I have been re-reading the book, “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.” In the first chapter, Paul Tripp does a great job defining the importance of getting to the heart when we are shepherding our children. The principles he talks about there apply to all of us, I believe. God is searching for, and desiring to support and help those whose hearts are completely his. (2 Chron 16:9) Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:21 that it’s the things we treasure that will control our hearts. As I am reading this again, and meditating on what God is saying to me, I’m realizing that there are so many other things that my heart treasures. As a result of what God is showing me, I have begun praying the following, “My loving Father, when YOU are my treasure, I will be filled / occupied with YOU. To the degree that YOU are my treasure, that’s the degree in which YOU will have control of my life. In contrast, the degree in which something else is my treasure, is the degree in which that thing / that person will have control of me. God, I want you to be my treasure today. Show me the things, the thoughts, attitudes or actions where I treasure something else. As David said in Psalm 139:23-34 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
In my Bible reading this week I read through Mark chapter 7. As the Lord continues to challenge me with my heart problems, it’s interesting what Jesus says to the religious leaders in this passage. Mark 7:14-23
Jesus is basically telling these guys, “Listen guys, you are so concerned about the outside, and crossing all your “t”s and dotting all your “i”s that you are missing the point. Your behavior is not a result of outside influences. Your behavior comes from your heart. Proverbs 4:23 says it well, “The heart is the well spring of life.”
In Luke 6:43-45 Jesus uses the illustration of a tree to describe the same concept. He says that a tree only produces fruit after it’s kind. An apple tree will always produce apples. An orange tree will always produce oranges. A good heart will produce good out of the treasure stored in the heart. So, also a bad heart will produce evil from the treasured stored there. Jesus concludes this illustration with these words, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
The things that we treasure will be what controls us. Romans 8:5-8 puts it this way, “Those who live according to the Spirit will have their minds (their heart) set on what the Spirit desires.” Their treasure is what the Spirit desires. Their hearts have the work of God stored up (treasured). In contrast, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires.” The treasure of their heart is the desires of the flesh. Their hearts are filled (treasured, stored up) with fleshly / evil / God-less (without God) actions.
What is stored up in your heart? What do you see in your actions? What is coming out of your mouth? What you see on the outside (the fruit of the tree) is a good indication of what the treasure of your heart is. In what areas does your heart need to be adjusted?