Pastor Thomas Smith   -  

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”┬áProverbs 4:23

Anyone who knows the Bible or understands God’s plan for mankind, is familiar with this simple, yet profound, fact: More than anything, the Lord is interested in the condition of our hearts. He is not only concerned with our words and actions; He is also concerned with our motives and desires. As a matter of fact, what might be considered noble actions can be rejected by God if the heart is not where it should be.

The heart is used to describe the center of our entire moral being. We are to keep our hearts in the right condition. The heart is more important than any other part of our complex being. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they drew near to Him with their words, but their hearts were far from Him. He told them they cleansed the outside of the cup and platter; but the inside, the heart, was corrupt. Man can never become what he should be without a change of heart. Holiness is not simply a matter of proper standards of behavior; it must proceed from a pure heart. Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). True salvation, the new birth, is a conversion of the heart.

The fact that we are to keep our hearts lets us know that the heart needs to be guarded. Jeremiah said that the heart is the most deceitful thing. What does it mean to keep our hearts? It includes keeping our thoughts and our attitudes right. We are to keep our motives pure and sincere. God is interested in why we do what we do, not simply that it gets done. Our hearts are to be rejoicing in the Lord and serving Him with joy. Being involved in the ministry is not all that God desires; He expects us to do so with the proper spirit. We are to make sure our lives are free from sins of the heart, such as immoral thoughts, bitterness, envy, pride, greed, and anger. If these things are not recognized, confessed, and forsaken within our hearts, they will be manifested in our actions.

Our Scripture says, “out of it are the issues of life.” If our hearts are right, other areas of our lives will be affected. The heart is the spring from which all of our words and actions flow. The spiritual condition of the heart will affect all other parts of our being, including our worship, words, works, and walk.