Matters of the Heart: What Goes in Will Come out

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life- Proverbs 4:23


The heart is a complex muscle, both physically and spiritually. In a physical sense, the heart is what pumps blood, thus oxygen and nutrients, to the rest of the body. If the heart is infected, the entire body will be affected. The same is true for the spiritual health of the heart, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34 NKJV).


The heart is the wellspring of both physical and spiritual life. Being that God knows our hearts, He knows its inclinations, and in knowing that, He commands us to guard it, above all else. For He knows it determines the course of lives (Proverbs 4:23). The heart is easily penetrated and moved to action. Our heart can easily pity an abused animal, child, or devastated community; but it can also be tempted to seek revenge, gossip, and lie. It can love and resent in the same heartbeat.


The prophet Jeremiah addressed this very concern in Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT) when he stated, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked”. The heart seeks to satisfy our feelings. The problem is, feelings don’t rely on God, they rely on circumstance and that is what makes the heart wicked. Its judgement is tainted by what we think to be true and how we feel about something, not what God says is true. The heart doesn’t trust what it doesn’t see, it trusts what it feels.


A heart that feels betrayed, mislead, or defiled will feel resentment. Resentment infects the heart, and it effects our actions and our words. We react by doing what feels right, which in moments of pain, usually means spewing reckless words that pierce like swords, bringing death to the spirit (Proverbs 12:18). For it is out of the abundance of our heart that our mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34), and therefore we must protect it. It can give life or take it.


The problem with resentment and bitterness is, they only trouble and corrupt the person choosing to hold on to the pain. Don’t be dismayed, there is a cure; exercising your ability to forgive is vital to healing. Like any muscle, regular exercise offers strength and endurance allowing one to be stronger longer.


When you choose to sit in your resentment you deny God the opportunity to bless you. Contrarily, when you choose forgiveness, you open the door for God to bless your heart. Take Joseph for example: God humbled Joseph’s brothers greatly, by using the very brother they betrayed and sold as a slave, to save their lives and the lives of their families during a great famine (Genius 37). Imagine the outcome had Joseph met them with revenge and hostility instead of forgiveness and hospitality. He would have never been reunited with his father and brother he deeply missed. Friend, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the LORD (Romans 12:19 NLT).


Prayer:


Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Help me to run to you when I feel betrayed and mislead. Satisfy my heart with your peace, so that I don’t desire revenge. Abba, help me protect my heart and help me fill it daily with your word and your satisfying promises, and not the empty promises of the world. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.