“Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life.” Proverbs 4:23 The Voice
Why do you think God asks us to watch over our heart? I think it is because it is central to everything we do, say, think and feel. Everything that comes out of us, originates from our heart. If we are co-dependent, it’s because of an injury to our heart. If we are narcissistic, it’s because of an injury to our heart. If we are angry, violent or hostile, it’s because of an injury to our heart.
If our heart is guarded, really tucked into God for safekeeping, our hearts can operate in a healthy way. God can heal every injury to our heart. We still have to do our part and take our hearts to Him. We have to learn His ways in order to walk through life with a protected heart that is equipped to love others and see others the way that God sees them. It is a love that is not of this world. It is a love that supersedes any love we have ever known. It is the love of sacrifice and eternity. It is the greatest love story ever told.
Search my heart, Father. Let me place no other thing before You. Guide me. Please keep my heart straight. Holy Spirit, great Comforter and guide, keep me close to You in all matters. Keep my heart. Tend to my heart. Guard my heart.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25 NIV
As I read this, it conjures up a picture of a super hero. But no! It’s a Proverbs 31 woman. This woman is a dynamo. She’s up early. She is a savvy business woman and manages the best of care for her family. I aspire to be like the Proverbs 31 woman.
This is an aspect of her that I have not thought much about. In strength and dignity, she can LAUGH at the days to come. Ha! Ha! Ha!
In order to laugh, there are a few things that she cannot be burdened with: worry, fear, doubt, confusion, anxiety, stress, uncertainty, gossip, comparison, insecurity. And I’m sure there are more.
This lighter burden and purified heart unleash this confident strength and dignity. It is confidence in a power much greater than herself. With that, she can laugh at days to come…
Lord, deposit laughter and joy deep into my heart!
“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10 NASB
James 4 is packed with so much relational wisdom. It really sums up what causes conflict and quarrels:
We want what we don’t have
We don’t have because we don’t ask God for it
We don’t receive because our heart’s motives are not right
God placed His Holy Spirit in us because He longs to be in relationship with us. We literally have everything we need right inside us. When we submit to the Holy Spirit we are submitting to God. Allowing our lives to be directed by the Holy Spirit is what faith is all about. The Holy Spirit is our constant guide. So much so that if we know the right thing to do and choose not to do it, it is sin.
Father, please teach me how to submit fully to the Holy Spirit that you have placed inside of me. Thank You for sending Your Son to make a way for me.
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 NIV
Gossip and divisiveness do not thrive out in the open. Rejection can get all twisted inside us so that it comes out sideways through insecurity, comparison, gossip and divisiveness. If we carry around the expectation that we are going to be rejected, it’s a short walk to rejecting others first and saving yourself the pain. It can create a very ugly downward spiral.
Over the years, I have been on the receiving end of painful injury of spoken words. Unfortunately, I have delivered a few shots on occasion myself. I now recognize how it feeds something so unhealthy that I have really lost a taste for it. The following has become a good rule of thumb for me: If something has to be spoken in secret, there is a good chance it should not be spoken at all.
If I can bask in the light of Jesus, it warms and heals my heart in ways nothing else can. It allows me to set aside injuries with forgiveness. It allows me to have compassion and seek understanding. It places a pause on reactivity because pride is not attached to the outcome. His light purifies me.
Lord, thank you for Your purifying light inside of me.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 NIV
A right heart is the foundation for everything else. I can do a lot of things. I can fill my task list with all kinds of “good” things but if I do not do them in love, they are not worthy. Often in prayer I ask God to search my heart because I want to offer it up to Him and I trust Him to keep it right. Sometimes I see an element of fear or comparison or performance and I ask Him to get rid of it. I ask Him to fill my heart with things too. Like discernment and wisdom and love. Sometimes I just ask Him to make it right and then He shows me what’s going on. I’m so thankful. He is the best heart surgeon around! Talk about preventive medicine! I also ask that He fill me with His love. His perfect love heals all. All we have to do is ask Him and He will do it.
“9 And this is my prayer: that your lovemay abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousnessthat comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11 NIV
These words resonated for me:
“your lovemay abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” This kind of love is strong and wise. It endures for generations and generations.
“able to discern what is best” Not good. Not good enough. The BEST. Wow. A love that gives me the strength and wisdom to choose the BEST.
“may be pure and blameless” I am made pure and blameless through Jesus. He demonstrated His love in giving His life. We demonstrate our Psalm 5 by giving Him ours.
“filled with the fruit of righteousness”By celebrating the gift of Jesus and giving all the credit for this happiness to Him, I become full of righteousness. I have lots of choices. These words inspire me to choose the best!
Father, You are the very best. The One and Only. The One True God. I choose You.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 AMP
Counselor is one of the roles of a king or other highly placed official. It is the task of being wise and judicious in the most difficult questions, the most complicated negotiations, and the most intractable problems. Jesus was the only infallible counselor.
Wonderful means out of the ordinary, clearly different, beyond human explanation. God knows when we sit and rise, our goings and comings. He perceives our every thought. He is intimately familiar with us. His knowledge is too wonderful for us to imagine. We have access through His Holy Spirit to His wonderful counsel daily.
Father, thank you for Your Son Jesus. Thank you for creating a way for us. You know us so intimately and love us so much that You created an infallible path. I pray we shine a light on Your path with every opportunity we are given. I love You Almighty Jehovah!