We’re not outside-in people but inside-out people. When we feel that something is wrong with us, most of try to fix the problem by doing. We change our schedule. We tell ourselves we’ll eat better, exercise more, or spend less time on our phones. But the problem isn’t any of those things; the problem is our hearts. They’re sick and in need of God’s help. We can’t change our hearts through behavior modification; we need heart transformation.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
It’s impossible to have a clean heart without gospel transformation. God must come to us and make us new. We need to examine our hearts and invite the Holy Spirit to continue to change us. The gospel isn’t just for the moment we believe. We need the gospel every moment of our lives. Our hearts are made new by the Holy Spirit the moment we believe; they’re renewed as we pursue the Spirit day after day.
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
In this passage Jesus said what comes out of our mouths is born and bred in our hearts. He also spoke the wisdom that good fruit doesn’t come from bad trees. In other words, the fruit of our lives corresponds to the health of our souls. Jesus was explaining that if we want to know what’s going on in our hearts, we must listen to ourselves.
Reflect on the past week. What did you talk about? What did you say to your spouse? Your children? Your friends? What did you say or write in emails to coworkers?
What were the tone, attitude, and emotion behind those words? How did your heart drive what you said?
The beautiful reality of the gospel is that God is concerned about your heart—about your soul. His life, death, and resurrection purposefully restored, redeemed, and healed your heart from the power, presence, and penalty of sin. Jesus didn’t come for the healthy but the sick (see Matt. 9:12). If you are realizing the need in your heart, Jesus is ready to receive you.
We often avoid making space in our lives to focus on our hearts because we’re afraid of being overwhelmed by what we’ll find there. It’s scary to imagine all of our wounds, desires, and disappointments, and we think life is easier if we avoid them and press on. Seeing God as our hope makes us contented children. We find peace in our souls when we wait and hope in God. The Bible invites us to cry out to God. To wait on Him. To find rest.
If you don’t slow down and say, “God, work on my heart; reveal what I’m believing; reveal what I’m thinking; reveal what I’m wanting; reveal what I’m lacking,” you’ll continue to run away from your heart. However, your heart is driving everything you do. If it continues to go unexamined, you’ll lose your life chasing things you don’t even understand. You’ll be tired. Your soul will be exhausted.
It’s possible to be so busy that we never stop to reflect on what God is doing in our hearts. Make some space this week to reflect on what is going on in your heart, what God is revealing to you and in what ways are you being challenged to grow?
(Taken from Making Space by Jeff Vanderstelt, ©2018 LifeWay.)