Day 3: A Right Heart
Wednesday, February 9. 2022
Relationships are built on a foundation of communication. Following Jesus, with all it entails, requires interaction with him. That includes carefully reading and applying His words in Scripture, worshiping him, confessing sin to him, and asking for his guidance and direction in our lives. It also means we must regularly quiet our souls to hear from Jesus. All of this happens in the context of personal prayer. The components of a personal relationship with Jesus are the same as building a prayer life.
The foundation of our prayer life is our time of private prayer. It is where the inner world of the heart is formed to be like Jesus’. Throughout the Bible, the importance of the heart is seen repeatedly. The term is used nearly 1000 times in Scripture! When our hearts are submitted to God and developed the right way, it floods into the rest of our lives. The impact on our lives and faith is invaluable.
Jesus has much to say to us about the condition of our hearts. Let’s look at one example.
“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”
“Create in me a clean heart, oh God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.”
Jesus makes it abundantly clear that what fills our hearts matters. A right heart is the foundation of a faithful life. It determines the direction we go as followers of Jesus. I would even go so far as to say: there is nothing more important than the condition of our heart before God.
That means it is more important than our relationships, careers, finances, even our personal mission and calling. And those things are so incredibly important—they are our reason for living and being. But we fall short in all those areas if we do not build a solid spiritual formation in our inner world. Victory in the private world of the heart leads to success in the most essential areas of our lives.
Like a garden, the inner world of the heart requires ongoing maintenance. That is the only way to ensure the right things are growing, like the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Just as important, it’s how we safeguard that the wrong elements are not growing. Weeds of sin and disfunction must be pulled out by the root. If the garden is not maintained, the bad things will overgrow while the right stuff dies.
Therefore, the key question becomes: How do we develop a right heart? That should be our primary desire as Christians. And, we create a right heart by developing our prayer life and time alone with God. That is how we submit our inner world to Jesus and let him build it his way.
Focusing inward, submit your whole self to God to form a right heart with Him. Pray these words from Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, oh God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.”
Ask God to reveal any areas where you are producing bad fruit. Surrender those areas to Him to change within you. Ask for help cultivating a right heart that creates godly fruit.
Prayer: “Jesus, I need your help in cultivating a right heart. I know that only happens when I spend time with You in prayer. So right now, Lord, I surrender every part of my life; my inner world, and my outward actions and relationships. Create a clean heart within me. Point out any aspects of my life that are producing bad fruit. Prune back whatever needs to be cut away. I commit to developing my prayer life through time with You. Amen.”
By Dave Mann
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