We are commanded by God to guard our hearts because of the temporal and eternal consequences that will impact us and others for good or for evil. That is why Solomon exhorts us to diligently guard our hearts in Proverbs 4:23.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
The important matters of life will be directed by what we store up in our hearts. If we store God’s word in our hearts then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, our attitudes, behaviors and desires will be guided for the good of ourselves, others and for God’s glory. Jesus said the following about the effect of the Word of God on the hearts of unbelievers and believers.
11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 14And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 15But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. Luke 8:11-15
Notice those who retain the Word of God and bear fruit have an honest and good heart, while those who cast God’s Word aside are deceived by the enemy, fear man, and love this worldly life. They are the ones who displease God and are sure to receive judgment and wrath from His hand.
5And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at his heart. 7And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repents Me that I have made them. Genesis 6:5-7
Evil apostasy always brings God’s judgment on those who reject the goodness of God and embrace sinful wicked depravity even though it grieves His heart. Sadly, our world is ripe for God’s judgment.
However, those who keep God’s Word, rely on and trust in Him. He works in their hearts for His good pleasure and glory. They put their faith in Jesus Christ and obey Him. God blesses us through knowing Him, and pours out His loving kindnesses upon us and gives us eternal life.
And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Jeremiah 32:38-40
This work of faith that God does in our hearts will bear much good fruit both now and for eternity.
Ultimately, the treasure of our hearts will be disclosed by our response to Jesus Christ. Those who love God will accept His Son, those who hate God will reject His Son. Those who love God will acknowledge that God has accomplished His work of salvation through His Son and those who hate God will scoff at the work of salvation done by Jesus Christ for God’s glory and the eternal benefit of rebellious sinners. This rejection of God and His Son is revealed to us in Matthew 12:32-37.
32And whosoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. 33Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. 34O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Matthew 12:32-37
Hatred of God is revealed by those who reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah. They reject the testimony given in Scriptures about Him, and they reject His fulfillment of those prophetic Scriptures regarding Him as the Messiah. They blaspheme the Holy Spirit by calling the genuine spurious, and attributing the work of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s life to the work of Satan. The most religious among us can be guilty of this sin, just like the sanctimonious Pharisees were guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit as they attributed the works of Christ to the devil. The words that we speak either for or against Jesus Christ and His Word reveal the good treasure or wicked depravity of our hearts.
Scripture tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It also reveals that there are no righteous, not even one (Romans 3:23 & 3:10). We are all bad trees bearing bad fruit apart from the intervention of God in our lives to bring us to repentant faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. He works in our hearts by His Word through His Holy Spirit so that we see our sin, turn from it and put our faith in our Savior Jesus Christ Who died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead for our justification.
6But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7or, “’Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is not distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:6-13
Salvation is that heart work of God whereby we call upon Jesus Christ to save us from our sins and God’s just wrath. This work of faith done in the heart of the rebellious sinner makes a good tree out of a bad tree and then as His beloved children we treasure His glorious Word in our hearts. It is His Word that informs our faith and directs our actions. The evidence of this amazing gracious transformation is that we obey from the heart the doctrine about Christ that we have been delivered to.
17But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:17-18
By God’s gracious mercy we are empowered to love Him, His Son, His Spirit, His Word and live for Him.
Loving and grateful obedience to Jesus Christ in all that we say and do reveals the good treasure that we have in the storehouse of our hearts. Careless words and behavior that disregard the Savior’s commands reveals an evil deceptive heart of unbelief. We show everyone our eternal destination by the fruit that we produce.
43For a good tree brings not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 44For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. 46And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47Whosoever cometh to me, and hears my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: 48He is like a man which built an house, and dug deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49But he that hears, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. Luke 6:43-49
Many will call Jesus Christ Lord and actually be familiar with His Word, but they stop there and do not do what God commands in His Word. This shows they are “veneer believers”. They have a veneer of faith, but it doesn’t reach into their hearts to affect their words and actions. Jesus Christ commands us to be rock believers. He wants us to have our lives so founded upon obedience to His Word that when the trials and difficulties universal to all, attack us, we will stand steadfast and sure because our hearts are in tune with His heart. He guards our hearts with His Word and we are led by our Savior to obedient living and so thrive in this life with our hearts full of praise and thanksgiving to God our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.