I love the beginning of a new year and the feelings of expectancy and intentionality that come as we spend time with the Lord and incline our ears to hear from Him. Recently, as I settled in to spend some time with Him, I was led to read these verses in Prov. 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
Pondering these words, I felt the Lord underlining the importance of our hearts for the new season we have entered. The words "ABOVE ALL ELSE" speak volumes, but we tend to downplay their significance. Yet, Solomon, known for his wisdom, emphasizes the importance and absolute necessity of heart health.
But, what does it mean to "guard your heart"? I asked the Lord that, and saw a vision of an armed guard stationed at a doorway. It was his job to diligently watch over whoever might be coming and going through that doorway. If anyone tried to enter who might cause harm to those inside, then the guard did not allow entry.
This is a picture of the diligence we are to step into as we watch over or guard our own hearts. Judgmental attitudes, fearful perceptions, negativity, or any other fleshly patterns that enter the door of our heart have the ability to taint and disrupt the pure flow that God is wanting to release through us, His Church. We are to "stand guard" and be diligent to only allow those things in that pass this test:
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things..." (Phil. 4:8)
An even greater area to watch over in regards to our hearts are the wounds that we all receive as we participate in life. It is inevitable that we all will experience being wounded, but what do we do with our wounds?
Hebrews 12:1(TPT) says, "As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life's marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us."
Yes, we LET GO of our wounds. We LET GO through forgiveness, remembering the grace, mercy, and forgiveness that has been shown to us by our Savior, Jesus Christ. We LET GO of our sin by confessing it as sin, and receiving the cleansing grace He offers to each of us. I am so grateful for inner healing and prayer ministries that focus on healing the matters of the heart. These ministries are needed and vital as we all encounter warfare, hurts, and trials in our lives that can leave us feeling beaten up and wounded.
I feel that heart health is an important word for the Church as we embark on the journey He has marked out for us in the coming year. You see, the health of our heart will determine the strength of our ministry. What flows out of us, flows from our heart. God desires that our hearts be whole and healthy so that a pure representation and flow of Him can flow to the world around us, and we can inherit all He has planned for us.
A Wholehearted Bride
Wholeheartedness is linked to inheritance. Remember Caleb? He was the one along with Joshua who went in with a group of explorers to check out the promised land. Caleb and Joshua were known for their unwavering stance and perspective that differed from everyone else. The word "wholehearted" is used to describe Caleb a number of times.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines wholehearted as "completely and sincerely devoted, determined, or enthusiastic." I believe Caleb had the ability to be completely and sincerely devoted because of the condition of his own heart.
It's pretty clear. Caleb's ability to be "wholehearted" caused him to step into a great inheritance not just for himself, but for the generations to come.
In Joshua 14: 9, it says, "So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.'
The more whole our hearts are, the more ALL IN we can be. God is looking for an ALL IN Church in this hour. He is looking for a Bride who has not allowed her heart to be entangled and divided by wounds or sin so that she is free to run with Him into the coming year. Let's guard our hearts above all else, and give Jesus the wholehearted devotion He deserves.