WINNING WITH THE WORD
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Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is March 15, 2021, and this is Episode #6 of Series 2021. This episode is titled “What’s the Condition of Your Heart?”
Did you know that the condition of your heart determines the course of your life? I’m not talking about your physical heart. I’m talking about that intangible part of you that includes your mind, your will, your emotions, and your conscience.
The Bible says this about the heart: “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Now that’s a pretty heavy statement, don’t you think? So heavy, in fact, that we would be foolish to ignore it.
Yet, many people do ignore it, and they ignore it to their own peril.
What is meant by guarding your heart? To guard means to protect from harm. The Bible commands us to protect our hearts more than we protect anything else? Why? Because our heart is more precious than anything else. Our heart determines where we end up at the end of our life.
So, how can we determine the condition of our heart? A good way is to consider the different types of heart conditions the Bible talks about and then evaluate your own heart by these conditions.
The Bible describes six heart conditions. Let’s take a look at each one.
1. The Double Heart. The Double Heart is also referred to as the Deceitful Heart. I call it the Forked Heart, as in forked tongue. Scripture alludes to the double heart in Psalm 12: 2 NKJV: “They speak idly everyone with his neighbor: With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.”
The double heart is a two-faced heart. It speaks out of both sides of its mouth. It says one thing and means another. It is double-minded. In James 1: 8, we read that “a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways.” So, a double heart is an unstable heart. What happens to things when they are unstable? They fall.
2. The Hard Heart. In Proverbs 28: 14, we read this warning: “Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”
What is a hardened heart?
A hardened heart is a heart that has lost its sensitivity to the things of God. In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 8, verses 16-21, Jesus reveals that a hard heart has lost its ability to see, understand, and hear God. It is a heart that has also lost its ability to remember.
Let’s enter this passage in Mark chapter 8, verses 16 through 21. The disciples are out on the lake in a boat, and they realize they have forgotten to bring bread to eat. So, they’re discussing what to do. Let’s listen in on what Jesus says:
“Aware of their conversation, Jesus asked them, ‘Why are you debating about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Do you have such hard hearts? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of broken pieces did you collect?”
“Twelve,” they answered.
“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of broken pieces did you collect?”
“Seven,” they said.
Then He asked them, “Do you still not understand?”
Notice the four words Jesus used: See, Understand, Hear, and Remember. A hardened heart does not see, understand, hear, or remember God’s promise to take care of us.
How often, when faced with a new trial, do we allow fear to enter our hearts because we forget how God has helped us and delivered us in the past? I have been guilty of not remembering God’s past faithfulness. What about you?
Not remembering God’s past faithfulness is simply an indication of our little faith in His promise to care for us. We forget that the Lord has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
What causes a hardened heart?
Sin, pride, setbacks, and disappointments can cause a hardened heart. Especially in these last days, Satan is using setbacks and disappointments to wear us down, to weary us. The antidote to this attack of the enemy is praise and worship. The more we praise and worship the Lord, the more we are strengthened.
Another cause of a hardened heart is unforgiveness. When we refuse to forgive, we hurt only ourselves, not the person who hurt us. If you have unforgiveness in your heart, drop it now, as though it were a poisonous snake, because it is.
3. The Proud Heart. Scripture talks about the proud heart in Proverbs chapter 21, verse 4: “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin.” The proud heart is the heart that thinks it knows better than God. It is the heart that chooses its own will over God’s will. The proud heart always has to have the last word. It always thinks it is right and others are wrong.
The proud heart has trouble asking for forgiveness. It is easily offended. It sees the splinters in the eyes of others but not the beam in its own eye.
Of all sins, pride is, perhaps, the most dangerous because it cannot see itself. The proud heart cannot see its own pride.
4. The Unbelieving Heart. In Hebrews 3: 12, the Word says this: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.” Notice that the Bible equates unbelief with an evil heart. This is quite sobering!
We sometimes take unbelief lightly, blaming it on our own humanity. Yet, God takes unbelief very seriously. He tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please Him. So, if we are in unbelief, we are not pleasing God.
How can we know if we have an unbelieving heart? Here are two signs:
__The unbelieving heart believes the five senses more than it believes God’s Word.
__The unbelieving heart gives in to fear when facing a trial.
We need to be on guard against an unbelieving heart. Unbelief, if left unchecked, will cause us to depart from God. The chief danger of unbelief is that it destroys the trust that is the foundation of our relationship with God. Unbelief tries to convince us that God does not have our best interests at heart, that He doesn’t care for us, that He won’t come through for us.
Doubting God’s love for us causes us to lose our trust in Him. And when we lose our trust in God, we turn away from Him.
5. The Cold Heart. Matthew 24: 12 warns us that in the last days, when lawlessness abounds, the love of many will grow cold. We are witnessing the fulfillment of this warning in our own day. Lawlessness is a loss of respect for the law. Bottom line, lawlessness is a loss of respect for the Word of God.
When we lose respect for God’s Word, the Holy Bible, our love for God and for others grows cold. Love that has grown cold has lost its fire and, in truth, is no love at all.
6. The Unclean Heart. David the Psalmist prayed that God would create in him a clean heart (Psalm 51: 10). At the time David prayed this prayer, he had an unclean heart because he had sinned with Bathsheba and had had her husband murdered to hide the fact. God sent Nathan the prophet to convict David of his sin. David humbly acknowledged his sin and repented before God.
So, what is an unclean heart? It is a heart that is dominated by the flesh and not by the Spirit of God. It is a heart whose motives are not holy but selfish. David understand that only God, the Creator, could create a clean heart in him. David could not do it on his own.
And neither can we. If you’re heart is unclean, repent before God now and He will give you a clean heart.
The first step toward receiving a clean heart is to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. If you do not yet know the Lord, I urge you now to receive Him as Your Savior and Lord. Pray this simple prayer with me now:
Lord Jesus, I want a clean heart. But You are the only One Who can make my heart clean. So, I ask You now to come into my life. I receive You as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Forgive me of my sins. Create in me a clean heart. In Your Precious Name, I ask and receive. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer sincerely, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would like to send you a free e-booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He teaches you how to live.
Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers. It is critically important in these last days to fellowship with other believers who are mature in Christ and can guide you as you grow in Him.
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Until next time, remember that God loves you just as you are and just where you are and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word!
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Featured Book of the Week: THE IRON SAINT by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD
The Church in America is on the verge of a tremendous spiritual awakening, an awakening that will first be fueled by persecution unlike anything we have ever seen before in this land. Indeed, a prophetic word given in my home church during the month of November gave this warning to the Church: “Prepare for the fire of persecution!”
But the Church is not ready for this persecution. For the most part, the Church in America has been weak and lukewarm. Flabby and lazy. Consumed with the world and not with the things of God. As a result, the Church has been deceived and has subverted the divine order of things.
In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. MaryAnn Diorio seeks to help equip the saints for the work of true, integritous, and effective ministry. As a teacher in the Body of Christ, it is her burning desire to help correct this devastating error.
In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. Diorio has outlined a plan of action for strengthening the Church through uncompromising obedience to the Word of God. This plan of action is based on her own 50 years of walking with the Lord and being led by His Holy Spirit.
If you are a born-again believer and member of the Body of Christ, make this book a top reading priority.
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