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Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it springs the issues of life
Proverbs 4:23



The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart!
Only God can make a perfect heart.

Ezekiel 36:26

~   Life is too short to harbor negative emotions.
Guard/keep your heart as you would a treasure – keep it free from envy, hatred, malice, unbelief and the pride of life - since your living comes from the inside. If I can get your heart, I’ll have your life!

~  Emanating from the heart of every person is either the light of Christ or the darkness of men, for no man can serve two masters. He must love one and hate the other.

~  Many seminars, workshops and conventions are held to teach us how to have the life we’ve always wanted; the life we only dreamt about. Pro. 4:23 gives us the key to that kind of life.

~  Your living, it comes from your heart – it emanates from the kind of person you are – the things you think about most, and the passion which give them birth. Indeed, you’ve heard all the cliches:
  Live life with enthusiasm.   Persistence wins the race.   Develop a master plan;   challenge your fears;   the best way to predict your future is to create it;   When you find a dream in your heart, don’t let it go; for dreams are the seeds from which your tomorrows grow.   The power to define who you are is the power to determine your destiny.   Change your perception, change your life!   If you want to win you must have a heart.

These are all wonderful sayings. However, I’m convinced that as fine as these sayings are, in and of themselves, they lack the sustaining power to endure – to go the distance, because they’re missing one essential ingredient.
They do not answer life’s existential questions: “Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?” But these clichés become awesomely powerful in a heart that’s surrendered to the alchemy of God’s ‘Amazing Grace’. Without this conscious act of the will, surrendering the heart to the purposes of a heavenly Father, living life fully is, indeed, an elusive dream. It’s like telling a blind man to walk with no cane. No help.

~  The question is: -Who am I? What's my purpose in life? Prov 4:23 commands: Guard your HEART. Herein lies the secret of success. To the world success means having it all. ~ In Mark 8:36 Jesus Christ taught that a man may gain the whole world and still not be a success. Jesus asks this pointed question, For what shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and lose his own soul? He can have mansions galore, airplanes and more, mountains of assets; billions in the bank, able to survey all the evidences of his personal fortune in every direction, and still - be a loser, in spite of it all, if – he doesn't know his true worth to the God who put him here; if his heart isn’t surrendered to God’s will, as he rightly understands it. In Prov 4:23 God instructs: Guard your HEART with all diligence because your heart determines the quality of the life you lead – the circumstances of all your tomorrows.

~  So who are you? You must know that! ~ You're not an accident. A number in a line up; a SIN, or some meaningless statistic lost in the endless shuffle of humanity. You are Special to God. He made you. He knew you before you were a speck in your mother’s womb. He chose you and He called you by your name. He picks you out in the crowd.

~  Someone said, you were born wet, naked and hungry. - from then on, things got worse. That’s not true! Friend, understanding your identity is knowing your true worth to your Father God; and having a heart, a passion after God. Mat. 6:33 says, Seek first God’s Kingdom.

~  Success will flow from this: Living life on purpose; living not by default but by design, doing God’s will. But, we do have a problem here. To begin with, indeed no man is born with a right heart, – a pure heart that’s right with God and neighbor. In Jer 17:9 God uncovers the heart of every one of us as exceedingly deceitful and desperately wicked, beyond human comprehension. God declares in verse 10: “ I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Deceitful and desperately wicked describe the heart of every man and woman, and our conduct verifies this astounding declaration. The pride, hatred, strife, envy and injustice of man’s inhumanity to man, all give eloquent testimony to the desperate condition of the human heart despite our pretensions and frequent denials. There’re people in every conceivable circumstance of life; some with lonely hearts, looking for love – in all the wrong faces; - broken hearts feeling constant pain, - empty hearts seeking for direction and fulfillment, and hard and indifferent hearts, made so by pride, envy, and bitterness. Sin alienates us from God. All we like sheep have gone astray. Rom. 3:23

Deceitful hearts

Yet, there’re those that hide in the sanctuary of religion. They love to come to church with the righteous, sing with the righteous, pray and feign worship with the righteous, but their hearts have never been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. They have never been born again. Their religion is a safe place where they’re sedated and comfortably fall asleep, whenever necessary.

Still, others have a divided heart: they feel safe in the company of the saints on Sunday, but on Monday on the job it’s quite a different story. Frankly, they’re ashamed about faith. “I don’t mix religion and work, they say. They compartmentalize life. They don’t have consistency of belief and behavior. They don’t serve God with their whole heart but with a divided heart! At their core, they lack authenticity, wholeness or integrity of heart – they’re not genuine – not whole. They want a religion without reproach; they’re convinced but not converted. Their religious profession is superficial instead of supernatural. Having a form of godliness, they prefer routine and ritual to reality and redemption. The scripture admonishes, turn away from such.

And then there’s the prideful heart: Others with religious pride – pride of their religion – its practices and doctrinal positions. ‘I don’t smoke and I don’t chew, and I don’t go with folks that do. Lips that touch wine shall never touch mine.’ I dot my i’s and cross my t’s; - we, know how to walk with pride and dignity. They’re depending on their religious body to swing wide open the gates of Heaven to them as it would for the righteous. Lord have mercy! Teaching for doctrine the commandments of their denomination, but absent from their midst is the Power of the Holy Spirit which sets the captive free – for time and for all eternity.

Sin does this to us. All men need a heart transplant operation – and God sent Jesus to do just that. Whosoever will may come and drink of the water of life freely – John 3:16. God promises a new heart. Friend, we can go to church, pray, worship; do all the ritual and activities associated with our religion; but when all that is said and done, if our hearts are envious, prideful, unfriendly and unforgiving; if our relationships are all messed up, what does it profit us? Though we speak with the tongue of men and of angels and do not have love, what does it profit us? What good is it if can sing ‘when we all get to Heaven’ and have great difficulty living with the people on earth? Someone said, To live with the saints above, oh that would be glory, but to live with the saints I know below, well, you know, that’s a different story.

All too often we try to fix broken people through counseling, psychotherapy and behavioral modification techniques. And these are valid when properly diagnosed. But if the diagnosis is in error, it does about as much good as giving a heart-attack victim a hair cut. He doesn't need a barber or a make-up consultant. He needs a cardiologist. When your heart is fibrillating,...you need heart treatment. Jesus Christ is the "Premier Cardiologist." Jesus heals your life by dealing with the heart... not just the external symptoms.

Psalm 24:4,5 asks, who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Yes, religion can be a thin veneer to cover and hide our true heart’s condition, or it can be the vehicle to bring us to Christ – the cleansing stream to a pure heart.

David earnestly prayed, O God, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Unite my heart to fear your name. I don’t want to have a deceitful heart, or be a person of divided loyalties; wanting God and serving my own self interests. So help me God! I want You God to be my magnificent obsession – my consuming priority, indeed. ~ To such a person, Jesus promises, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God!’ Guard your heart diligently.

Having a pure heart involves seeing people like God sees them – made in His very image; and candidates in need of the redeeming work of God in their lives.

The apostle Paul, that great apostle to the Gentiles, thunders forth in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 6, For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Yes friends, it begins with an act of our wills. Our hearts must be fully set on pleasing God. To be single minded in focus – loving God. The heart’s affections must be purified and preserved by God; only He can make a perfect heart. When you find Christ you become a new creation; You see life from a new direction; you serve God with true love and devotion; You become ‘born again.’ Only God can make a perfect heart.

Friend, how is it with you today?
Is your heart right with God? Do you love the light? Do you have a heart that’s been washed in the blood of the Lamb? Is your heart broken? A broken and a contrite heart God will not despise. If your heart is broken, you qualify, for in love’s service only broken hearts qualify.

Finally, To those who have loved the light, and followed this Christ, heeded the call of Pro. 4:23, there’s coming a great and glorious day – a glorious convocation indeed, when: We shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. - Yes, in the great triumphant morning when we hear the bridegroom’s cry, and the dead in Christ shall rise.

O what a blessed hope is ours! God wants to restore to you the lost and wasted years which the cankerworm and the caterpillar have taken away. Jesus died to take away your sins and cleanse your heart. Only God can make a perfect heart! You can find healing, freedom and deliverance in Jesus’ Name.

Please pray this prayer: I surrender to you. Purify me from sinful pride, resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, strife, and unbelief. Forgive me through Jesus' sacrifice. Thank you - I believe. Amen

~ In Prov 4:23 God instructs: Guard your HEART with all diligence
because your heart determines the quality of the life you lead –
the circumstances of all your tomorrows.

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