“You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:34-37
Jesus follows His teaching on the treasure we store with a parable about how we receive and respond to God’s word in our hearts- and only those who hear and understand bear fruit. God’s word is living, active, and powerful, yet there is a cooperation in which we participate if it is to take up full residence in us and have its sway. (Matthew 13:3-8,19-23; Hebrews 4:12)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” “Keep [my words] within your heart… Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Deuteronomy 6:5; Psalm 51:10; 119:11; Proverbs 3:5; 4:21,23
How much attention do we pay to our hearts? It’s easy to get taken up with our exterior face and dress, adornments of education, accomplishments, and accolades, a flurry of tasks and activity, and not tend to our interior. It is more difficult to deal with conviction and disorder, to yield up nursed grudges, to change our ways, than it is to put on fancy clothes. We falsely think that if we cover up well and long enough, our accumulated hidden crud will be rendered inert and not affect the way we behave, but we end up paying the higher price of neglect.
The Bible makes much importance of the inner self. The God who sees all warns that our hearts are the wellspring for every word, action, and decision we manifest. Jesus teaches the heart is the place to keep clean of sinful allegiances and fill with truth and love for Him, to protect and employ for faith. A pure heart, properly stoked, will bear its heat and power and shine through all our external decorations and doings if we make it a priority and guard it with vigilance. (1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 27:19)
When was the last time I took inventory of my heart? Are there attitudes and habits I’ve allowed to reside, and calcify, there, and when will I confess them and set them aside? Am I regularly storing up God’s word in my heart? When do I take time to read, study, memorize, and apply it? Would we choose to exercise a healthy rate of love and trust?
Father, my heart is Yours to store. May it abound with Your good treasure, and flow with Your life, and beat in unison with Yours.