The Heart of the Matter

“My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26).

"You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

The Bible spends a great deal of time addressing the heart. Indeed the opening chapters of Proverbs focus on the listener yielding up his or her inner life to the Lord. The reasons become clear when we examine our own lives.

We do few things well when our heart is not in it. The student drags off to class and gets little from it because their heart did not enter the classroom, only the body. Couples struggling in their marriage do not take steps to improve it because husband and wife have dug in and will not yield an inch. Why? Because they have no heart to improve their marriage. The college graduate who does not land the ideal job does not perform well at an entry-level position because they feel they deserve better and thus bring no heart to the job. Finally, the demands of the Christian life overwhelm the Christian because his or her heart has become distracted by worldly concerns.

God never designed the Christian life to be lived apart from a full commitment from the heart. If we fail to yield up our hearts to God, the going gets rough, and the weight of our own carnality weighs us down. Daily we face enemies and obstacles that can only be overcome by spiritual means, beginning with a surrendered heart. We should not be surprised that the Bible spends so much time addressing heart issues, particularly remaining sin in our lives.

How can we realign our hearts to God?

1. Begin each day with God.
God does not disclose what the day holds, but He does warn us to be prepared (Ephesians 6:15; 1 Corinthians 16:13). The child of God is no match for the bombardments of Satan, so we need God’s strength and power to overcome. This time with God needs to be viewed by us as a holy appointment, overriding all other concerns. We need to worship and adore God, confess our sins, intercede for others, and make our requests known to God. If we do, the peace of God will guard our hearts in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7).

2. Call out to God during the day.
Even surrendered hearts need ongoing strength to remain true to God during the day. We get hit with surprises, difficult situations and people, and need God’s grace to respond as He would have us. To suppose we can go it alone with our own resources guarantees some major stumbling along the way. Remember that God does not carry our limitations: He is available all the time and in every place. Call out to Him for strength and He will provide it.

3. Pray for God’s grace on the body of Christ.
We do not struggle alone and we need to provide a prayer covering for others. Many struggle with greater matter than we might face (1 Peter 5:9). We do not run the race alone, but with others facing similar temptations. Pray for your fellow believers and for their light to shine in the midst of many difficulties. We can pray for our families to prosper, but how much better to pray that they walk with God this day.

We can gain no traction in the Christian life without first giving our hearts completely to God. Christ died for us and we owe Him much more than we can pay. Why not give Him our heart? After all, it belongs to Him.

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