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Summary: We are going to look at our lives through a playing card, specifically the 7 of hearts. Scripture tells us there are 7 attitudes that we must deal with in order to be in right relationship with God.

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“Spiritual Poker: Winning and Losing with the 7 of Hearts”

04/24/05

Intro: Our world is going crazy over poker. It seems you can’t turn on the TV without the World Series of Poker being on. I am not a big fan of the trend, and a lot of good discussions could take place about the health of this trend, but it seems to be everywhere.

When I was a kid, the only poker player I knew was Maverick from the old television show. Now, Chris Moneymaker, Greg “Fossilman” Rayner and Huck Seed have their own posters and web pages.

Today is not a lesson on poker. In fact, I want you to understand that I think the gambling craze and addiction is very dangerous. But poker provides a great backdrop for the passage we are going to look at today because in a very real sense we tend to play spiritual poker with the attitude and actions of our lives.

Today we are going to look at our lives through a playing card; specifically the 7 of hearts. Scripture tells us that there are 7 heart attitudes that we must deal with in order to be in right relationship with God.

“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV)

Today we are going to look at these heart conditions and ask, are you taking a gamble or are you “all in” with your heart condition with God.

1) “Haughty Eyes” = Pride

Pride is the key barrier to our relationship with God.

It tells us we don’t need God and that we are fine on our own.

Look at the warnings in scripture against pride:

“To fear the LORD is to hate evil: I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Proverbs 8:13(NIV)

“The stuck-up fall flat on their faces, but down to earth people stand firm.” Proverbs 11:2(The Message)

Pride causes us to think we are better that we are.

The antidote to pride is humility.

Humility, in this context, means dependence on God.

Jesus calls those who live by “kingdom” standards to live in humility.

“If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored.” Matthew 23:12 (CEV)

2) “Lying Tongue”

God desires us to live in truth with him and one another.

“Truth lasts; lies are here today and gone tomorrow.”

Proverbs 12:19 (The Message)

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

The blessing of telling the truth:

“The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” Proverbs 12:22(NIV)

3) “Hands that shed innocent blood”

The passage is speaking directly of murder.

Jesus gave us a new and broader understanding of our heart condition.

“You have heard it said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” Matthew 5:21-23(NIV)

Jesus is speaking of the internal desire of your heart.

How is your heart attitude to people in your life?

4) “Heart that devises wicked schemes”

The image is of one who seeks to harm or defraud someone.

God’s desire is not wickedness in our heart, but purity.

“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” Psalm 24:3-4 (NIV)

Is your heart pure and blameless or is it scheming?

5) “Feet that rush to evil”

Does sin come easily for you, or do you wrestle with your actions?

Sin brings a momentary rush that feeds our human desires.

God desires us to resist evil and pursue what is good.

“Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything good” Romans 12:9(CEV)

6) “A false witness who pours our lies”

Don’t tell lies about others.

7) “A man who stirs up dissension among brothers”

This can be summed up in one word—gossip.

Do you know people who constantly keep the pot stirred by talking about others? Are you a “blender” when it comes to stirring things up?

Gossip is not just saying rumors, it is speaking with impure motives.

Even speaking truth is to be done with the right motive.

“Do everything in love.”

I Corinthians 16:14(NIV)

We should not hide the truth, but should check our motives when speaking it.

Drop these phrases from your vocabulary:

“I probably shouldn’t say this.” Then Don’t!

“I know this is wrong, but” Stop!!

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