Many of us tend to make sure that everything on the outside looks good. We wear the nicest, newest clothes, we drive the nicest cars we can afford (or sometimes CAN’T afford), and live in the nicest houses that we can. Why do we do this? We do it because we strive to look the best that we can to other people. Whether this is due to pride, human nature, or simply society telling us that’s the way it should be, we focus on making sure that everything looks PERFECT.
We focus on the outside, but God says we need to focus on the inside – our heart. He says that when our inside looks good, our outside will be a reflection of that. On the surface, this doesn’t seem to make very much sense. No one sees our heart or what we think about, so why should we focus on making sure that stays clean? Well, there’s a very important principle in Scripture that speaks to this in Luke 6:45.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
The reason we must focus in on our heart, and our thoughts, is because eventually what we keep filling ourselves with will come out. The private will become public. When that happens, our perfect “façade” that we created on the outside trying to look as good as we possibly can comes crumbling down because our true self is revealed. We must make sure that our heart stays focused on God.
How do we then put into ourselves “the good treasure of the heart” so that we produce good? The easy answer is that we partake in “good” things throughout the day – those things that come from God. Keep in mind that the following points are not exhaustive but are a great starting point.
First, read and memorize His Word. Psalm 119:11 says, I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. The best way to make sure that our heart stays clean, so that our outside also looks good, is that we read and memorize the Bible. I can personally attest to the fact that there have been times in my life where I want to react negatively, or I want to jump the gun when something unexpected happens, and then a verse I memorized as a child comes back into my mind and helps me make the right decision. When we focus on putting the Bible into us, then the Bible will come out of us. This points back to what we read in Luke 6:45.
Second, pray. Talk to God regularly. A short, yet powerful, verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that says, pray without ceasing. This does not mean you’re always sitting down with your head bowed and your eyes closed talking to God and doing nothing else. What this does mean is that you’re always ready to say a quick prayer to God when you find yourself in need of Him. Something unexpected happens, He should be your first “go-to.” Temptation comes up, go to Him for help. You feel the urge to have a reaction you know you shouldn’t have, pray. What this does is it keeps you from doing the wrong things, or saying things you shouldn’t, because your heart is in tune with God’s heart through prayer.
Third, be careful what you allow in your life. Now the idea of this post is not to tell you specifics as to what you should or shouldn’t do, that’s between you and the Holy Spirit, but there is a principle involved here. The more that you watch TV shows and movies that contain things that are against God, the more those things then have a space in your head. The longer you dwell on those things in your head, the more that they then are able to get into your heart. The more that those things stay in your heart, they become an “abundance” and now we run into the Luke 6:45 principle that eventually those things bubble over and come out.
If we are not careful, the things that we put into our lives become who we are not just on the inside, but on the outside as well. We become so careful that we look perfect to everyone else, that we suppress what we know is wrong in our heart. Be careful what you dwell on in your thoughts. Follow Paul’s example when he says in 2 Corinthians 10:5, We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. Thoughts have a way of taking us captive, but we must, through the power of God, take our own thoughts captive and place them under His control. In doing so, it allows us to keep our heart right with God.
Let’s change our focus. Stop making sure that our outside looks so good that we fail to give any attention to our heart and thoughts. Cleaning up the outside has the quickest results, but it comes with a high price if the inside isn’t right also. Read your Bible, memorize it, talk to God through prayer, and watch what your allowing into your eyes and ears, and you’ll be amazing at how the outside follows the inside. Psalm 101:3a – I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless…