Archive for February, 2023

Know Your Heart

Do you really know what is going on in your heart? I didn’t. For many years I wasn’t aware of my motives, what I trusted was true, and what I was telling my heart through my self-talk. I assumed if the Bible said something was true, I would believe it. But I often didn’t rely on the truth in my heart.

For example, God says that I am precious, honored and loved by him (Isaiah 43:4) because I am his child. But why did I seek accolades so much from others; or have such a sense of inadequacy in so many things; or why did I have so much anxiety since God is always with me to keep me safe. But not being more aware of these motives and false beliefs in my heart, I didn’t deal with these problems.

However, when I got to seminary, I learned better how to access this mysterious world of the heart in a deeper way and was I shocked! I sadly realized how much I didn’t believe in my heart. I discovered I was using the approval of others, and achievements to get many of my basic needs met, instead of who God says I am.

I believed I was a good Christian at that time. Why shouldn’t I? I was an elder in our church, I knew the Bible backwards and forwards, I had a good family and had a daily quiet time. I was a very righteous man! But no. God looked at my heart and let me know that we were going on a long journey of transformation so I would be able to experience an intimate and loving relationship with him in my heart.

Up to this time, I had not watched over my heart diligently as he commands us to do in Proverbs 4:23. In fact, I barely knew I had a heart. Instead, I had watched over my knowledge and behavior and thought that was enough. But I discovered I knew a lot of truth but did not believe it. I did a lot of good things but with the wrong motives. What I needed to be watching over was my heart, and if that was right, then my behavior. and motives would be godly. I needed to be aware of what was going on in my heart so I could cooperate with God as he seeks to transform it.

The main reason we will want to live godly from the heart is that it is the only way to be godly. We can be godly in our actions, knowledge, and intentions and still not be godly. It is what we believe deep within our hearts that determines the godliness of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

For example, my wife has been a Christian since she was ten. She believed God loved her but still sought the approval of others to feel more loved. God’s love was not sufficient for her. When she realized deep within her heart of misusing the approval of others to make up for what she felt was a lack of love from God, she was able to repent of her lack of faith in God’s incredible love for her. She was set free from her dependence on others as a partial substitute for God’s love for her.

We naturally measure ourselves by outward appearances, by the things we can see and feel. God warned Samuel not to judge by outward appearances who the next king should be, for God looks at who has the most suitable heart (1 Samuel 16:6,7). And that was David’s heart. It was not based on appearances or God may have chosen David’s oldest brother to be the next king.

Knowing our hearts can often be a mystery to us and it must be regularly examined to determine what is going on in there. Recently I went to a clinic to get some help for a minor physical injury. As I entered the building, I noticed my anxiety level began to increase. I said to myself, “What am I saying to my heart that is triggering these fears?” The voice I heard was “You are in danger; you are in danger!” I then asked myself, “Is that true?” Then I recalled God’s promise in Isaiah 41:10, which says that I don’t need to be afraid because God is with me and will keep me safe. As I spoke these words to my heart, my fears leveled out and began to decrease. By paying attention to what I was telling my heart I discovered what lies I was saying to myself and began to speak truth, “I am safe; I am safe”. Without doing this, I would have remained a victim of a deceived heart and remained anxious without knowing why.

May we increasingly learn to be aware of what we trust to be true deep within our hearts. Our destiny depends on it.

One of the best ways to determine what is going on in our hearts is by identifying our feelings and experiencing them. Spend about a minute and experience what you are feeling. Ask God to help you discern what you think is true based on what you are feeling.

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