Guard your Heart
Often times our rewards of this life are expressed by people attending our funeral. Some friends were hanging out one day, and the conversation grimly turned to the issue of death. One of the friends asked the others, “What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?”
One friend answered, “I would want people to say, ‘He was a great humanitarian who cared about his community.'”
A second replied, “I would want people to say, ‘He was a great husband and father, an example for many to follow.'”
The third friend gave it some thought and answered, “I would hope someone says, ‘Look, he’s moving!'”
There are rewards and blessings that come to the person who guards their heart. What we allow to go on in our hearts will lead us to a rewarded, fruitful life or the reverse of that. The Bible says it like this. Your life is about as good as your heart’s condition… no better and no worse.
Proverbs 4:23 (NASB77)
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
3 John 1:2 (NASB77)
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
Jesus told us a parable once about how the condition of the heart affects the fruitfulness of the life. He said that the Word of God was like a seed and that this seed would find its way into different types of ground, representing hearts in different conditions. Jesus said that the seed of the good Word of God goes into a heart that has thorns in it, and that seed cannot bear fruit. Or it can go into a good heart and produce a crop.
Luke 8:14-15 (NASB77)
“And the seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life (“the desire for other things” in Mark’s gospel), and bring no fruit to maturity.
And the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”
Luke 8:8 (NASB77)
“And other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.”
Can you see that? Your life is supposed to yield a crop of 100 times of what was planted into it. Your life should be so packed with God’s blessing that it OVERFLOWS. But fruitfulness in your life is based on the condition of your heart. So keep it good. Keep it honest. Keep it ready to believe and trust God. Keep it faithful, full of faith and trust.
Did you know that the Bible says that faith is an issue of the heart?
Romans 10:10 (NASB77) …for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
Faith is a heart thing. When the heart is clogged with thorns and weeds, it cannot produce a crop. What are some of those ‘thorns’?
The Thorn of Worry- Now here is a nice Christian sin. I mean everybody worries. We just don’t call them worries, because we know the Bible says not to. We call them concerns. But whatever you call it, Jesus said it would keep your life from bearing fruit, that it would choke out of your life the blessing and abundance that He wants you to have.
1 Peter 5:6-8 (NASB95) …Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
Come on, Pastor Bob, do you mean I am supposed to STOP worrying? Yes. Some people worry like they are going to get a bonus for it at Christmas time.
The Thorn of Riches- Now this does not mean that God will not provide abundantly for you. All the patriarchs were wealthy and had plenty. They just did not love the money. I know lots of people who don’t have money, but they still love it. And the money they love belongs to someone else! You know the other guy got the raise and they did not. They live in a nicer house, have a better car, newer clothes.
1 Timothy 6:10 (NASB95) For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
The love of money is a heart issue. If you are mad because “they” have more….you’ve got it.
The Thorn of Pleasures- This does not mean I can only eat Brussels sprouts and not Rocky Road ice cream. The gospel of Mark calls it the “desire for other things.” God lists many things that He gives us to enjoy. The Bible says that Jesus was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows!!! He was happy.
I like how Pastor John Ortberg describes this, “When we take our children to the shrine of the Golden Arches, they always lust for the meal that comes with a cheap little prize, a combination christened, in a moment of marketing genius, the Happy Meal. You’re not just buying fries, McNuggets, and a dinosaur stamp; you’re buying happiness. Their advertisements have convinced my children they have a little McDonald-shaped vacuum in their souls: “Our hearts are restless till they find their rest in a happy meal.”
I try to buy off the kids sometimes. I tell them to order only the food and I’ll give them a quarter to buy a little toy on their own. But the cry goes up, “I want a Happy Meal.” All over the restaurant, people crane their necks to look at the tight-fisted, penny-pinching cheapskate of a parent who would deny a child the meal of great joy.
The problem with the Happy Meal is that the happy wears off, and they need a new fix. No child discovers lasting happiness in just one. “Remember that Happy Meal? What great joy I found there!”
Happy Meals bring happiness only to McDonalds. You ever wonder why Ronald McDonald wears that grin? Twenty billion Happy Meals, that’s why.
When you get older, you don’t get any smarter; your happy meals just get more expensive.”
John Ortberg, “Dangers, Toils & Snares”
Let us keep our hearts free of these thorns and the Word of God has open access to produce a life-filled with abundance.