"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23.
Hello readers. Welcome to my heart. Let's begin.
I called this blog "Matters of the Heart" (just in case you missed it) because I love this phrase. And I also love the word of God that tells us to guard our hearts. Now this verse is from the book of Proverbs, which is nicknamed the Book of Wisdom. And if you've ever taken a dive into this book one night in your quiet time, the content can be a lot to swallow all at once. Which is why I kept it with just this one verse, because A: It says plenty, and B: its the theme for this entry.
So Mr. Ball? What matters of the heart are being discussed today?
I love how the writer of Proverbs worded this, because I completely agree with it. He says EVERYTHING WE DO FLOWS FROM OUR HEART.
For years God has dealt with me in visuals. I can recall one day praying the prayer that many of us have heard in songs. Lines like, "God give me Your eyes" or "God break my heart for what breaks Yours". Well, I quickly learned this line, "be careful what you pray for". I had been praying this prayer for a few days at the time and God answered it as I was walking from my on-campus job to my class one chilly morning. Auburn University is a large campus, so I could easily pass 100 people before making it to class. Well, that morning God let me feel burdens from about a third of the people I walked by. I would hate to later find out that this experience had any truth behind it, I mean would God actually be telling ME these people's business? But what it did was help me feel the brokenness of the world. Even if the girl I walked by wasn't having self-esteem issues because of abuse, or the guy I walked by hadn't actually thought about committing suicide because he couldn't seem to make friends, the experience worked. After this experience and a few tears staining my collar, God showed me that I had only felt the weight of a few people in a small town in Alabama in the United States in North America in the Western Hemisphere. Are you getting it? I was heavily burdened, in tears, for probably 30 people, and..didn't Jesus die for ALL of us? Didn't He carry the weight of sin for ALL OF US? (I love the ALL CAPS)--- but to answer that question, YES!
Here's the point.
The matters of the heart has become a new thing for me. Almost a lifestyle. That's where the name of the blog came from, and its the reason why I write the way I do. I've come to understand that every behavior blossoms from something. We (humans) are conditioned peoples from someone else's behaviors. Take a minute. We are conditioned people from someone else's behaviors. I mean, the scripture says EVERYTHING WE DO FLOWS FROM OUR HEARTS. So if our hearts are affected in any way, then its going to affect our behavior.
Still Claude. What is your point?
The million dollar and my two cents question is.....What hinders people from to God? It amazes me how easily we are to focus on people's actions and ignore the reason behind their actions. For example, its easy to judge the prostitute on her "career" but not look pass it and consider her hearts conditions. I mean, everything we do flows from the heart, right? Do you seriously think she chose prostitution over a bank teller job?
So what happened? And, what's the cause of these behaviors?
Here's a few examples. I'm sure Rodney King is afraid of getting pulled over now. (smile, I'm kidding) But with the humor aside, the point is still valid. His one bad experience with the police I'm sure has caused him to dislike ALL POLICEMEN. Just like one bad over cooked steak at a restaurant will cause us to never return again. Or one rude person at a customer service desk will cause us to never shop at the entire store again. Or one Christian turns us away from God.
Yeah, I snuck that in there on purpose. See the comparison? Why do we do this? Why do we judge an entire thing off ONE incident? Matters of the heart. Our hearts are completely ridiculous sometimes. But its so easy for us to condition ourselves to be completely turned off of something because of one incident.
So why is it hard for people to come to God?
I would love to challenge us all to become better at seeking this answer. It's so easy to throw bible verses at people who are "doing wrong" or living "displeasing lives" but I dare you to love on them deeper enough and figure out the root of it. Stop wacking away at weeds and discover the root of the problem so we can pull them up completely.
What are you saying Claude?
I honestly don't know myself. I'm just having faith in the 1 Peter 4:8 "above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin." I'm believing in getting people to find a way to commit to Jesus's answer when He was asked ,"What's the most important commandment?" And His answer was love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27.
And as most things, I know this from experience. I recall having a bad night and I reached out to a friend for consolation. And this friend decided to spit out bible verses at me. Isaiah 41:10, Luke 12:32, John 14:27, Romans 8:28, Philippians 4:6-8----After being impressed with this friend ability, I was still left with that bad night. Oh? That was supposed to help me? Well it didn't because I knew what they said. But why didn't I believe in those verses that night at that moment? And that's where God took over the conversation. He simply said, "You don't trust in them because you don't know who's saying them to you."
Hahahaha. Isn't God just amazing. Rewind that back.
"You don't trust in them because you don't know who's saying them to you."
Emphasizing yet again God's desire for us to have relationship with Him. I'm going to have a hard time trusting in ANYTHING this Man says if I don't even know Him. If a random guy walked up to you and said, "Hey, if you don't go take a shower in the next 5 minutes you WILL catch a deadly skin disease," (not a scripture). But, what will make you listen? Only faith would make you listen and obey. And God stood at the foot of heaven and clearly said, "Without faith, it is impossible to please Me..." (Hebrews 11:6) So with these matters of the heart there has to be an injection of faith straight into the beat of our hearts before we're going to do anything for Him. So the question was, what hinders people from turning to God? Well for me that night, it exposed a slack in my relationship with Him. And I know for many people its problems mentioned earlier, the Christian at the customer service desk that was having a bad day so her attitude turned you away from the God store. (metaphor) Or that Christian judged you while you were at your job, even though it was on the corner. (another metaphor) Or even just like Eve, when the sly tongued serpent convinced her that the opposite of what God said was her missing out on something really good. Now, the million dollar question and possibly the most important question today.
What hinders you?