As a teacher, I have taught students how to make the right choices. Sometimes, I have been successful; sometimes, the students have continued doing the wrong thing and experienced adverse consequences. Will trying harder to make the right choices help me live a successful life as a follower of Jesus?
This idea came from a book titled "12 Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy" By Dr. Henry Coud and Dr. John Townsend, who also wrote "Boundaries".
I thought to cover this in a way that was easy to read and understand. It would be best to write this blog in two parts. The first part will look at what the Bible says about the heart. Then, I will explore the idea of how making choices to grow spiritually is possibly not just a bad idea but impossible.
To begin with, many Bible verses talk about the heart. Through reading these verses, it is quite clear that the condition of your heart plays a critical role in determining your ability to live successfully and authentically. What does the Bible say about the heart?
ONE: How we live our lives reflects the state of our heart. If our heart is good, our life will be successful in God’s eyes.
As water reflects the face,
so one’s life reflects the heart.
TWO: God calls us to guard our hearts as everything we do in our lives flows from our heart. To live successfully as followers of Christ, we need to focus on ensuring our heart is healthy.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
THREE: Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart.
We can put on a good appearance for a while, but the state of our heart is what God judges us on.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
FOUR: We cannot trust our hearts.
We need God’s help to both examine it and help us to deal with any issues in our heart we may have.
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”
God calls us to come to Him to replace our hard, stony heart and replace it with a living heart of flesh. That is something only God can do!
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Ezekiel 36:26
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
FIVE: When we seek God with all our heart, we will find him.
This has to be a heart endeavour that we are fully engaged in.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
SIX: We will succeed when we trust God with all our hearts.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
SEVEN: God calls us to love Him with all our heart.
We can not be half-hearted with our love for Him.
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37
EIGHT: When we delight in God, He gives us the desires of our heart.
From experience, we change our desires by bringing our heart to God to examine and change into a heart of flesh.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
NINE: God’s peace is what guards and protects our hearts.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
While reading the Bible, it is very clear that the state of our heart is critical. What we do in our lives reflects the condition of our heart. God judges us not on our outward appearance and actions but our heart condition.
The next blog will be about whether learning to make good decisions helps us to grow and mature as Christians.