We are continuing the discussion on what I call The Abundant Heart. Each of these studies are built upon the foundation laid in the preceding lessons. So if you missed # 1 go back and read that first.
Last time we took apart Proverbs 4:23 which says “Keep your heart with ALL diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We discovered that the heart is a container like a vault and we are to guard it like an armed guard at a bank… “with ALL diligence.” We also talked about Luke 6:45 where Jesus said that it was from the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. We learned that we speak words motivated by whatever has been deposited abundantly in our hearts. We also learned that according to Proverbs 18:21 and James 3:1-12 that life and death are in the power of the tongue. We found that our words can bring life or they can bring death. It all depends on what is in our heart.
Beginning today, we are going to look at the impact that this has in most peoples’ lives. For most, this is a negative impact. We typically don’t guard our hearts as we should and most don’t even know that there is such a thing. Parents are not protecting their children as they should. What we end up with, is a situation where children get wounded, they grow up and hurt others. Their children come along and they hurt them because they don’t know any better, and the cycle continues generation after generation. Hurting people, hurt other people. A mom can falsely accuse a child and create a long term wound. A dad can be gone all of the time and leave the child always feeling distant and disconnected not only with him, but God the Father as well. A parent in a moment of rage might blurt out that the child is worthless, they wish they never had them, or they will never amount to anything. All of these things can create wounds. These wounds and the emotions tied to them, become the “treasures” stored in our heart. These become the internal image that is imprinted upon that child’s heart. They see themselves as “worthless” or that they “will never amount to anything” or that “they are a mistake and should never have been born.” Words that were probably spoken in haste and forgotten about by the parent, become chiseled into the heart of the child. Those words will forever haunt that child and can become the basis for their identity from that point forward. Words alone can do this. If those words are coupled with reinforcing actions such as physical abuse, then the problem is exponentially worse. This isn’t limited to children either. Adults can be battered and beaten and verbally abused.
Perhaps now you can see the truth of this scripture: Prov 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those loving it eat its fruit.”
Let’s look at Matt 12:33-37 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit. Offspring of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings out good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings out evil things.”
Notice that in verse 33, there is a choice. Either make the tree bad or make it good. Depending on your choice determines the resulting fruit. Either the fruit will be bad or the fruit will be good. Now there is a reason why you may want to make that choice count. The reason? “…for the tree is known by its fruit.” At this point, we are looking AT the tree. We often use that scripture to justify avoidance of others. We might avoid someone because they are a gossip. That is the fruit that is in their lives. But now let’s flip that around. What are people saying about you? What kind of fruit do you have? If you have a history of people that are close to you who consistently are telling you the same thing, that you have a problem with anger or always wanting to control, for example. Then you should probably take a look at that. You may have an issue that you need to work out. The point of all of this is simple. The words spoken over us and actions associated with those words create deeply held beliefs as to who or what we are. This becomes the image of what we aspire to be, or perhaps more accurately, it becomes the ceiling of our aspirations. This becomes the “treasure” in our hearts. My friend, what did Jesus say in Mathew 12:34-35? “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings out good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings out evil things.” So what does that look like? How many of you have heard somebody (or yourself) say something like “I’m so stupid, why do I do things like that?” or “They would never hire me” or “I wish I could do things like that, but I’d probably hurt somebody. I always do.” The person saying these things may not normally think this way, but when the pressures of life become too strong, these words are brought forth from their heart. Those words don’t necessarily have to be spoken, but the heart acts on that heart image anyway by not trying, by avoiding and by hiding in shame and hurt. Take a look at 3 John vs 2:
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
The prosperity of your soul (or spirit) determines the level of health and prosperity you enjoy. Let me simplify that even further. What is happening on the inside, determines what is happening on the outside. Remember the tree and its fruit? Are you constantly living in poverty? Always sick? Problems at work? Marriage issues? Problems with the kids? How is YOUR soul? Is it prospering? A moment ago, I said: What is happening on the inside, determines what is happening on the outside. You could also look at it this way. What is on display in and around your life reveals what is happening deep in your heart. It is that belief system activated through words and actions that cause this. Take a look at Mark 11:20-23:
And passing on early, they saw the fig-tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which You cursed has withered away. And answering Jesus said to them, Have faith of God. For truly I say to you that whoever shall say to this mountain, Be moved and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he said shall occur, he shall have whatever he said.
A few verses earlier, we read where Jesus had spoken to that same fig tree and told it nobody would ever eat its fruit again. In verses 20-23, we see that the tree had withered and died. Notice what Jesus told them:
For truly I say to you that whoever shall say to this mountain, Be moved and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he said shall occur, he shall have whatever he said.
I want you to notice a few things here:
First, Jesus says “For truly I say…” In other words, what I am about to tell you IS TRUTH. Of course, everything he said was truth. What he is doing here is underscoring it. In other words, he’s saying “Pay attention, because this is an important truth.” Next, I want you to notice that he never qualifies this. He doesn’t say this only applies to good things that you desire. There are no asterisks directing you to a note, “this only works for good things.” There is a reason for that and he tells us at the end of that verse “… he shall have whatever he said.” The keys to this verse are found in the middle. “Whoever shall SAY to this mountain…” AND …”shall not doubt in his heart” AND “but shall believe that what he said shall occur.”
Let’s forget about the fig trees and mountains for a moment. Let’s go back to the heart. Let’s take a look at the whole process once again.
Our heart is left unprotected
Things are said or actions performed which form this negative image on the inside.
We believe the lies that we are no good, we’re better off dead, We can’t be loved, we will never amount to anything, etc, etc.
This becomes our belief system about ourselves.
We start speaking and acting upon those because these are our treasures within our heart.
We believe what we are saying with all of our heart and we have no doubt.
We have whatsoever we said.
Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.
My friend, if a child grows up feeling unloved or not wanted or any of the other things we have discussed, they can and probably do have a broken spirit. This leads to self hatred, death wishes and more. Just like the fig tree that Jesus cursed, we also can curse ourselves. The fig tree withered up and died from the roots. Our bodies are subject to the same laws. We cannot hate ourselves and wish death upon ourselves without consequences. Our bodies begin to wither just as that fig tree did. Studies are being done all over as they can see the linkage between emotional wounds and autoimmune diseases and heart disease.
Next time, we will look at this a little further and then show you the way out. I know this was a little bit heavy, but people need to see what is going on and why. The good news is that freedom is available to all.
Until then, may God’s richest blessings in Christ be yours today and every day.