PA Bible Teaching Fellowship
PA Bible Logo

Guide Your Heart

By Shawn Weir

The heart of man is a tricky thing. Despite how much we are encouraged by the world to try to know or to follow our hearts, the Word of God tells us that it is deceptive, desperately wicked and that no man can know it. There is, however, very clear instruction from the Father regarding what we are to do with our hearts. Instead of trying to solve the internal rubix cube of thoughts, emotions, desires, and intents - God tells us that we are to guide our hearts. There is no way to truly know the how or why of a heart, but we can lead it to that which is clear, right and true: God's Magnified Word.

Proverbs 23:19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

It's not to ask: "Heart, what do you think?"
It's to command: "Heart, this is what you're going to think!"

In Psalm 94, the Psalmist makes a phenomenal statement:

Psalm 94:19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

That Psalmist isn't proclaiming that he didn't have any problems. I've never met a person without a problem. Yet, in the midst of anxious thoughts, God's Word was the comfort and delight to his soul. Those comforts didn't get in there by accident. This was a guided heart.

This world is cruel. It is run by the course of an enemy motivated by pride and hate. Afflictions and seasons of heaviness are promised, but we are not without hope and comfort. Unlike natural man, we have the assurance, healing, and power of God's Word to guide our hearts to.

Psalm 131:2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.

I have two beautiful little daughters who at times awake troubled and crying in the middle of the night. When I go into their rooms in the middle of the night, I don't throw on the light and scream "Why are you crying?!?!? You should be happy and thankful! Stop being upset and go back to bed!!!" I would be a terrible father if I did that. I'm not giving them options, they need to go back to bed, but I am gentle with them to sooth them and comfort their distress. So this Psalmist is with his own heart. At times we need that. We often can be so hard on ourselves and cause ourselves undue hurt. You guide your heart to God's Word, but at times of distress sometimes it needs to be with the same tenderness and care you would show to quiet a little baby.

The Psalmist of Psalm 42 shows a great example of how to talk to and encourage your heart in the midst of troubles:

Psalm 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Notice how he talks directly to his heart.

Psalm 42:6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

I'm not from Israel, but I do know Pennsylvania. That's like saying, "I'll remember Him from the bridges of Pittsburgh to the liberty bell in Philadelphia." Throughout the whole land.

Psalm 42:7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

Psalm 42:8 Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

He may have been in the dark of night, but he knew he would see God's lovingkindness again in the daytime. And then at night, instead of torment of heart he will sing and pray to the God of his life.

Psalm 42:9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

God never forgets us, but at times of heaviness it can sure feel that way. Consider the weight of his situation.

Psalm 42:10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

Enemies mocking him and his God could be a cause of sadness that could swallow him up, and yet…

Psalm 42:11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

He speaks directly to his heart and deliberately guides it to hope in and praise God. As for feelings, they may change like the weather. If we "feel like it" or not we still don't give our hearts an option. We guide our hearts to God's Word. What is so wonderful is that once applied to the heart, God's living, powerful and sharp Word will go to work within. For it alone has the true power to transform a heart. Before long you will notice your feelings lining up with the truth you've treasured. There is a wonderful poem attributed to Martin Luther:

Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God--
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!

Here are some practical examples of what to guide your heart to regarding all the deliverances that have come to us in our Christ

In a moment of condemnation:
Why are you cast down, oh my soul? You've been made the righteousness of God in him.

In a moment of feeling inadequate:
Why are you cast down, oh my soul? Your Christ is completely filled with the divine nature of God and you are completely filled in him.

In a moment of feeling unloved:
Why are you cast down, oh my soul? Nothing can separate you from God's love, which is in Christ Jesus your Lord.

In a moment of feeling common or ashamed:
Why are you cast down, oh my soul? Jesus Christ who sanctified you is not ashamed to call you brother.

In a moment dealing with sickness:
Why are you cast down, oh my soul? He himself bore your sins in his own body on the cross so that you would be removed from sin and so that you might live by justness, by whose stripes you were healed.

In a moment of feeling weary and that you can't go on:
Why are you cast down, oh my soul? Look with undivided attention to him, who led the way down the path and is the perfecter of the right way of believing. He, because of the joy lying before him, endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right side of the throne of God.

In a moment when you forget who you are:
Why are you cast down, oh my soul? With Christ you have been crucified and you live no longer, but living in you is him. So what you now live in the flesh, you live by believing concerning him, who loved you and gave himself for you.

"Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the salvation of my countenance, and my God."

We can speak directly to our hurting hearts. We guide them to the comforts of God's magnificent truth. God will be a faithful deliverer for all of our afflictions and after He does, we can speak one more thing to our hearts:

Psalm 116: 7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee...

Even in the midst of the greatest trials and pressures, remember, it is just for a season. This isn't your whole (eternal) life. There may be times of heaviness, but in them choose to consider how outweighed those "light afflictions" are in comparison to the exceeding, eternal weight of glory awaiting you. Your life is sealed securely unto your God by the perfect work of Christ. This world will never recognize it, but to your God and His family you are precious, set apart and beloved.

God sees and knows what you're dealing with. Remember your God is always with you and that He will Never, Never leave us and Never, Never, Never forsake us. (see Hebrews 13:5b) Keep your eyes and ears on Him and watch Him show Himself as a good God to you in all things. Confide in Him continually, talk to Him constantly, be listening all day to receive what He will say to strengthen you. Don't allow your heart to be swallowed up in situations, but guide it to the truth, to the Word of His sure deliverances, to thanks and praise for His endless grace and love.

Don't follow your heart. Guide your heart.
The storms always pass, but His Word shall stand forever.