Proverbs 4:23 [NIV] – Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Many years ago, I took a missions trip to India. Upon landing in the city, we began the long drive out to a more remote village for a pastors’ conference. The road we traveled upon for part of the journey winded along the dirtiest, foulest, and nastiest river I had ever seen. The river was polluted upstream, and human excrement, animal feces, and industrial chemicals flowed downstream causing sickness and stench for everyone and everything downstream.
According to the Bible, your heart is upstream and your life is downstream.
How’s your heart today?
Often, we are more aware of our outer life (weight, appearance, clothing) than we are our inner life. Some roughly nine-hundred times the Bible refers to the heart. The heart includes the emotions we feel, desires we have, and decisions we make.
Perhaps nothing more forcefully reveals our hearts more than parenting. As a parent, one of the great diagnostic tools of the heart according to the Lord Jesus is our communication (Matthew 12:34, 15:18). If a parent or other caregiver is cursing, yelling, name calling, or bending ongoing conflicts into an argument of how the child is making them look bad to other adults, then you know that the heart needs some Holy Spirit heart surgery. Our kids expose and even enrage our hearts, and when they do, we need to bring our heart to our Father so that He can parent us before we parent our child. Parenting is sanctifying if you surrender to this fact. We are God’s child before we are the parent to our child.
Once our heart is right, we can then engage the heart of our child. And, for starters every child needs a new heart. As a Christian with a new nature we can forget that our kids need Jesus too, and that apart from being born again of the Spirit, all they have is a fallen heart. Therefore, the first priority is for the parent to bring their heart to God. And, the second priority is for the parent to teach their child to also bring their heart to God.
If you had to pick one word to describe your heart today, what would that be?