What we say and don’ t say will eventually reveal a person’ s true character. Most of us can be on good behavior for a while. But stay with us for very long, or when we are stressed or not at our best, and we may reveal some things that surprise even ourselves.
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45 NIV
Jesus speaks of the need of our hearts being healthy. In biblical times the Greek word Kardia, from which we get our word cardiac, meant “ heart, mind, seat of thought and emotions.” The passage speaks of being healthy people emotionally, even in ways that we think others will never know. Many times we may think that the role of secret pain, shame or hatred is no one else’ s business; however, Christ teaches that these secret places will impact how we relate to others and to God.
Sometimes, this is called a character issue. The foundation of our true view of others is often covered by learned politeness, but in time, our true selves will come through. It affects how we see ourselves in comparison to our peers. The false belief that others have an easier life often gives us permission for self-pity, prejudice and resentment. Harboring such feelings in our hearts keeps us from the joy that is available to us even in life’s challenges.
A cheerful heart is good medicine…
Proverbs 17:22a NIV
- Christian joy is not based on thinking happy thoughts, but in knowing that secret pain can find healing through an intimate and honest relationship with Christ, which brings a release of energy to bless others.
- May this Valentine remind us to keep our hearts healthy. We don’t want to fail the stress test.
- How to have a heart that overflows with joy:
- It begins with God. Apart from a personal lifechanging faith in Christ, we will live a life of frustration or worse.
- We must be as honest as we can. Self-lies block the work of God in our life; open confession of brokenness will allow the Spirit to bring healing.
- Seek others who have found the way to joy. This is not a life of self-will but of faith community.
- Don’ t feed the negative. Placing ourselves in settings that nurture temptation, self-pity and a critical spirit will empower the negative.
- Find the good in all things. This does not mean to think that evil is good, but to seek what God can do even in times of trouble.
- Seek understanding from the past and hope for the future. Christians are forward thinking people; we recognize God is not finished.
- Desire to give to others. As we are blessed by God’ s spirit, and graced by His people–we have the joy to bless others.
Dr. Bill Heston
Bill Heston works on the staff of First Presbyterian Church of Houston