Summary: Guard your heart above all else for it impacts everything you do
GUARD YOUR HEART
I used to watch Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter on TV whenever I got a chance. So many times I thought for sure he would be fatally bitten by a snake, crushed and killed by a crocodile, or mauled to death by some wild beast. It was a shock and surprise to learn how he died. Steve Irwin though facing dangers daily made it a point to be extremely alert and guard his body from any surprise attacks by the animals and things he encountered. The one area that he thought would not be vulnerable turned out to be the most vulnerable. It was not his limbs or head but his heart that was unprotected. The 44-year-old Irwin’s heart was pierced by the serrated, poisonous spine of a stingray. The Word of God instructs us to “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it spring the issues of life.” In other words, guard your heart above all else for it impacts everything you do.” It is not talking about the physical organ of the heart but is referring to the core of an individual his intellect, emotions, and will.
I. The Significance of the Heart
A. Guarding your heart is more important than anything else you do.
B. Your physical heart determines how and what your body can or cannot do. Likewise your spiritual heart will determine what you will or can do spiritually and eternally.
C. Heart is used in Scripture as the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as “the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity,” “the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will,” and “the center of a person. The place to which God turns.” - Fan The Flame, J. Stowell, Moody, 1986, p. 13
D. You are what your heart is.
• Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
• Proverbs 27:19 As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.
E. That is why God says he looks at the heart not the external appearance.
• 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
F. It is out of our hearts that sin emanates.
• Matthew 15:17 – 19 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies.
• Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
G. It is by believing with the heart that one receives God’s gracious salvation.
• Romans 10:9 - 10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart (believing with the very core of your being) that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
II. The Attack of the Heart
A. Acts 5:3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?
B. John 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him,
C. There is a war being fought in the world today. – it is a supernatural war fought between God and the devil, between heaven and hell, being fought for your heart.
D. Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
III. The Conditions of the Heart
A. Hardening of the Arteries (Cold Indifference)
1. Hebrews 4:7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.”
2. Ken Crockett says that when he first enrolled in seminary, he found an apartment room next to a railroad crossing. He wondered why the apartment rent was so cheap—and found out the first night. A train came through in the middle of the night, blasting its horn. It didn’t just wake him up, but also nearly gave him a heart attack! Every night when the train came through, it blew the horn. At first he thought about changing apartments, but then he started getting used to the nightly awakenings. He would wake up for a few seconds, then go right back to sleep. Eventually he got where the train horn didn’t even wake him up. He hardened his heart to the train and couldn’t hear it any more. The same hardening process occurs when God speaks to our hearts and we don’t respond. Eventually, we stop hearing His voice because our hearts have become hard.