By Associate Pastor Chad Adelmund Heartland Community Church, La Porte City
Follow Your Heart Part 2
Last week we looked at why trusting our heart can get us in trouble. This week, we look at how to guard our hearts and why. So why should we not just follow our hearts? The simplest response might be to ask people whether they really like everything that comes out of their heart. Would they be happy for the thoughts of their hearts to be turned into a daily video diary for the whole world to see?
The Bible’s diagnosis may be painful and confronting, but it’s true. Luke 6:45 “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. “
Think about how powerful this statement is, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of!” Or simply put, “Our heart reflects what we treasure most.”
In the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns his followers about the dangers of pursuing earthly treasures and neglecting heavenly treasures: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt 6:19-21) “For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” (v. 21)
Do you want to you know where your treasure is? After you complete this little test, we will know exactly where our heart is at Look at your bank statements, scroll back through your Facebook page (what are you sharing, liking, posting, responding too), look at your calendar, your song playlist, your Netflix or YouTube history.. Where are you spending your money? Who are you spending it on? What priorities are on your calendar? Who are you making time for? What are you saying or sharing on social media? What are you watching? What are you listening too? Is God present in any of it?
This simple test will give you a pretty accurate picture of your heart, what you value most in your life. You will be actually looking at the reflection of your heart! The truth, while it may not be easy to hear, is that our life will never be any better than the condition of our heart. Following our heart will get us nowhere.
Thankfully, Jesus offers us a better way. Jesus shows us how to lead our hearts. Jesus is saying we don’t need to stay in this current condition!
“For where your treasure is…..there your heart will be also.”
Do you see what Jesus does? He does not give a command based around following our hearts. He does the opposite. He gives a command based around leading our hearts. ‘Here is where your heart needs to go, so take active steps to get your heart there. But don’t sit back and wait for your heart to tell you what to do. Take charge of your heart. Lead your heart.’ Jesus knows exactly where our hearts need to be (set on the things on heaven, not on the things of earth), and he gives us a method for getting our hearts right. Invest in the things of heaven and eternity, make that your priority, shifting your focus from a temporary perspective to an eternal perspective, and your heart will follow. Lead your heart where it needs to go.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” It doesn’t say God will guard your heart, your neighbor or pastor will guard your heart. It says YOU need to guard YOUR heart. You’re in charge of guarding your own heart. Realize that it’s pretty much a full-time job because we don’t know on any given day what’s going to come up, what somebody may say or do to hurt you, disappoint you or let you down. Suddenly, there’s a wound in there that needs to be dealt with.
So How Do We Guard Our Hearts? We Capture and Filter! First we capture; take your disabling thoughts captive through confession. Paul urges us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (Rom. 12:21). Confront your disabling thoughts. Turn them over to God and become who He sees you can be. It will take work but it is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Then we filter. Choose to focus your thoughts on the right things, those things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable” (Phil. 4:8) I call this my P-48 Filter. When we think about those things, God promises to give us His peace. It is possible. It is not easy to retrain your thoughts or to respond in new Christ-like ways. Take heart: as God empowers you to focus your mind on the right things, it will become easier. You can develop a new frame of reference, based on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
My prayer for each of you reading this right now is that you don’t just “follow Your Heart.” Incline your heart towards God, lead your heart to reflect the heart of Jesus, and guard your heart by taking every thought captive. Filter your thoughts through God’s Truth-and follow His heart and His purpose for your life.