One afternoon in late summer, a soon-to-be university student was packing her things for the new adventure ahead. Alongside her clothing and books, there was a framed picture she had recently inherited from her grandmother that had sentimental value. It depicted a scene of Native Americans on horses in the mountains of the American west and it had hung above her grandmother’s bed for decades.
As this student was placing the picture in a box, she noticed that a mosquito had found its way under the glass so she opened up the frame to clean it. As she lifted up the glass she realized that what she had thought was just a framed print was actually an original painting.
And it was no ordinary painting. Experts on the Antique Roadshow declared it to be the work of a French painter, Henry Francois Farny. This quaint family heirloom was actually worth around $300,000!
Sometimes we have something in our possession and yet have no idea of its value. It may be hanging on the wall or sitting in a drawer or boxed away in the loft. And because we are ignorant of its value, we aren’t particularly careful with it. It can get knocked around, chipped and tarnished as we treat it like it is ordinary and replaceable.
In Proverbs 4.23, we are told that the condition of our own hearts matters more than anything in our possession. Our hearts, the seats of our thoughts, decisions and emotions, are priceless to God. They determine what kind of person we are and where we are going next. We can read tons of great books and listen to powerful speakers but it is the state of our hearts that really affects the direction of our lives.
And the Bible has a lot to say about my heart.
It tells me that my heart is the soil in which everything is planted. God speaks truth to me; He gives me abilities and callings. They are perfect gifts from Him but they need good soil to flourish. And my heart is specially created by God to be that good soil. It just takes some gardening; that’s my part of the deal. If I value what God has entrusted me with I will be careful where I plant it.
The Bible also says that hearing Gods voice and knowing His will for my life can be tricky. It takes a kind of sincerity and sensitivity that can easily spoil. If I value hearing from God I will weed out pride and unbelief, knowing that humility gets God’s attention.
And the Bible tells me that I have to be intentional about whole-hearted love. It is so easy to be content with far less and then little-love becomes cold love. Hearts tend to expand for the things we care for and shrink for the things we neglect. A heart of love is the result of good investments of time and energy in what matters.
And Bible is clear that my response to those who have hurt or disappointed me really matters. Because unforgiveness is nothing less than captivity for my soul. It kidnaps my joy and freedom and puts a cap on my sensitivity to God’s leading. If I can’t extend forgiveness, I probably haven’t experienced it fully myself and that gap in my spiritual life is a dangerous one.
You see, my heart has the ability to lead me to God’s deepest desires for my life.
Or it can lie to me.
It can be good soil or cement It can be sensitive to God’s Spirit or it can be dull and hard. It just depends.
But my heart is a gift from God.
It is the place where He can impart supernatural vision and passion.
It is the place where Godly dreams are imagined and where His still small voice is heard.
It is the place where I can stir up faith; it is where I can forgive and decide to follow.
Value your heart because everything important starts there. Be careful what you plant. Make space for the whisper of God. Believe that no fear or doubt, hurt or disappointment that you find there is beyond His loving reach.
And be a whole-hearted follower of Jesus, the creator and lover of your soul.
‘So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are.
Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.’ Proverbs 4.23 (Passion translation)