Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's All About the Heart

I want to offer the following suggestions for avoiding hypocrisy and keeping a tender HEART toward God.  Jesus was all about the HEART, and in Mathew 23 He was confronting those whose HEART was were not right with God, even though their actions appeared to be real spiritual.

Consider the following ways to keep your HEART right with God:
1.     Be certain that you have truly received Christ into your HEART.  It is only as we have the living presence of Christ in us, through the Holy Spirit, that we can experience an inward HEART change.  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”  (Ezek. 36:26-27)
2.     Be in God’s Word every day, because it is His Word that penetrates deep into our HEART.  “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebr. 4:12)
3.     Pray and ask God to reveal to you anything in your HEART that is not pleasing to Him.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  (Ps. 139:23-24)
4.     Be in godly relationships with people who can speak into your life.  Give at least one person in your life the permission to hold you accountable and ask you some hard questions from time to time.  “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  (Prov. 27:17).  When iron is sharpened, sometimes sparks will fly!
5.     Allow your externals to reveal your HEART.  What I mean by this is that we need to give attention to our words, outbursts of anger, actions, and feelings.  Many times these reveal something in our HEART that needs attention.  For example, my anger might reveal selfishness or pride in my HEART.  My depression might reveal some deep hurt or unforgiveness in my HEART.  Often we ignore these unpleasant things, when God wants them to serve as HEART-exposers.  “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery…” (Mk. 7:21). “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Lu. 6:45)
6.     Bring all sin to the cross and to the Holy Spirit for change.  As we become aware of things in our HEART that are not pleasing to God, don’t let Satan beat you up for such things.  Instead, bring them to the cross of Jesus for forgiveness, and ask the Holy Spirit to radically change your HEART.  Only God can ultimately change us from the inside out!  “Work our your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12-13).

Be encouraged that God wants to work in our HEARTS.  There is nothing impossible for Him to change in our life.