Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Proverbs 4:23; 20:5, 9, 27
Man has had a heart problem since Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden. Their heart disease literally spread to the entire human race. “The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). This continues to be the condition of man’s heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin"? (Proverbs 20:9). But, in God’s grace and mercy, he provided a way to redeem the heart of man through the redemption of Christ. Ezekiel prophesied concerning this heart transformation, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). The New Testament repeatedly proclaims this truth, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). Does this mean that the heart of the Christian is completely sanctified? No! “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).
In practical terms, “How do we develop a pure heart?” Wisdom is found in Proverbs to answer this question. There are three concepts which I have put in the acrostic G.E.T. to make it memorable.
G: Guard your heart from impurities – “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Life flows out of our heart. What is in our heart is what we think. What are we gazing on? What are we dwelling and thinking about most often? Our behavior is directed by our thoughts, not our environment, genetics, or anything else outside ourselves. What are we allowing to come into our minds? Is our mind full of lies? Our attitude and behavior is a barometer of what is in our heart. Anxiety, fear, anger, bitterness, irritability, impatience, apathy are all symptomatic of faulty thinking. Out of our thoughts come sinful behavior.
E: Examine your heart – “The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5). “The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the innermost parts of his being” (Proverbs 20:27). This admonition to examine our hearts is given repeatedly in the New Testament. Look for the plank in your own eye before you point out the speck of dust in someone else’s eye (Matt. 7:5). “Each one should test his own actions” (Gal. 6:1-5). If you are having problems seeing the dirt in your life, just ask your wife, or a good friend. Better yet, ask God. "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind...” (Jeremiah 17:10). The New International Version gives this rendering of Proverbs 20:27, “The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being”.
It is so easy to just read scripture and feel like we have done our part. We are now going to automatically grow spiritually. It is important that we take the time to listen and look. Listen to what God is saying to you personally. Before moving on, ask him to reveal what is in your heart and what he wants you to learn for that day. Then write it down. This begins to cement it in your heart and mind. “Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips” (Proverbs 22:17-18).
Train your heart with Truth – “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes” (Psalm 19:8). To see true, lasting transformation in our life we must repeatedly apply the truth. Truth changes the heart. “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge” (Proverbs 23:12). The Word must break the hard ground in our hearts. Sinful thoughts and habits don’t die easily. It will take the power of the Word and the Spirit as it is applied to our life. "‘Is not my word like fire,’ declares the LORD, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’” (Jeremiah 23:29).
When God speaks to you each day, write it down, take that thought with you and share it with others. Ask others to hold you accountable. Memorize the truth. Study it. Meditate on it. The Hammer of Truth will chip away until an image starts to immerge, the image of Christ.
This is truth training, training in righteousness. You are training your heart by applying the truth to your heart. GET wisdom!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
- Cover an offense (9)
- Drop a quarrel (14)
- Use words with restraint (27)
- Hold your tongue (28)