Proverbs 3:1 (ESV)
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
What is it that gets into our hearts so that we never forget them? The things that delight, offend, hurt, help … . A man once said to me that the only reason he could figure out I was a pastor was so that God could show me that it was not my calling. That went right to the heart and over twenty five years later I remember it well. Another man, after a sermon I preached, said “You showed us God this morning.” Right to the heart and there it is over thirty years later, still a vivid memory.
What goes to the heart stays in the head. What goes to the heart will work its way out in obedience and faithful living that is according to the Scriptures. The greatest commandment is to love God with all our being and when we are growing in obedience to that commandment we will find that everything this greatly loved God tells us will go to the heart as well. This means that the reason we disobey and forget what God has said is because we do not take what God says to heart. We need to really believe that this is God speaking. We need to really believe that what He is saying to us in the Scriptures is for our benefit. We need to believe that we are not the exception to what God says are the consequences of sin in those who refuse to repent. We need to have our hearts excited with and by the truth. And all of that is up to us as well.
We are called to train our hearts and pursue wisdom. Read the fourth chapter of this Book of Proverbs and look for the tenacity in pursuing wisdom that is called for there. The moving of the heart is a commandment. We are commanded to take the Word of God to heart. We are commanded to be moved. This means, at the very least, that it is never right to say “I just can’t help what I feel.” Of course you can. If you are a Christian you can. You can because the Holy Spirit dwells in you to make it happen. If you have no heart for the Word of God, the things of God, then it is unlikely that you have God at all. You can work on feeling right because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. No Christian can ever truthfully say, “I can’t help it”, when it comes to sin and pursuing righteousness. You can change the way you feel, the way you react, the way you respond to the things that happen to you. You can bring your heart along so that you serve God from your heart.
It starts with prayer. Consider the response of the disciples who were with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. “Did not our hearts burn within us…?”. Of course their hearts burned within them. They spent time with the Saviour. And if you spend time with Him your heart will burn as well. Pray to have a heart that is moved with the Truth of God that He has so graciously given.
It involves the Word of God. The godly man of Psalm 1 does not walk, stand or sit with the ungodly because he meditates on God’s Word day and night. The early church was devoted to the Apostles’ doctrine. It is the Word of God that equips you for every good work.
Then it proceeds to simply obeying even if the heart is not in it. Bring your heart along. It will come. It involves fellowship with the people of God. You are not to be on a quest all alone. You need to worship, pray, fellowship, serve God, discuss the issues of life, with other believers. Keep yourself accountable. Have people in your circle of friends with whom you can express the deep issues of your heart. If you are married, develop such a relationship with your spouse.
Keep the commandments of God in your heart. Get them in there. And obey them because you simply cannot imagine breaking them and therefore breaking your own heart, as well as God’s.