(Proverbs 4v23) ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’
I have been reading Proverbs over the past few weeks. Each chapter is full of wise sayings, the outcome either being life-giving or soul destroying. To disregard wisdom is to make room for folly, which only leads to destruction. In comparison, to pursue wisdom is life giving, (Proverbs 16v22) ‘Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools.’ In reading Proverbs it has led me to reflect on the condition of my heart. Each day, what am I filling it with? It is a question for us all to reflect on. Each day, what are we allowing to occupy our heart? Is it words of truth and life or words of death and bitterness? We are reminded throughout scripture to guard our hearts, it is where death or life flows from. Whatever flows from our heart, does it honour or dishonour God? Does it impact people in a positive or negative way? I am still learning each day what it means to guard my heart, here is what I am learning so far.
(Mark 12v29-31) ‘ “The most important one,” answered Jesus, ” is this. Hear O Israel; The Lord you God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this, Love your neighbour as yourself.”‘ To love God with all our heart, means that we cannot have a divided heart. That we can either pursue God wholeheartedly or we can allow the things of this world to lure us away from the truth. Do not get me wrong, there are many wonderful things in this world. They are pleasing and are sold as life giving. In truth, they are not long lasting and to find that pleasure we have to constantly keep consuming. We empty ourselves pursuing things that will always need updated and replaced. When in reality it is God who can and will fulfil us. I do not write this because I am perfect and fully pursue God. However, I do know the reality of finding my fulfilment in God compared to trying to get it from the world. I know that when I disconnect myself from pursuing God so that I can pursue the world; I am easily defeated and overwhelmed.
It is only by staying connected to Jesus that my heart will find its purpose and life. It is the same for us all, that is why Jesus taught that we must stay connected to him. (John 15v5-6) ‘I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up. thrown into the fire and burned.’. Without Jesus we become lifeless; it is through him that we meet grace, life and purpose. No teacher, preacher, artist or celebrity can save us. No fad or technology can give us lasting fulfilment. We becomes lifeless because we pursue the things that take the life from us. I am not saying that we cannot enjoy things here on earth, many of them are good gifts from God. The difference, is not making them our lifeline and our be all and end all. It is easy to put our security in things we see but completely different to put our faith in a true and everlasting God.
We all make choices about what we want to fill us. We pursue what we believe will give us purpose. It is our own individual decision, we have to deal with the consequences. We chose whether to pursue life or death.
In dealing with my heart I had to deal with my emotions. I am a sensitive person and my emotions can easily cloud my judgement. I am sure I am not alone in allowing this to happen. When someone has hurt me I can easily allow bitterness and resentment to take root in my heart. Already, my heart is not loving God fully because I am harbouring hate in my heart. Instead of surrendering it to God and allowing him to give the wisdom to deal with the situation in grace and truth. (Proverbs 17v14) ‘Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.’. To let bitterness take root leads to many mis-truths and assumptions taking root. What started as a spark turns into a wildfire. Many people get dragged into the mess and more people get hurt. I was dealing with these feelings this week, I was urged to pray and surrender the entire situation to God. To give it to God does not mean it does not hurt anymore. It means that the hurt no longer has the power to control you and the emotion that was clouding your judgement is lifted. I prayed ‘May you uproot the root of bitterness and resentment that has begun to take root in my heart. May you remove it far from me and instead fill my heart with your grace and truth. May my words be gracious and timely.’ It was a prayer of surrender because I wanted Jesus to have full control of my heart again. I wanted my fulfilment to come from the purpose he pours into my life. Not to be filled by bitterness which will lead to darkness and destruction. Some of you reading this will have deep hurts and I pray that in time by surrendering it to Jesus; that even though the scars may not heal, you will know a peace and grace over your life.
I am continuously learning what it means to surrender and allow my heart to be truly devoted to God. It is not easy but it is not something we do on our own. I truly believe that where God sees a willing heart, he will nurture and enable the believer to know him in a deeper way. I was reminded that even David, who was known as ‘a man after God’s own heart’ made mistakes. Through repentance and forgiveness, he never stopped pursuing God. Let us not get side tracked by our sin, believing that God’s grace cannot meet us there. May our hearts be in full pursuit of God and he will guide our steps.
(Proverbs 16v3) ‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.’
May you have a blessed week. Remember that you are loved and cherished. Love Victoria. xx