“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
We have come to the last letter in our W.A.T.C.H. series from I Corinthians 16:13, where Paul sternly warns the church of “enemies unaware.” We have learned to watch our words, actions, thoughts, and company; and now we come to the most crucial element of them all–the heart. No, I’m not talking about the hollow pump-like organ of smooth muscle that circulates oxygenated blood throughout your body. I am speaking of the God-given spirit within you that encompasses your mind, will, and emotions. It is the part of you that makes decisions, trusts, and believes in something or someone. This is the part of us that we must submit to God daily (James 4:7). But remember, with submission, there is always opposition. Something so vital to your Christian life should be diligently guarded at all times.
How can I w.a.t.c.h. my heart? How can I create a pure place in which God can do His work in and through me? Notice please:
The Curse of a Polluted Heart
There is a desire in all of our hearts to defy the things of God and to rebel against the very One Who created us. This desire is not taken away from us when we trust Christ as our Savior, but it is now in competition with the Holy Spirit of God. This daily battle of our flesh and the Spirit is the constant of the Christian life. Victory is claimed through our yielding to God. Defeat is brought about when we submit to our fleshly desires. The moment we give in to temptation or satisfy the lusts of our flesh, we create a wedge of separation between ourselves and God. Sin ALWAYS separates, and it will put to death any spec of life and spiritual growth. For example, if I had a lovely garden with an assorted spread of vegetables and chose to never cultivate and protect it, it would be devoured by little rodents and destroyed by the elements in little to no time. This is true of the Christian who fails to cultivate and protect his heart from the elements of the world around him. A polluted heart in the life of a Christian is easily consumed, putting to death all forms of spiritual life in God. So, how can I have and keep a pure heart before God?
The Cause of A Pure Heart
David said in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” David knew that the forgiveness of his sin–and boy did he sin– didn’t lie in his own strength or power. It was God who could forgive his iniquity and cleanse his heart from all impurities. I think one of the most important things I learned as a Christian teenager was to keep short accounts with God. I learned that the best way to stay in tune with my heavenly Father was, and is, to confess my sin to Him as soon as possible. The longer I let it “stew” inside my heart, the deeper in the dark sin would take me. The seemingly small thing I never confessed eventually became the greatest heaviness on my heart, and it would blind me from “the great and mighty things…” God had in store. My friend, what have you not confessed today? What in your life seems to be choking you from the nourishment God wants to give? Did you know that no matter how disgusting your sin may seem, God is ready to forgive. Claim I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Pray this verse. Memorize it. Use it. Christian, do not live another moment with sin unconfessed, for “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” (Proverbs 61:18). Do not live in darkness of a polluted heart and remember what Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” W.A.T.C.H. your heart and see God make the difference.
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- The Upside of Downtime
- Abel: The Legacy of Obedience
- The Way of Cain
- The Danger of Shipwreck