When you speak from the heart what are you speaking about is it love and compassion, or something worse? I used to think that when I spoke from the heart I was speaking with a compassionate heart. However, as the years passed I’ve come to realize that the tragic conclusion is that my heart is desperately selfish and wicked. In Jeremiah, the nature of the heart is called “deceitful” and “desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9) and warns us not to trust the heart for this reason. In Matthew 15, Jesus likens the heart to the organ that can “defile a person” and out of a heart that where some of the darkest evils are brought forth.
Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. Matthew 15:17-19 ESV
Do you feel the same? It’s a hard question to answer honestly even when no one will hear us, because we spend so much time speaking from the heart and to admit that our hearts are wicked mutes all those feelings. Though when we look at our lives from God’s perspective we start to see the true intent of our hearts, which are ultimately found in our actions.
What do you spend the majority of your time doing? Do you spend hours on Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media site? Trying to invent the next big sensation? Slaving over the shoe and clothing racks at a department store? Sleeping in bed, because the world is too harsh to deal with? Be honest with yourself and answer truthfully, because what makes you happy is where you will immediately find joy and purpose in your life. Now that you know what makes you happy and where you want to naturally spend your time the next question might be a little harder to answer and might require you to go to God in prayer or read His Word to discover the answer. Would God be glorified by what I am doing?
If what makes you happy is not glorifying God then the intent is to break that cycle; a cycle is something that you are personally stuck in day after day, but the ability to overcome a cycle only comes when we truthfully admit to ourselves that there is an issue that needs to be solved. Personally I deal with a lot of anger and fear that my heart seems inexplicably drawn towards over the last few years. It has been extremely frustrating to see that no matter how much I try to move away that I’m so easily drawn back.
You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. James 5:8-9 ESV
In the moments when we enter into trials and tribulations our faith is tested and the true nature of our hearts is revealed. If we have even the slightest cracks in our faith and hearts then they are deepened and widened to the point where they are clearly visible as our anger and fear leaks out. The opposite is true that if our hearts are filled with compassion and love from God that when those cracks open that is exuded. Haven’t you ever asked why some Christians handle stressful situations better than others. Are they stronger? No. Do they know the answer to the situation? No. They only difference between those Christians who handle tribulations better than others is the direct result of their faith, which is displayed by their actions. Chances are that they have spent valuable time in His Word and in prayer getting to know God so that when they need Him most they can seek Him and understand what He would want them to do in the midst of their struggles.
James is one of my favorite books of the Bible, because it talks in length about faith and works, an area that I struggled with often during my early years as a Christian. Towards the end of chapter 2, James talks about the righteousness of Abraham was granted to him only after he justified his faith through works. “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24 ESV). Those two aspects, faith and works, are intertwined in our Christian walk because it is only through one that the other is made clear. Our faith is shown through our works and our works are a glory to God through our faith. Even deeper is our hearts which I almost want to say is the well of our faith. What we fill that well with determines what happens spills out when we are in the midst of a trial.
Do we read God’s Word to draw nearer to Him? Do we pray whether we are in a trial or not? Do we turn to God to support us in our lack of strength?