Fresh Hope – 19th March 2018

I came across this very captivating statement: “If your thoughts and the words you spoke appeared on your skin, would you still be beautiful?”

I remembered growing up in Zimbabwe and we had some fruit trees in the back garden which grew beautifully because of the tropical climate. My favourite fruit was the ‘guava’ which mainly grows in tropical or subtropical environments. The fruit is green or yellow on the outside and has a sweet succulent red core. One thing about the guava fruit is it is prone to worms inside its core – so one can look juicy and tasty on the outside but once opened reveals the core which is riddled by rot from the worms. I thought of this as something we ought not to be as Christians, good on the outside yet the heart is contaminated.

The heart is what you are, in the secrecy of your thoughts and feelings, where nobody knows but God. What you are at the invisible root matters as much to God as what you are on the outside. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).

So the heart is utterly crucial to Jesus. Sometimes we feel that we can get away with having bad, harmful negative thoughts or words because no one can see it, but from the heart are all the issues of life. Physically, we understand that a diseased heart may result in severe physical health issues. So, too, a spiritually diseased heart can cause spiritual problems.
It is clear from the Scriptures that God searches our hearts in order to determine the intents and purposes behind our thoughts and actions.

Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart; I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings”.

Proverbs 17:3 “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart”.

In all our actions God looks closely at our intentions. For example we might draw in our pockets and give an offering but deep inside or afterwards we grumble at this action, He clearly instructs that the heart must be cheerful as we give. So what we feel and think in the deep, private recesses of our lives is what he cares about most. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

One of the most difficult steps for us to take in our lives is to admit our hearts are not always right in God’s sight. At times we refuse to acknowledge when we do wrong and the sins that lurk in our hearts—“the sin which so easily ensnares us.” (Hebrews 12:1).

We might ask, ‘So what steps should we take to make sure our hearts are spiritually healthy? David clearly told us that we need an attitude of repentance.

David was aware of how absolutely vital the thoughts and intents of his heart were to God. He had grievously sinned against God by committing adultery with Bathsheba. He changed his thoughts and took action in order to renew his relationship with God. God wanted him to have “truth in the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6). David requested for God to: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

We do ourselves a great disservice by hiding our sins or allowing our egos to convince us that our hearts are clean and pure. David rejoiced when he had declared his sins before God: (Psalm 32:3, 5). When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long… I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden…and You forgave the iniquity of my sin”. So David received forgiveness from God and we know that God guarantees us forgiveness and it comes with freedom and liberty.

The joy of his life returned to him after he had acknowledged his sins and he wrote in Psalms 32 vs 11: “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”

Christine Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.