“at the heart of every issue, is an issue of the heart.”
The heart is a treacherous thing. While our minds may lead us to delusion, our hearts have the capacity to lead us to death.
As we have learned yesterday, it is in the nature of fallen men and women to hide themselves. Our “leaves” are a lot more sophisticated now — on the outside, we appear as upstanding men and women, physically attractive, contributing members of society or even actively participating in ministry.
We may fool the world with radiant faces and lofty careers but we can never truly hide what the Bible says is “engraved on the tablets of our hearts” (Jeremiah 17:1).
Matthew Henry puts it so visually:
The heart, the conscience of man, in his corrupt and fallen state, is deceitful above all things. It calls evil good, and good evil; and cries peace to those to whom it does not belong. Herein the heart is desperately wicked; it is deadly, it is desperate…
Yet whatever wickedness there is in the heart, God sees it. Men may be imposed upon, but God cannot be deceived.
In Day 3 we learned the importance of routinely answering God’s question, “Where are you?”
We learned that this question is an invitation to acknowledge the state of our relationship with God — whether there is distance or there is true intimacy.
Today’s question is of equal importance and of the same reasoning.
“Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?” asks the Lord of Cain. God did not ask because he did not know. He asked because Cain needed to see that his heart had become blackened with thoughts of murder and jealous rage towards his younger brother. This was not an accident. In his heart, he had already wished ill of his brother in hate.
Did you know that our hearts think? Our actions and feelings are never totally removed from our actions. To God, there is no distinction. By the very thoughts of our hearts, we are condemned.
1 John 3:15 (NLT) – “Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart.”
Matthew 5:28 (ESV) – “Everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Spiritual journaling is a way for us to examine the state of our hearts. In the pages of our journal, there is no one to impress, no one to judge. We need to dig deeper beyond our hurt and ask ourselves why. We need to examine our anger to see if the root is righteous or because of jealousy. We need to write out the thoughts of hearts so that we can SEE it for ourselves. You might be surprised by what you find.
But let me remind you that we are invited to examine our hearts but this is not a call to self-reliance. Jeremiah 17:9-10a tells us:
9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind…
So before we start your journaling today, invite the Holy Spirit to come – to search your heart and to test your mind. Listen to this song:
Here’s my heart Lord, speak what is true.
What is your current emotional situation?What factors contributed to this?How is your actions affected by your emotions?What are the heart issues that you are dealing with at the moment?