New Hearts

Matthew 15:18   (KJV)   18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Matters of the heart matters more than the physical. They affect us in more significant and more crucial ways.

The words we honestly speak spring from deep within us. Depending on the condition of our hearts, the kinds of words coming out reflect them. The Bible tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Matthew 15.18 - New HeartsThat’s why although we hear it often, it’s not always wise to say “Just listen to your heart,” or “Just follow your heart.” Unregenerate hearts from unsaved world often come up with very wrong advice.

We praise God for changing our hearts. Instead of hearts of stone—hard hearts unwilling to listen to God’s Word and God’s Spirit, He gave us hearts of flesh—soft hearts—longingly, lovingly hungering, expectant of, and pursuing Him, His Kingdom, His Word, and His will. We’re more concerned about these hearts of ours and the issues flowing from them compared to the physical stuff we stuff our physical bodies with.

Don’t get me wrong; we don’t deny the importance of our physical bodies and the honor our Lord Jesus has bestowed on them. We are the temples of the precious Holy Spirit. We recognize and realize the importance of good diet and exercise. Over-eating is still something to avoid, although I admit, I need more discipline in that. Gluttony may be a more convicting term than over-eating.

We can desecrate this temple. But what defiles this temple are not the kinds of food we eat but the kinds of words coming out of our lips; the kinds of thoughts we think with our brains, and the kinds of actions we engage in with our bodies. Immorality—these kinds of acts of our bodies defile us. But all these ultimately spring from deep within us. We take care of  our hearts; everything else flows from there. Our hearts belong to Him; that’s the big difference.

Slander Not

Psalm 101:5   (KJV)   Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

Slander is abhorrent; it ought to be. We don’t involve ourselves in badmouthing and backbiting our neighbors. When people do, we cut them off right away. We don’t allow Psalm 101.5 - Slander Notourselves to become trash heaps; no, we stop it right away. It may be offensive to silence trash-talkers; it may be a humbling or humiliating experience for them, but that may even be something good for them to experience.

Those who spew out negative words about others operate in pride that stems directly from proud hearts. They feel like they’re above and others are below. That they’re better than others may not necessarily be true; they just esteem themselves as such.

We can justify times when there’s a need to speak about the wrongs and errors of others, but when we can make the necessary points without exposing the people, that’s what we do. It’s only when it’s absolutely needed that we resort to exposing the person. But that’s our last recourse. When we know of their sin, instead of slandering them to people behind their backs, we approach them directly and show their faults. We do this lovingly, humbly, gently, boldly, and restoratively.

Cursed at but Blessed

Psalm 109:28   (KJV)   28 Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice.

We bless others; not all of them reciprocate that.  There are people who dislike us despite the good way we treat them.  Others would get hurt when cursed at; it weighs heavily on them.  We pray for them that they’d handle things better.  It’s good to be treated well, but Psalm 109.28 - Cursed at But Blesssedwhen we believers are cursed, we’ve learned not to get hurt;  what matters is that God blesses us.  And His Words are more potent.

We glory in the Lord; in Him, no one can really hurt us.  God has an effectively powerful way of protecting us.  Although we don’t rejoice in other people’s pain—even those who mistreat us, often, the harm they intend for us boomerangs on them, and they’re the ones who suffer from their own actions.  Here again, it’s made clear why we can heed the Word’s admonition for us to rejoice in the Lord always.

There are many reasons why others curse us; they probably hate us for reasons we don’t know or reasons unfounded.  There are probably many reasons why God blesses us, but there’s one I know for sure:  He absolutely loves us.  He’s never an absentee God.  Even in those moments when He’s seemingly very quiet, and the slanders, accusations, and lies of our enemies abound, God is blessing us. Even in the middle of the worst treatment from others, we’re at the very center of the the best treatment from God.  It’s a fact of our Christian journey:  people will repay us evil for good, hatred for love, and slander for praise; we’re fine; our joy’s intact in the Lord.