The Bible gives us at least six ways we can cultivate a pure heart. In this post we’ll focus on the first way to do just that.
God says, if I’m going to keep my heart pure, then first, I need to Guard my heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Your heart can be stolen away from God so you have to be on guard.
The other week we were cleaning out our garage. We had quite a bit of stuff laid out in the driveway. I thought we’d have it all put away before a party we had to go to at 1pm but I was wrong. 1pm came and we were nowhere near being done. So we left some stuff out in our driveway (with no one to guard it) and head off to the party. Well, when we came back, someone had stolen a bunch of our stuff, including about $500 worth of winter gear that I had just bought last year! It was my fault. I left it out. I wasn’t careful to guard it and someone stole our stuff away!
Well did you know that if you’re not careful, your heart can also be stolen away from God (if you don’t guard it). Let me explain. Imagine yourself as a paper clip. If you, as a paper clip get too close to a powerful magnet, its invisible magnetic field will suck you in and trap you, holding you in its grip. This is why I John 5:21 says, “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” If you don’t keep away, you’ll get sucked right in.
- The cares and worries of this life can draw you away from God.
- The love of money can draw you away from God.
- Television shows or movies or books that promote ungodly values and lifestyles can draw you away from God.
- Ungodly friends can draw you away from God.
- A vice (such as alcohol, drugs or porn) can draw you away from God.
But what does the Psalm 141:4 say? “Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers…” You see, you have to get close enough to get drawn in. So picture these things as powerful magnets that want to draw you away from God and make it your goal to stay away from their invisible magnetic fields. King Jehoshaphat showed God that he was guarding his heart by removing the temptations in Israel that would draw people away from God. We read of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 17:6, “His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord…he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.” The Asherah poles and high places tempted the people to prostitute themselves to false gods so Jehoshaphat removed the temptation. This is exactly what we need to do! We need to identify those things that are most likely to draw us away from God and remove them from our lives (or do our best to avoid them, whether they be people, places or things). This is an essential component of keeping our hearts pure.