This week, guest speaker Shirlee Lamereaux preached a powerful word on matters of the heart. Shirlee shared her belief that when issues arise in our lives, most often the core of the issue is our hearts. When we experience frustrating circumstances, we have a choice to give frustration a place in our hearts or not. Shirlee encouraged us to regularly examine the intents and purposes of our hearts to see if there is anything hindering us from displaying Christ’s love. When God reveals a heart issue, His desire is to heal it that we may live in a way that honors Him.
Salvation begins in the heart
Romans 10:8-10 (NASB)
The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. That is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
The heart matters to God
Matthew 6:21 & Luke 12:34 (NKJV)
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
For the mouth speaks that which fills the heart
Mark 7:6b (NASB)
This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.
Acts 7:39 (NASB1955)
And our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to God, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.
Mark 7:21-23 (NASB)
That which comes out of the person, that is what defiles the person. For from within, out of the hearts of people, come the evil thoughts, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, acts of adultery, deeds of greed, wickedness, deceit, indecent behavior, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these things come from within and defile the person.
Examine your heart through Scripture
Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)
For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joint and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Ephesians 4:29 (KJV)
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good for the use of edifying that it may minister grace to the hearer.
Romans 14:13 (Phillips)
Let us therefore stop turning critical eyes on one another. If we must be critical, let us be critical of our own conduct and see that we do nothing to make a brother or sister stumble of fall.
Pursue holiness, not happiness
James 1:2-4 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
II Timothy 2:8-10 (NIV)
Remember Jesus Christ raised from the dead, descended from David, This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
I want you to know brothers and sisters that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the Gospel!
I Peter 2:21 (NASB)
Since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps!
God looks at the heart
1 Peter 1:22b (NASB), (KJV)
Fervently love one another from the heart.
Love one another deeply from the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB)
Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature . . . for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1. Do you agree with Shirlee’s premise that “the issue isn’t the issue – the issue is always the heart”? What happens when we harden our hearts and make the issue the issue?
2. Shirlee gave examples of how she “gave frustration a place in her heart.” Give a recent example of a time you gave frustration a place in yours. How can we guard ourselves against this?
Search your heart questions. Ask yourself these questions honestly this week:
1. Is your heart ruled by fear or faith?
2. What is the driving force in your life: personal goals or Kingdom purposes?
3. Is your heart caught up in the now or eternal?
4. Are the values of Christ your heart values? Are the teachings of Christ the motivating factor in your life?
5. How many enemies have you loved today?
6. How many poor have you fed and clothed? When your path crosses with the least of these, are you repulsed? Do you turn away in judgment? Are you truly a servant of all?