Prov 4:23 – “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (KJV) “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” (MSG) “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (NLT)
Heart, emotions, feelings, the thought life is so important. The thought life controls the rest of your life. Your heart (your emotions) and your thought life control your actions. What you think is what you are. Your attitude controls your thoughts.
Prov 23:7 – “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:…”
How is your thought life? Are your thoughts mostly praise to the Lord or mostly negative?
Your situation is not your problem, it is your heart. Your heart needs help.
“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” —Stephen Covey
Who you are can only be discovered through the Spirit of God helping you to see what is going on in your heart. You look in all the wrong places for answers.
Gen 6:5 – “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
In the great flood of Noah’s time, God didn’t destroy everything, He washed everything. Can you imagine a world that was only evil? It wasn’t because of their actions so much, it was their thoughts that were only evil—continually.
We all have heart troubles. Check yourself before you wreck yourself!
Are there lies about yourself or the world around you that have affected your relationship with God? Are there sins that keep you from a higher level of relationship with God? What behaviors or habits that are good do you avoid? What about things you should do that you don’t do?
Don’t serve at the altar of other people’s opinions. You are and ever will be what God says you are. You may have heart trouble because you believe lies more than what God says.
Guard your heart above all else. Keep your heart above all else.
If you plug up a spring, you cause a river to dry up. If you poison the source, you’ll make an entire creek toxic. Whether you plug it up or poison it, you’ve threatened life further downstream. The condition of the stream will affect the life downstream. If your heart is unhealthy, it will affect every area of your life.
The most important issue of life is your heart.
Your heart is under constant attack. There is an enemy. Heart attacks are common, both physically and spiritually. It is a battlefield for your thought life. The enemy attacks your thoughts. The devil is after your mind. If he can get that, he has you. There is a war going on. The enemy not only opposes God and His Word, he opposes all that are aligned with Him.
2 Cor 10:4-5 – “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
Your heart and mind are under attack.
Your heart is extremely valuable. You don’t guard worthless things. You don’t guard your garbage. It is valuable stuff that you guard. The only way to keep that valuable thing is to protect it, get a wall or barrier around this thing. Your thought life is very valuable. It is the essence of who you are—your core.
Rom 12:1-2 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Your heart needs to be renewed. When God is getting ready to change you, He changes your thought life first. When you present yourself to Jesus, He wants to transform your mind. He has come to heal your heart!
God made us in such a way that we can’t think two things at the same time. You can think a lot of thoughts quickly, but your heart can only go in one direction at a time. When you’re thinking right, you can’t be thinking wrong.
How can you break that cycle of sin and addiction? The first place to go is to change your thinking. How? Think on something else. How do you get out of darkness? Turn on the light. You can’t praise God and curse people at the same time. The result of a clean heart is constantly filling your thought life with clean things.
What sins do you struggle with? What lies do you continually bring? What contradictions have you harbored in your mind? Are you willing to search and clear out those things which you have which are contrary to God’s Word?
Psalm 119:9-11 – “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Prov 4:24-27 – “Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”
Heb 4:12 – “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Monsters that creep into your heart:
- Doubt: Man’s and the world’s wisdom versus God’s wisdom. Guard your heart against doubting God.
- Jealousy: Feeling like God owes you something. ‘I deserve this.’ Prov 6:34 – “For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.” Prov 27:4 – “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” Jealousy kills.
- Rebellion or Bitterness: Feelings like ‘My way is better than God’s way.’ 1 Sam 15:23 – “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”
- Anger. If you’re not sure whether or not you have anger issues, just ask someone close to you.
- Pride. If you’re not sure if you have pride issues, ask God.
- Greed: This is different from jealousy. It’s ‘I owe me.’ This is where you don’t like to share. This is a heart issue.
- Guilt: It’s ‘I owe God.’ This is the worst. It’s hopelessness and discouragement, fear that God has forgotten you, forsaken you. You feel so beat down that you can’t even hear from God anymore. Ex 6:9 – “So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.” (NLT) “But when Moses delivered this message to the Israelites, they didn’t even hear him—they were that beaten down in spirit by the harsh slave conditions.” (MSG) Moses told the people God had sent him to deliver them. The leaders believed him, but the people were so beat down that they couldn’t even receive a delivering word from the Lord. Guard your heart against this! The elders were more in the Word and were more ready to believe.
You may not even know you’ve got a heart problem you’ve been beaten down so much. You may have forgotten the promises from God. There is no more hope or faith.
Has your heart and thoughts turned from the Lord and onto your problems? Do you feel hopeless? Have you lost your faith?
2 Cor 3:15 – “Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.” (NLT)
God cares about you! God wants to prosper you, favor you, and give you everything He’s ever given to everybody else. He loves you with an everlasting love!
2 Cor 3:16-17 – “Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
Turn your heart to God and see what He will do.
Remember the commandments: Love God, love people.
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.