Monday, August 8, 2011

Changing the Way We Speak By Examining the Heart

I was just reviewing yesterday's blog post just before I went to check my email. I often do this and usually find grammar and sentence structure mistakes in my enthusiasm to express what's on my heart. So, I went to check email and received my daily devotional from Girlfriends in God. Sharon articulated a core issue I was struggling to convey yesterday. The post was entitled, "Changing the Way We Speak by Examining the Heart" by Sharon Jaynes. In closing she shared the following scriptures:
The book of Proverbs has much to say about how the condition of our heart affects what we say.
  • Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
  • The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin. (Proverbs 10:8)
  • A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly. Proverbs 12:23)
  • An anxious heart weights a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25)
  • The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. (Proverbs 15:14)
  • The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. (Proverbs 15:28 TNIV)
  • A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. (Proverbs 15:30)
  • The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction. (Proverbs 16:21)
  • The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and theirlips promote instruction. (Proverbs 16:23 TNIV)
  • One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. (Proverbs 22:11 TNIV)
  • Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are ferventlips with an evil heart. (Proverbs 26:23)
  • Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. (Proverbs 26:24, 25 TNIV)
  • As the water reflects a face, so one’s life reflects the heart. (Proverbs 27:18 TNIV)
These scriptures really spoke to me about what I was talking about with heart issues effecting our actions, choices and direction in our life. We are all capable of faking it until we make it. Anyone can be on their best behavior, sell themselves, fake church, do all the right things for all the wrong reasons, and put the front of having their 'act' together. Our feelings effect our thoughts. Thoughts effect beliefs. Beliefs determine choices. Habitual choices are the foundation of character. What happens though when the people we so want to impress, seek approval from or respect for, leave? Character is what we do when no one is watching, is reflected in how we treat those we can't benefit from, it's what happens when we are sure we won't get caught and no one will find out. In the end everything we think, say and do is for an audience of One. His way , His view, His laws, His love is all that will matter. These are the core issues I hope to address through loving, training, correction, direction, encouragement and most importantly listening to my children.

We as parents are fighting against a huge wave of popular culture counter to our beliefs. A system of beliefs and actions based on very unstable foundations. Finding self worth in anything exciting, glamorous, sexy and instantly fun. These messages enable selfishness, immaturity, irresponsibility, materialism, arrogance, apathy, hard hearts, laziness, and entitlement. Everything tells us we don't have to wait, we should - and deserve- perfection, to have everything we want, when and how we want it. Money, status, appearance, acceptance, even our families and friends will all change. Stock markets crash, jobs are lost, people age, friends/ family will hurt and disappoint us, others will reject us and loved ones pass away. Maybe just because I now have sons, I'm so much more aware of how cheap our culture portrays physical intimacy. It's reduced to a biological function that you can just do with anyone and further the lie by saying as long as you have a physical layer of protection - from unwanted pregnancies and diseases- it's fine. Convictions are something to be hidden along with our faith in anything besides what society deems important at that moment.
God offers us the real & lasting protection, self worth, belonging, peace of mind, happiness and security we crave instead of the dangerous illusion of it the world offers. Sometimes it's like convincing a child that's it's worth it to wait and save up their money for the real well made item instead of settling for the cheap shiny plastic toy that will beak in an hour. Encouraging a teen to wait for mature, respectful, committed love rather than giving away any part of their heart, time, or body for temporary shallow acceptance and approval. It just doesn't compare in the long run.
I take seriously my responsibility as their mother to model, encourage and pray for the 4 pillars from Luke 2:52, " Jesus grew in wisdom (academic) and stature (physically), and in favor with God (spiritual) and man (social). "

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