Happy New Year! We made it to yet another year!! :-D
I recently heard this AMAZING sermon about the heart so I have included a bit of it below with a few comments of my own. Enjoy!
Proverbs 4:23 – “Keep your heart with all vigilance [meaning, keep an eye on your heart] for from it flows the springs of life.” = Your heart is the source of that which flows into the river of your life. Everything in your life flows from your heart. This means that all of the issues in our life can only be dealt with by ultimately going back to our heart.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” – Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:37; Deuteronomy 6:5
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8
The heart really matters. Jesus cares a lot about the heart. We can see this by how often He speaks of it. In the Bible, the heart is mentioned over 900 times! It is considered the center of our being (in essence, it’s who we are) according to Scripture. So if we want see God, we need to have a pure heart.
Problem: Our hearts are unclean because of sin.
Sin defined = anything that dishonors or disobeys God (thoughts, words, deeds, motives)
By nature and choice we are sinners, therefore our hearts are impure and this is where sin lies.
Question 1: So why do we do the things that we do? Why do we sin?
According to the Bible – Ultimately we have a sin nature. This stems back to the fall of man (Adam & Eve – Genesis 3). Romans 5:12-21 basically states that because of one man’s sin, the whole race fell. When Adam sinned, we were all implicated. Just like when a president chooses to go to war, that whole country follows him into war because they do not live apart of the people in which they are numbered. However, it goes on to say that because of the resurrection of Jesus, many are made righteous. We have our sin nature from our father Adam and our salvation from our Lord Jesus. (We go more into Jesus’ solution for our sin later in this message.)
Psalm 58:3 – “We are wicked from our mother’s womb.” We are born with the inclination to rebel against God.
Pastor Driscoll brought up an interesting point on how it’s amazing that today we want to address behavior. We want to stop drinking too much, stop doing drugs, stop being addicted to something, or stop being angry or depressed. I can think of a couple, being that it is New Years and I’m sure a few of us have already started thinking of our New Year’s Resolutions. All in all, we want behavioral change.
However, Jesus says that all the issues that we struggle with regarding sin come from the heart. (See Matthew 5:28 where He says that if you have a lust problem, in reality, you have a heart problem.) Matthew 6:21 states “Where your treasure is, there your heart is.” So we don’t have spending problems, we have a heart problem. Additionally, Luke 6:45 says, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” We can start controlling our tongue when we get to the issues of the heart.
Mark 7:20-23 “What comes out from a person is what defiles him. For from within come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these things come within and they all defile a person.”
We can deal with all of these issues when we go straight to our heart. What usually happens with us, however, is that when we see sin in our life, we try to deal with the issue rather than asking God, “What is going on with my heart?”
Question 2: What can we do about this heart problem? What’s the hope?
The world says the answer is behavior modification. Yet God wants more than this. Behavior modification may lead to pride or despair. This may come to a shock to some of us, but God wants more than for you to become a good person. He wants you to be a worshipper out of your heart, loving Him and others in your life. The Lord needs to regenerate our heart first.
Christianity is different than other religions in that it is about getting a new heart. (See Ezekiel 36:26) And going back to Proverbs 4:23…when we get a new heart, as a result, we will also get a new wellspring. When we have a new heart, we have a new Lord. Jesus is in charge, not us. Also we have a new power because of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. We are now able to overcome the addictions we were once powerless to. We have a new purpose. With a new heart, we want to live in a way that honors God. Lastly, we have new desires. We will now want to read the Bible, go to church regularly, pray, grow as a Christian, and draw nearer to the Lord.
Does this mean we’re perfect? No! We are being sanctified (cleansed), constantly learning and growing with the Lord’s help. However, when we are resurrected from death, we will be made perfect in Heaven. But until then, this new heart allows us to live a new life. (2 Corinthians 5:17 calls us a “new creation” where “the old has gone, and the new has come!”)
The new heart has:
*Faith (Proverbs 3:5)
*A desire for obedience (Proverbs 4:4)
*The ability to be corrected (Proverbs 5:12)
*The ability to be taught (Proverbs 10:8)
*Contentment (Proverbs 14:30)
*A love for wisdom (Proverbs 15:14)
*Cheerfulness (Proverbs 15:15)
*Helpfulness (Proverbs 15:28)
*Discernment (Proverbs 16:21)
*Persuasive abilities (Proverbs 16:23)
*Humility (Proverbs 18:12)
*Intelligence (Proverbs 18:15)
*Beauty (Proverbs 27:19)
*A repentant spirit (Proverbs 28:14)
Proverbs 20:5 – “The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.”
Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Pull these two verses together = “Deep desires”
Ultimately, while religion is saying, “All your desires are bad and you need to modify your behaviors through a lot of rules.” Religion is all about fear, intimidation, control, shame, guilt, and what you can’t do. Christianity is completely different. Because we have been given new desires, it’s not about what you don’t get to do, but rather what you get to do. It’s about not always denying what you really want to do. It’s about going for your DEEPEST DESIRES. [Our DEEP DESIRES are God’s desires for us.] Psalm 37:4 instructs us on how we can get these desires.
Basically the verse is saying that if we love God and are satisfied in Him, He will put desires on our heart AND a passion to pursue them so that our will and His will come together. In the end, we get to do exactly what we want to do! Ex: Be kind to our neighbors, know Jesus, have a loving family, serving others :)
Questions to ponder (and feel free to message me your answers if you’d like to discuss):
Do you have a new heart? How do you know if you have a new heart?
What has God been showing you about your heart lately?
What can you do to nourish the DEEP DESIRES of your new heart?
What desires are even deeper in your heart than your desires for sin? What are you passionate about? What are you hopeful for?
I challenge us to pay attention to our DEEPEST DESIRES today, because these desires are most likely given to us from God. When you find these desires, get passionate about them and pursue them!
May the Lord open your eyes to the new heart He has created for you!
Song: Hillsong United – Hosanna
“Heal my heart and make it clean….Break my heart for what breaks Yours.”