Proverbs 4:20-27 gives us some very sound advice if we want to move ahead with God:
20 My son [that includes daughters], give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all diligence [that is careful effort, perseverance], for out of it spring the issues of life. 24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead and your eyelids look right before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.
According to these verses, how we deal with the issues or challenges that face us in life come from our hearts.
In Matthew 15:18-19 Jesus gives us more information about the issues that come from the heart: 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
Jesus is telling us that any time we are involved in fornication and adultery, and all the other things He listed in Matthew, they come out of the heart. That is why you have to protect your heart, in order to keep those things from getting in there. Luke 6:45 says: For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. It is up to us as Christians to keep all the ugly things out of our hearts and to protect our hearts with all diligence by right thinking and right action.
So many people bring the types of things listed in Matthew from the world right into their Christian life because they have never been told that they do not have to keep those things in their hearts and they don't have to do them. Many Believers don't really know how to take the Word and drive these things out of their hearts.
You might be wondering where the heart is. We know it is on the inside of us. There are many views about where the heart is. There are some who say the heart is where the spirit and the soul meet. This theory witnesses with my spirit. The Bible indicates that the spirit man is the heart of man. The heart and the soul go together. You can only separate them to talk about them, but they go together. When a person gets born again, he or she is supposed to take his or her born-again spirit--the new man--and renew the new man's mind by the Word of God. The renewed mind is a part of his heart and is the soul and spirit combined. It now exercises control over the old man--the soul that used to control the heart.
How do issues get into the heart?These negative issues enter the heart through thoughts, ideas, and suggestions that are planted by Satan and also by the eye (what we see), the ear gates (what we hear), and by the mind (the things we experience and dwell on). Some of the other issues of the heart we also deal with, in addition to the ones Jesus talked about in Matthew are: sicknesses, bad relationships, rejection, promiscuity, hurts, depression, abuse, low self-esteem, loneliness, lying, jealousy, envy, gossip, bitterness, guilt, malice, lack of peace, lack of finances, worry, fear, overweight, racism, prejudices, and unforgiveness. The list goes on and on. We can't cover every issue, but there is a principle that leads to victory over every one of them: you cannot get victory over your issues or live the Christian life victoriously without the Word of God. You can take this same principle and deal with whatever issues you may be facing.
There are still too many churches today that do not teach the uncompromising Word of God. Believers who attend these churches are usually up and down in their Christian walk. They may get emotionalized every week, but they are not taught to be overcomers. That is why they live in and out of sin, committing fornication and adultery, and doing all the other junk we covered earlier. Even when they are in church, they may be planning how they are going to meet their girlfriend or boyfriend and have sex that night. They may shout and fall out every Sunday morning in church, even after having a sexual affair that Saturday night before.
They are what we call carnal Christians, and basically they live that way because they don't know they can do better. They do not have enough Word in them. They will never have peace in their lives because they can't continue to live that kind of life and be prosperous or victorious in the kingdom of God. If you are caught in such a trap, the only way to escape and find peace is to find out what the Word says about your situation, and then do what it says. What does the Word say about fornication? What does it say about adultery? You are going to have to refuse to go down to the level of how you feel, and make up your mind that you are going to do what the Bible says to do.
This devotional was excerpted from Dr. Betty's book entitled, "Wisdom From Above, Volume 1". Please contact www.faithdome.org or call (800) 927-3436 for a complete list of her products.