A - PERFECTING OUR HEART – 1
When we think of our heart just what do we mean? In the first place we want to realize that the Scripture is not speaking of the “ticker” in our chest. The heart of which the Bible speaks has many aspects to it. As we name some of these, our focus will be to explore our own hearts and determine what changes we need to make to perfect our hearts.
Our heart contains our thoughts. Prov.23:7 Our actions are promoted by our thoughts. We will always be thinking of something. If we think of something often enough, we cannot stop thinking of it. It is easy to become obsessed with a thought. Try forgetting something and see how difficult it is. Paul gives us a thorough filter for our thoughts in Phil.4:8 Perhaps it would be time well spent if we think upon each one of these separately.
The first is true. Eph.4:25 We lay aside falsehood and speak only the truth. If we are to walk as children of the Light (in Jesus), then truth must be part of our fruit. Eph.5:9 Truth is part of our Christian armor. Eph.6:14 Not only do we need to speak the truth but we need to study, support, and speak from God’s Word which is Truth. 2 Tim.2:15
The second part of our filter is honorable. Honest is used in some versions as is venerable. The Greek word used indicates that which is worthy of respect and value. Matt.15:8 Respect can be outward but not always with the heart. We need to be thinking of things worthy of respect, value, and honor. Our minds should not dwell on things that are flippant, cheap and of no value.
The third filter through which we guide our thoughts is right or just. We have a duty to God and to man. Our thinking is upon those who fulfill those duties correctly and honestly as well as the need to look into our hearts to see if we are doing the same. Our thinking needs to be upright and innocent of evil. Prov.14:12
Pure is the next description for our thinking. Anything pure is uncontaminated. Our thoughts should not be clouded with things of the world. Pure thoughts would not be morally corrupt. Jam.3:17 When something used in a ceremony was pure, it could be brought into the presence of God. Could we sit down with Jesus and relay our thoughts. (He knows what we are thinking anyway.) Matt.5:8 Thoughts that are pure are important to Jesus.
Lovely in the Greek means pleasing, agreeable. The lovely calls forth love. This is the only place this word is used in the N.T. To be lovely would have nothing offensive associated with it. We could think of something that would be beautiful in spirit.
Good repute or good report would be things that are fit for God to hear or see. What we hear and see induces our thoughts. Admirable is a word that could be inserted here. One example of the importance of choosing one of good report would be in the case of choosing men in Acts 6:3. In doing what is right, we may be able to override criticism. 1 Pet.3:16; 1 Pet.2:12 Thus our thinking remains right with a good conscience.
Excellence was known as the very highest of “goodness” in that culture. Our thinking should be of the very highest of moral excellence which was all-embracing. The word, virtue, is used in some versions. We have the example of our Lord in 2 Pet.1:3,4. If we yield to our Lord, we can take part in that excellence through the power granted by Jesus Christ.
Any praise in our thinking must never come from wishing or expecting praise for self. The thoughts in our heart must be thoughts that are worthy of praise—not of men first—but of our Lord. Many times we might be the object of praise as our thoughts bring forth a godly life. This must be accepted with great humility as we realize it is not from us. 2 Cor.5:21 Any praise from man is only extra. Our praise must come from God. Rom.2:29; 1 Cor.4:5
As previously mentioned, we are never without thought. Our admonition is think on these things. Some versions use the word, dwell. In other words let these thoughts inhabit our lives. This will change us and change is a choice. It has been said that faith is centered in human thought. We need to constantly assess our thoughts with the above filter. 1 Thess.5:21 When we find our thoughts going astray, our objective is to flee and to abstain. 2 Tim.2:22; 1 Thess.5:22
As we think of perfecting our hearts, let us realize that our thoughts are of utmost importance. It is paramount that we examine our thoughts and deal with any problem we might find. We have a wonderful promise in Jam.4:7. We spoke of fleeing and abstaining. Now we come to an important word, resisting. All of these take action on our part. We cannot be passive and think, “Oh, well”. We must resist the devil as wrong thoughts enter our mind. However, first, we must submit to God. We don’t do this on our own. We have help from the Holy Spirit that is within us if we are a Christian. 1 Jhn.4:4 That is our victory if we use that power to resist, flee, and abstain. We can have victory in Jesus! 1 Cor.15:57