Your heart is an enormous theme in all the teachings of God. In the KJV, heart is mentioned nearly 800 times. In Proverbs, the heart is found 81 times and referred to in 78 different verses. The heart is of primary importance to God. I’ve heard people say, ‘Just follow your heart.’ This is one of the worst things anyone can do or advise others to do.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Adventure With Your Heart 1
Adventure With Your Heart 1
Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 12:30, Matthew 5:8, Proverbs 20:9), Psalms 58:3, Proverbs 22:15, Romans 5:12, Romans 5:17-19, 1 Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 5:28, Matthew 6:21, Luke 6:45, Mark 7:20-23, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Proverbs 3:5
It’s Valentine’s Day! When we think of Valentine’s Day, the image invading our minds is a big red heart. Perhaps your heart icon has an arrow shot in it. You’re smitten in your heart by Cupid. However, like everything else in life and in Proverbs, we can pursue Lady Wisdom and have a wise heart, or we can go down the path of Whore Folly and have a seduced heart. My goals today are to get you a better understanding of the heart, show you every issue you have in life comes from your heart, and help you take a look at your own heart from God’s perspective. Next week, we will talk about the heart again. Studying what Proverbs says about the heart is this important.
The heart is an enormous theme in all the teachings of God. In the KJV, the heart is mentioned nearly 800 times. In Proverbs, the heart is found 81 times and referred to in 78 different verses. The heart is of great significance to God.
I’ve heard people say, “Just follow your heart.” As you are about to see, this is one of the worst statements someone can make, or advise anyone to do.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The human heart is most DECEITFUL AND DESPERATELY WICKED. Who really knows how bad it is?
Don’t follow your heart. It will lead you into deceit and wickedness. Your heart can cause you more trouble than imaginable. Folly is bound up in our hearts from the time we were born (Pro 22:15). You can’t allow yourselves to follow your heart. Instead, you must lead it.
Let’s begin with just two of the many statements from Jesus concerning the heart.
Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your HEART…
Jesus is clear. The heart is extremely significant in our relationship with God. We love God and people with our hearts. If a person’s love for God isn’t right, it is first related to the heart.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in HEART, for they will see God.
It’s through the heart we see God. The purer the heart, the clearer we see him. The junk and muck in our heart interferes with our ability to see God. This is the big problem with any heart. Our heart is not clean. It’s cluttered with all sorts of interference.
(Amp) Proverbs 20:9 Who can say, I have made my HEART CLEAN, I am pure from my SIN?
Let’s make sure we get this. What is the problem? Our hearts are not clean, and no one can say their heart is. What is making the heart unclean? Sin. The particular word “SIN” is not a word I use around here a lot. I talk a great deal about sinful things, i.e. addictions, attitudes, marriage, finances, etc. Those “sinful things” make our heart not clean. Therefore, our heart is the problem in life from our relationship with God to anything you want to name. The heart is the problem with everything. So, if you have an issue in life, the problem will always be traced back to your heart where sin made your heart unclean.
Down deep in the center of who you are is a sin nature. We know this because no one has to teach us how to sin.
Psalms 58:3 Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.
Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child…
We don’t have to learn how to sin. We come out of the womb with foolishness already bound up in our hearts. The human nature enjoys sin, and this sinful nature is in every person all the way back to, and because of, our first father, Adam.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, FOR THAT ALL HAVE SINNED:
(Amp) Romans 5:12 Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, NO ONE BEING ABLE TO STOP IT OR TO ESCAPE ITS POWER BECA– USE ALL MEN SINNED.
Because Adam was the head of the human race, when he sinned, it included the entire human race. For example, if the president of our America chooses to go to war, we are all at war if you are an American, like it or not. We are not separate from the people with whom we are numbered, but there is help concerning sin.
Romans 5:17-19 …by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
(MSG) Romans 5:17-18 …Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life!
Today, this moment, every person is either under Jesus or under Adam. You are a part of the Adamic nation or translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col 1:13) under in the commonwealth (Ep 2:12) and holy nation (1Pe 2:9) of Jesus Christ. We have the sin nature from Adam, but those who receive Jesus have salvation from this nature through Jesus Christ. In other words, because of Jesus Christ, our heart can be corrected which will correct everything else about life.
The scriptures teach the heart as the center of your being. You have a material (flesh) body. You have a nonmaterial part made up of the soul and spirit. Your heart is in the center of it all. Your heart is who you really are, not who you project, not who people think you are, not who you want to be, but who you are. The heart is you with everything else stripped away. The heart is what God sees.
1 Samuel 16:7 …The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but THE LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART.
Heart is not speaking of the physical organ. It’s talking about you with no fig leaves standing before a holy God.
Wisdom leads us on an adventure with our heart.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the ISSUES OF LIFE.
(Amp) Proverbs 4:23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance AND ABOVE ALL THAT YOU GUARD, for out of it flow the SPRINGS OF LIFE.
The word for diligence is mishmar meaning a posted guard. Any heart left unguarded for a moment, even if you are a Christ Follower, will be invaded. It can be invaded by greed, addiction, lust, hate, emotions, attitudes, etc. The word for issues is towtsa’ah meaning source. This is important. The incredible word painting wisdom gives us is your life is a river fed by springs of life. The springs begin at the heart, and these springs are issues both good and bad. How you kept your heart determined what issues happened in your life, what issues are going on in your life now, and what issues will happen in your life tomorrow. The more unguarded your heart becomes, the more issues and pollution happen in the river of your life.
Imagine a polluted nasty river with cans and trash floating downstream. The water is dark and nasty carrying with it a stench. The source has not been guarded. Dealing with issues downstream does not fix the problems and issues. The problem is upstream at the source. In life, the source is the heart. You can get into your issues boat, motor out, net the cans, trash, and junk (sin) floating down the river, but it doesn’t correct the problem when cans, trash, and garbage continue to come from the source.
The world says the solution is behavior modification. For example, maybe you eat too much, so we will teach you how not to eat too much. We’ll put you in a diet boat. We will give you some rules to modify your behavior. You can’t eat that, or you can only eat this much, etc. There is nothing wrong with this, but all we are doing is netting the garbage. Rules do not deal with the source issue. It may change the behavior for a period, but if it’s only behavior modification, it will come back. Let’s see if this is true. How many of us have done a diet, lost weight, and gained the weight back? How about this one? Some of you have quit smoking a hundred times, but continue to smoke. You modified your behavior successfully for a period, but it actually didn’t fix the problem. It’s like cussing, finances, marital problems, anything.
We can see this easily in parenting. A child will not do what asked or knows they should. The parent does behavior modification shouting orders, giving rules, disciplining. The child may obey, once or twice, but then goes back to the old ways. The actual issue is the heart. What’s going on in the child’s heart needs to be addressed.
So, what we are taught to do is address the issue, or behavior, i.e. stop drinking too much, stop doing drugs, stop an addiction, stop anger, finances, depression, whatever (sin). We go out in our issues boat netting up those things, but we look a few days later, and the river is a mess again.
Here’s the bottom line: Jesus, who is the wisdom from God (1Co 1:30), provides more than behavior modification. GOD WANTS MORE FOR YOU THAN TO BE A GOOD PERSON. He wants you to be pure in heart so you can love God and people correctly. He wants you to have a pure heart so you can see God and walk with God the way God designed.
Jesus said the issues we struggle with come from the heart. Here are a few issues he mentioned.
Matthew 5:28 But I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her IN HIS HEART.
We need to remember the context of what Jesus was saying. It’s “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery'” (Mat 5:27). He is referencing the seventh commandment of the Law of Moses. Jesus said there’s a better way than a law and a rule. Guard your heart. Keep it out of your heart. If it gets in and drifts down your river of life, you will have an issue one day in your river of life. Keep your heart guarded, and you will not need behavior modification.
People say they have a lust problem or sex addiction. The real issue is an unguarded heart. They have a heart problem. The river will not become clean until the issue in the heart is corrected. The problem is coming from the heart and out of the heart comes a spring of lust and sexual addiction. Jesus also said…
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will YOUR HEART BE ALSO.
You don’t have a spending problem, budgeting problem, wage problem, credit card problem. You have a heart problem. You did not guard your heart. The effects are now floating downstream polluting your river of life. The real problem is upstream within your heart. Jesus said…
Luke 6:45 …for out of the ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART HIS MOUTH SPEAKS.
Some people can’t control their tongue. They say mean things injuring people. The problem is the heart. They have not kept their heart. Jesus went on to say…
Mark 7:20-23 …For from within, OUT OF A PERSON’S HEART, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you…
We can get books, CDs, and go to seminars teaching how to control every one of those behavioral problems. None work unless the person corrects their heart. We focus on the behavior problem but seldom look within for the actual problem – the heart. We should ask, “Why am I thinking these thoughts? Why am I acting this way? Why do I do these things? What’s wrong with my heart?”
Okay, Delbert, I get it. So, what do I do? How do I fix my heart? Well, this too is a problem. God doesn’t actually “fix” your old heart. Here is how God works.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 And I will give you A NEW HEART with new and right desires, and I will put a NEW SPIRIT in you. I will take out your stony HEART OF SIN and give you a NEW, OBEDIENT HEART. And I will put MY SPIRIT in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command.
God’s not about behavior modification. God’s about heart regeneration. God’s about a heart transplant. God wants to give us a soft heart. Notice what comes with the package: NEW AND RIGHT DESIRES and NEW SPIRIT. The Spirit of God is alive in us. We know he’s alive and we have a new heart because we desire to do things God’s way – whatever I command. However, it’s not commands, laws, control, or behavior modification. It’s a profound spiritual desire to love God and do what he says. Strange things happen when this takes place within a person. You stop doing the things you’ve done in the past and begin doing spiritual things. You want to go to church. You want to pray. You want to read the Bible. You want to give. You want to grow in your knowledge of the Lord. You become a new creation. If you are a Christian, you have experienced this. You know exactly what I am saying.
I will never forget what happened to me. I poured all my liquor down the sink. I stopped partying. We changed friends. We would not even think about missing church. We began tithing. I would read the Bible until my eyes would not stay open. I read it through several times. I wanted to talk to God. I wanted to talk about God and Jesus and what I was learning. No one made me do those things. It was my new heart. My river cleaned up. Judy experienced the same thing. We saw this new heart thing happen in our children. What was a sad to us is when we got into church and actually began to know “church people,” we found everyone coming to church was not experiencing the new heart experience we were. It was confusing. I thought we were just eccentric zealots – over the top, but I’ve come to know better. Let’s be honest. Many people who go to church have never truly had a regeneration of their heart. They prayed a prayer. They operate in behavior modification. But, they never experienced a new heart.
You know if you’ve experienced the new heart. You cannot miss it no more than if you had a physical heart transplant. Folks, this is extremely important. I’m being as gentle and as truthful as I can, but do you have a new heart, or are you doing behavior modification. Only you and God know. If you have a new heart, great! You know you are in the kingdom of God, born again, and you are a child of God. If you are doing behavior modification, then we need to do some work right now. Delbert, what do I do? You get serious with God. Tell him you want to love him with all your heart. Tell him you want a pure heart so you can see him. Offer God your old heart and allow him to replace it.
Proverbs 3:5 TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART and lean not on your own understanding;
Truly trust the Lord with your heart. Actually, give it to him. He’s not after behavior modification. He’s after your heart. It’s your heart he’s looking at.
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