Monday, September 26, 2016

Proverbs Week 2: Heart

Christianity has nothing to do with how you appear and everything to do with who you are.

The word heart appears in some form over 900 times in your Bible, 77 times in Proverbs alone. If you find something 900 times in your Bible, you know it’s very, very important. And here’s the problem. It comes from Proverbs 20:9 “Who can say, I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin?” Who can say that? No one can because of sin. We are by nature and by choice sinners. We all are sinners and no one can say, “Hey, I’ve kept myself clean.” So the big question is why do we do the things that we do, why do we sin? The Bible says ultimately it’s because we have a sin nature and this is started way back in Genesis with Adam. In Romans 5 the Bible says that because of one man’s sin the whole world fell. The root of all sin is our heart. The heart is the center of who we are, it’s the essence of us. That’s why you’ll hear people say… “Let’s get to the heart of the matter” or “Where is your heart in this issue?” It’s more than just a physical organ it is the fundamental core of your being.

In Proverbs it connects the heart to a number of things… understanding, learning, memory, faith, obedience, rebellion, planning, imagination, lust, the will, deceit, foolishness, anxiety, hope, joy, hurt, grief, peace, wisdom, happiness, discernment, rage, motives, purity, friendship, gladness, envy, cheerfulness, contemplation, pride, violence, speech, reasoning, sadness, evil, sin, joy, and hardness towards God. Do you have a junk drawer in your house. Everything goes in the junk drawer. This is like the heart. Everything goes in the heart. “What’s in the heart?”. Everything! In scripture the heart is everything. God doesn’t look at the outward appearance like man does he looks at the heart. 
Perception does not equal perfection. 
It doesn’t matter what I think about you, what your mommy or daddy thinks about you, what your boyfriend or girlfriend thinks about you. The only thing that matters is what God thinks about you. And it all starts you’re your heart. Your mind? That comes from your heart. Your reasoning? from your heart. Your emotions? The heart. Your conduct? From your heart. Your speech, your love, your hatred? Everything comes from your heart. Proverbs 27:19 puts it this way… “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”

This is why this verse is so important… 
Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

#1 - Guard Your Heart
Your heart will be an ever-flowing source of something to your life. It can be freshwater or it can be sewage.
Proverbs 7:25 - Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path.
Proverbs 21:2 - People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart.
Proverbs 23:9 - My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course.
These verses tell us that there is a direct cause and effect with what we set our heart on and what results in our life. Whenever there is an issue in someone’s life our first answer is behavior modification.  Counselors want you to act different, parents want you to do what right, teachers want you to get your homework done, and so we think God wants the right behavior from us.

Only addressing behavior is like spreading icing on a rotten, slobbery, bug infested cake and calling it good because it looks pretty. WRONG. We’ve got to go to the heart! 
It’s impossible to have a positive life with a negative heart
Our behavior is determined by our heart so if you want to change your behavior change your heart. If you want to repent don’t repent of your actions repent of the heart issue that is causing those actions! Diets won’t work unless your heart really wants to change. And repentance won’t work until you go deep into the heart.

So you might say I want to stop lying. I want to stop cheating. I want to stop looking at porn. I want to stop gossiping. I don’t want to hate anymore. I don’t want to drink anymore. I don’t want to sin anymore. OK, so what heart change is needed for that happen.  We do this with our kids all the time. Whenever there is an issue we have a heart check with them. If Aubrey hits Caleb it does no good to say Aubrey you shouldn’t hit your brother stop hitting him. Unless her heart changes she’ll keep doing it. If I were to say why did you hit him she would probably say because he took my toy, or he was mean to me. So instead I’ll say “what’s going on in your heart that would cause you to hit him?” To that she can I didn’t have love in my heart. That’s it, that’s the issue we need to address then! Our kids could obey without honoring us. We get really good at obeying God without loving Jesus. 
God wants you to be more than a good person
He wants your worship! And worship always starts with the heart.

Jesus knew this. In Matthew 5:28 Jesus says that if you have a lust problem, you have a heart problem. If you lust after someone in heart you’ve already committed adultery with them. In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says Where your treasure is there your heart is. So you don’t have money problems or debt problems, you have a heart problem. In Luke 6:45 Jesus says Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. You get your anger, your language, your attitude under control by getting your heart under control.  Matthew 7:20-23. It’s not in here I’m good and out there it’s bad. Jesus says that’s not the case the world is full evil but we are too. In fact, that’s what the gospel is all about. Being born again, salvation, has nothing to do with our behavior but everything to do with our heart.

So we have to guard our heart from the evils and temptations of the world and of Satan. That’s the defense. But defense isn’t enough. Imagine a basketball team that worked all day every day on defense but never on offense…

Not only do we have to guard our heart but we must …

#2 - Guide Your Heart
Guard your heart from sin and guide your heart to God.
Proverbs 23:12 - Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge.
Proverbs 23:17 - Don’t let your heart envy sinners, but live in the fear of the LORD always.
Proverbs 23:19 - Listen, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way.

When an enemy gets on a plane and hijacks it, that plane and every life on it, is headed for destruction. 
When you let the enemy hijack your heart your life is headed for destruction.  
That’s why it’s so important to guide your heart away from the enemy and towards God.

What does it mean to guide your heart towards God?
1. Be in Scripture
2. Rely on the Holy Spirit
3. Revolve your life around prayer
4. Spend time with godly friends
5. Don’t trust yourself
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him

Ezekiel 36:26-27.

If you have trusted Christ as your Lord than you have been given a new heart.  We need to turn our heart away from everything it used to be. Sinful, hard, selfish, calloused, rebellious… and guide it towards the fruit of the holy spirit at work in your life. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 
It’s okay to not be okay. It’s not okay to stay not okay.

Proverbs 20:5 - The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
Proverbs 37: - Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Here’s what happens when God takes up residence in our heart and we give him control… you get new desires. It’s not about what you don’t get to do it’s about what you get to do. Here’s how you get these deep desires. Delight yourself in the Lord, guide your heart towards him! Make him the greatest, biggest, most important, most exciting thing in your life and you’ll no longer bounce back and forth between shallow temporary desires. But you’ll have deep desires that will last forever. Guide your heart towards those desires!
Our heart can either cause us to see Jesus clearly, blurry, or not at all. 
When we see Jesus clearly we will follow him closely.

The Challenge
We’re all not okay and It’s okay to not be okay, but we can’t stay that way.
So here’s our challenge…
·       Guard our heart from the enemy’s hijacks.
·       Guide your heart towards God things.

A few things to think about:
1 - Do you have a new heart? Now answer this… How do you when you do?
2 - What is God showing you about your heart lately?
3 - What can you do to nourish your new heart?

4 - What desires should we have that go even deeper and can help us overcome our desires for sin?

DYM Cariculum for ALIVE Student Ministry 

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