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Daily Devo- Examine Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23 NIV

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

Our hearts are fragile and unfortunately pain is not something anyone can escape. At some point or another in your life, you will experience broken relationships. This is a direct effect from living in a broken world that is full of sin.

People who have been diagnosed with serious heart conditions need to change their unhealthy habits to help improve their overall heart health. Those that are diagnosed with ‘hardening or blockage or the arteries’ have recurring heart examinations with their doctors.

Just as a person with a heart problem diagnosed by a medical professional has to monitor their condition and identify any potential problematic areas, so should we on a spiritual level.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our heart that everything in life flows from it.

Think about that for a moment– EVERYTHING flows from it.

That means the good, the bad, the bitter, the joy, the pride and selfishness, and the love or hatred that comes out through our actions and words. To live a truly joyful and blessed life– we need to intentionally examine our hearts (with God’s help) to identify any areas in which we need to grow and change.

Lamentations 3:40 Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord;

Examine your heart and pray– ask God to show you the areas in which need attention. Ask Him for discernment with your actions and words, that He would expose to you when you are reacting out of the flesh and not according to His will.

Psalm 26:2 NIV Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;

Take a look at these 8 potentially problematic areas in our hearts when examining our spiritual health

  1. Pride: Do I focus on how much I’ve been wronged? Do I have a problem admitting my faults?
  2. Faultfinding: Do I rehearse the faults of others in my life?
  3. Avoidance: Do I avoid being around people with whom I have conflict?
  4. Silence: Do I shut down and refuse to speak about my problems or feelings in a healthy way?
  5. Isolation: Do I withdraw from those around me emotionally?
  6. Unfaithfulness: Do I worry and fret of circumstances outside of my control?
  7. Hopelessness: Do I lack faith that God can and will work out my situation?
  8. Resentment/Bitterness: Do I hold on to my anger and hurt until it turns into resentment or bitterness towards the one who the conflict is with?

The heart examination only works if you are truthful with yourself and God about your feelings and results from ‘your exam’. Finding problematic areas in your heart does not mean you are a bad person or even that God is displeased with you. The condition of our heart and circumstances never surprise God– nor change His love for us.

True freedom and happiness in Christ comes when we acknowledge our problematic areas and seek to change them. Pulling each bad habit, thought, or opposition to God’s Word and will out by its roots and planting new healthy habits; creating new root systems based on His word.

Psalm 139: 23-24 NIV  Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Father for giving Your direction and help throughout every day of our lives. Lord, it is because of You and You alone that I am able to share Your love and truth with others. These words are not mine but Yours and I pray that all the glory be brought to Your kingdom. Lord I confess that I have not put much thought into my heart health on a spiritual level, forgive me God, for I only want to please You. Help me to search my heart Lord and expose to me problematic areas. Show me where I am lacking and help me to seek and understand Your truth and will. Lord, I pray You will guard my heart and give me discernment and peace, so that I will not hold on to hurt or anger and allow it to take root in my life. I pray for Your strength to help me to change from the inside out; owning my faults, and seeking to make each right according to Your will. In Jesus mighty name I pray
Amen

Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Daily Devo- The Problem with Pride

There is a fine line between the balance of confidence and being prideful of oneself. Confidence is on the positive side- you need confidence to be successful. However, on the other hand, pride falls on the negative side- often leading to self-destruction.

We want to be confident in what God tells us to do and who He says we are- we should have a healthy and positive self-image. But we have to be careful not to get a ‘big head’ about it and become prideful.

Pride motivates people to do what is best for themselves- even at the expense of others. Pride tells people they deserve to be rewarded, promoted, or acknowledged in some way. Pride stops people from admitting their weakness and reaching out for help. Pride is the greatest factor that stops one from seeking counseling, because they do not think that they need anyone else’s help to fix their problem.

Some people are so prideful they refuse to consult God with anything in their lives- instead they prefer to trust their own abilities and instincts.

Some people will have a healthy balance of confidence that leads them to success and then become prideful. They begin behaving in a way as to say that no one else could ever do what they do- giving themselves an exaggerated sense of importance and becoming prideful.

Pride is the root expression of our sinful nature. Pride is so full of itself that it can not listen to any other voice that is contrary to its’ opinion.

Pride is used in a negative sense in both the Old Testament and New Testament. Pride was the reason Adam and Eve violated God’s command- and choose to eat from the tree of knowledge. (Genesis 3:4-6) It was also the cause that motivated Lucifer to rebel against God- known as the fall of Satan. (Isaiah 14:12-15) Pride is what motivated Lucifer- a powerful angel of God- to set his will against God’s- he is said to be the culprit of sin. (Ezekiel 28:11-19)

In the New Testament Paul warns against several different expressions of pride. Pride can be dangerous to non-Christians and new Christians alike- when seeking salvation. Salvation must be a work of God and can not be earned through our own works. Reliance on our self to accomplish salvation distorts the message all together.

Salvation is a gift from God. It is because of His works alone- through faith in Jesus Christ- that we can be saved. There is no room for self-achievement within it- so that no one can take pride or boast.

Paul said it like this in Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Humility overcomes Pride

Pride tells people that you do not need anyone’s help. Humility tells people that they can not do anything without God. Humility is always looking for someone to help and listen to, not for someone to talk to. Humility is near to those who are hurting, focusing on the need.

Humility reminds people that God is the source of all gifts and abilities- that God can equip those that He calls. Pride is the arrogant refusal to allow God to be God. Pride tells people I am something without God- Humility says I am something because of God and nothing without Him.

How do you trade your pride in for humility?

Most importantly you will need a healthy view of God. Understanding who He is and who we are with and without Him. Spending time in His word- praying- and worshipping Him through all seasons of life.

Stop focusing so much on your own needs and wants and start praying and asking God how you can serve someone else’s needs. Be on guard- keep your eyes and ears open to situations around you through-out the day- purposely SEEK to bless and lift up others.

Give God thanks in ALL things- big or small- He has blessed you with them all!


Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for your many gifts and blessings. Thank you for being a patient Father who is quick to forgive. Forgive us for having prideful attitudes and for relying on our own ways and our own abilities. God I pray You fill us up with Your Holy Spirit- we want to be confident in You and not prideful in our own ways. I pray that You would help each of us to be humble and look to help others. I pray You use us to lead others to Your love. God I pray for each person that does not know you personally- that they would seek You and find You. I pray for our nation as a whole remove the pride in us all and replace it with humility and confidence in You. It is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen