be treated. Managing or treating the symptom will cure the disease. Likewise, when your heart does not give God the first place, deceitfulness in all forms are exhibited – lust, anger, hatred, idolatry, selfish-ambition, bitterness, drunkenness, orgies, jealousy and the like.
A heart that is set in the right place is a heart that places God first before and above all things.Tweet
What is your response when you find yourself in an uncomfortable or unfavourable situation? Your response will speak a lot about where your heart is placed. It will show whether your heart is with God or something/someone else.
For example, being recognised for your work and being appreciated or even promoted is a desire, which is not wrong in itself. But what happens when your colleague who sits beside your desk, who did not work as much as you did or does not have enough experience as you do, gets what you wanted? Seems unfair, isn’t it? But, check your first response to it, and you will determine where your heart is really placed.
Do you isolate yourself from others? Boast about your vain efforts and complain about your misfortune, even demonizing the colleague who got what you wanted? If yes, you know you are being jealous. Jealousy is clearly an act of the flesh, which contradicts the Spirit of God in you. It stops you from being happy about the success of others. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13 : 4 “..love does not envy”. So what really is the root cause of this symptom, ‘jealousy’? Well, It all began when you somewhere along the way placed the job first in your heart. That is why when the job failed you, you ended up being frustrated – leading to jealousy, anger and so on. Remember, the Bible says in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred can make a heart sick”. Beloved, God has positioned you exactly where you need to be. He is an exceptionally good gardener.
Let’s take a look at the lives of two men mentioned – King Saul and King David – in 1 Samuel 17, when Israel was faced with death threats made by the Philistine giant ‘Goliath’.
When this nine feet tall champion of the Philistines, who not only defied Israel’s army but also our God’s name, threatened King Saul, his response along with all the Israelites was dismay and terror. While King David, who was a little shepherd boy with zero experience in war, went boldly in name of the Lord declaring that God is going to deliver the philistines into his hands. Two men, both anointed by the Lord our God, had two different responses, one who trusted and inquired of the Lord and other who did not. When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women of Israel came out from all towns and sang, “Saul has slain his thousands and David his tens of thousands. Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly (1 Samuel 18:6-8). King Saul, who should have been a spiritual father to David, became envious of him. Clearly, King Saul’s heart did not have Godly concerns, because he placed himself first before God. While David, a small child, boldly faced the giant in the name of the Lord because his heart was in the right place.
This is what the God says in Jeremiah 17:7-8, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
The root of sin and idolatry of your heart is directly proportional to not trusting in the Lord.
And, on the contrary, what happens when a heart is not in the right place? God says, that person will be like a bush in the wastelands, will not see prosperity when it comes and will dwell in parched places in the desert, in the salt and where no one lives (Jeremiah 17:5-6).
When your heart is set on things of this world and people, you will be left empty because everything in this world is imperfect and temporary. The root of sin and idolatry of your heart is directly proportional to not trusting in the Lord.
Let us constantly check our hearts and place it in the right place with God. Be right before the Lord our maker, our King and then everything will fall in place.
The question that remains is, ‘why should I give all of my heart to Jesus?’
Well, Jesus loves you more than a mother could love her child, which is why He paid the ransom for us. He was innocent and blameless yet punished for us, because He wanted, wants and will always want us to be by His side eternally. He always has you on His mind. Even on the cross, when He willingly gave Himself up, His heart was full of you. In that moment of excruciating pain, all He wanted was to be the bridge connecting you to Abba Father, whom now because of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, can be called our Abba too. So, let us give all of our heart to our Lord our saviour, Jesus Christ.
Because nothing or no one in this universe deserves our heart more than He does. God knows we cannot have two masters. So choose him to be the king of your heart, because he will never leave you brokenhearted, hopeless and frustrated.
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