How Do We Guard Our Hearts?
Proverbs 4:23, NKJV, NLT2; Matthew 15:18-19, NKJV; NCV
How do we guard our hearts?
We have to control our thought life. (Proverbs 23:7, NKJV)
Our thinking determines our behavior. Our behavior is not only based on what we see or say but what we think. If we want to change our behavior, we have to change what we think. Achievements good or bad are results of our thought life. (Philippians 4:8-9, NLT2) Our thought life and actions are the only way to have lasting joy and happiness. If you want more joy shift your focus from yourself; Joy comes as a result of being unselfish. (Philippians 2:17-18, NCV; Philippians 4:4-5, TLB)
We guard our hearts by God’s Word. (Psalm 119:11, NKJV)
To hide God’s Word in your heart means to memorize and meditate on it day and night. Right meditation leads to the right motivation. (Psalm 119:97-98, NLT2; Psalm 1:2-3, NKJV; Proverbs 2:10-11, NCV; Jeremiah 15:16, TLB)
Remember the danger of wrong thinking. (Genesis 6:5-7, NKJV; Genesis 6:8, NKJV; Matthew 15:19, NLT2)
There is nothing we can do to make God loves us less. There are things we do like that grieves God’s heart. (Ex. murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, slander, and gossip) (Mark 7:21-23, NLT2; Titus 1:15-16, NLT2)
Control where you go and who you go with. (1 Corinthians 15:33, NKJV, CEV)
Don’t date or marry a non-practicing person even if they claim to be a Christian. Show me your friends and I’ll show you your past, present, and future. (Proverbs 27:19, TLB)We need to run our friendships through the relational grid:
Affiliation – Who are they?
Participation – What are they doing?
Destination – Where are they going?
How do you know if they are the right person?
Do they motivate me to love God more? (Hebrews 3:13, NIV)
Do they celebrate God’s Blessings in my life? (Proverbs 11:10, NLT)
Do they have my back? (Proverbs 17:17, NIV)
Do they hold me accountable out of love and friendship? (Proverbs 27:6, NIV)
Do they live what they believe? (Psalm 119:63, NIV)
Do they have the right they in their lives? (2 Corinthians 6:14, NIV)
Sermon Video Transcription
James Greer: 00:01 Yeah, Tim’s here today and we thank God for that. I mean, I’ll tell you if I’ve learned something in the last 30 plus years is we don’t need to waste the pain. And I’ll tell you, our church has gone through a lot of pain. Whether it was the death of Miller last week or whether it’s Janet going through cancer or whether it’s Tim going through heart surgery. But, you know last week we talked about people that were considering suicide to get help. And we don’t want to waste that pain. We know of at least one person that reached out and got some help and some other people that we talked to. And if one person’s life was saved, it had been worth it all.
James Greer: 00:46 We also started what’s called a disaster response team and what an appropriate time. And if you want to be part of that, you can sign up today. We have grief share starting August the 14th for so many people that have lost loved ones. And if you know somebody that’s lost a loved one, please, uh, let them know that we’re going to have that. We have a divorce recovery. If you have gone through that or know somebody that has, let them know that. We’re going to actually have a healthy heart ministry for those like Tim that are going through heart surgery and just a lot of new ministries that are going to be birthed out of all the pain and suffering. But, also sometimes think about this, just what’s on your heart. If you have a passion about something like somebody, I think on Tuesday night now they have yoga and they do yoga and then they do a devotion afterwards. They’re going to have an aerobics class where somebody is teaching revelation. They’re going to have empowering moms, they’ve got men’s prayer breakfast.
James Greer: 01:31 So, if you’ve got something that’s burning on your heart, you know, just call and get with Richie and there may be a place to start a brand new ministry for that. But what I’m excited about is we’re not wasting the pain. There’s been ministry after ministry birth out of those things. So, if God’s burden your heart or you have a passion about something, let us know and we’ll see that. But the greatest thing is we want to minister to those people that are going through hurts during those times. Amen? So, we’re going to be talking about how to guard your heart because I’m going to go through the outline and then as we have time, I’ll go back and preach through the message because there’s so many things that I’d like to say.
James Greer: 02:17 In Proverbs 4:23 it says, keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life. Man, I don’t think you realize that every issue in your life comes from your heart. And we’re going to talk about some of those issues, both good and bad, but they all come from you all. Your joy, your peace, your excitement, all come from your heart. But, so do the bad things, whether it’s everything from murder to lying, to cheating. They all come from your heart. Let me read it from another translation. It says, guard your what? Guard your what? Above all else, with all determination of why? Because, it determines the course of your life. If you want to know the course of your life, look at your heart.
James Greer: 03:09 Now, before I get too far, I want to say welcome the Alexander campus. Amen? Woo. I want to say a couple things too. I want to say, Daryl, eat your heart out because you don’t have blue shoes like this. And second of all, I want to say hi to Steve and Miranda Roberts. They must be on a high. Man I mean, Steven got to baptize Miranda’s sister, and they’re seeing all kinds of works in their life. And I just thank you for that. But, what I want you to know, the condition of our heart greatly determines, you ready? Our actions, our reactions, our behavior, our joy in spite of circumstances and situations. I’m going to give you the outline on how to guard your heart and then let’s go back and preach through it. The first way you guard your heart is control your thought life. Because as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. The second way you guard your heart, is taking in God’s word. Now the word I hear in my heart that I might not sin against thee. The third way is we learn the danger of not guarding our heart.
James Greer: 04:01 We taught you that hard hearts hurt people. Humble hearts help people. It is hard hearts that destroy marriages. Uh, it’s not in your outline, but if you look at Matthew 19:8 it says, that Moses permitted divorce only as a concession because of hard hearts. So, it affects your marriage. And forth, control where you go and who you go with. That’s how you guard your heart. Be Not deceived, evil company corrupts good morals. So, let’s look at how to guard your heart. First of all, I want to give you examples of why it’s so important to guard your heart. In Matthew 15:18,19, it tells us this, but those things with proceed out of your mouth, they come from the heart. Where do they come from? The heart. The things that we say and the way that we talk, their a condition of our heart.
James Greer: 04:56 So, in Matthew 15:18, it says, and there are the things that defile a man. From out of your heart proceed evil thoughts. Evil thoughts. Because, what we think on is what we say. Murder, adultery, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. In the another translation says that, but what people say with their mouths come from what they think on. These are the things that make people unclean. Out of your mind comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins. What are sexual sins today? Homosexuality, adultery, fornication. Those are all conditions of the heart. It says, because you had the wrong thinking that these things can. Stealing, lying, speaking evil. They all came from an unclean heart, just like an unclean heart robs your joy and brings about wrong words and wrong actions. A wise heart and a clean heart brings about happiness. Ecclesiastes 1 says, wisdom brings happiness.
James Greer: 06:07 So, how do we guard our heart? The first thing we do is we learn to control our thought life. As a man, thinketh in his heart, So is he. Our thinking determines our behavior. The way we think leads to the way we behave. Our behaviors, not only based on what we see and what we say, but what we believe. If you want to change your behavior, change what you believe. Let me give you some an insight about it. Achievements good and bad are result of our thought life. Nothing ever came about until somebody thought about it. Achievements are a result of our thought life. You want to achieve more. Control what you think about. Philippians 4 puts it this way, Philippians 4: it says this, and now dear brothers, talking about Christ’s, now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing, fix your thoughts on what is true.
James Greer: 07:12 It’s also going to sum up in a minute. It’s talking about how the peace of God. One final thing, fix your thoughts on what is true, what’s honorable, what’s right, what’s pure, what’s lovely. What’s admirable. Think about these things that are excellent and what are worthy of praise. Why? Keep putting it into practice, why? Because your mind will try to get out of control. So you have to practice it over and over and over, and all learn and receive from me. Everything you’ve heard from me and saw me doing what? Then the god of peace will be with you. It’s telling you the key to having the peace of God is controlling your thought life. What you think on is how you can have it. You control your thought life and you think on the right thing. You can have the God of peace that surpasses all understanding. The insight is this, our thought life and our action controls are lasting joy and happiness.
James Greer: 08:22 Second thing, if you want to have more joy, say amen? Okay. If you want to have more joy, this is so important. Shift your focus from yourself, the world and the devil want you to think about it, life is all about you. It does, but it’s not. The devil in the world wants you to focus on yourself because it robs your joy. God wants you to focus on him and giving yourself away. The Bible says, whosoever desires to save his life shall lose it. Whoever loses it, shall find it. Now see, one of the real secrets of lasting joy is to stop being selfish. It’s to giving your life away. That’s why so many people today don’t have joy. They become selfish.
James Greer: 08:57 Philippians 4:4 says this, always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again. Rejoice. Let everyone see that your unselfish. Joy is a result of being unselfish. Listen, if you lack joy, start serving. Start giving yourself away, without pay. In fact, if you’re ready. If you’re not serving on a week to week basis without getting paid and giving yourself away, you all ready? That’s called selfishness, and you’re missing out on some of the joy that God has for you. Are you ready? I believe that people come to church. I believe they even read their Bible. I believe some of them even go to Journey Church. I believe some of them even tithe. And they’re missing the joy that God has for them because they’re so selfish. See, God created us in a way that God so loved the world. He what? He did what? Gave. So, he created us in a way that we cannot fully enjoy the joy and happiness he has until we give it away. And as we give it away, we get it. So I’m going to challenge you if you’re not giving and serving on a week to week basis in some way, of some form of some action and not getting paid. You don’t have all the joy that God has for you. Amen brother James, preach it. I can’t preach to myself when you all don’t like it. Yep! It’s still true.
James Greer: 10:25 All right, second way. Second way to guard your heart is God’s word. Now the word I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. How do you hide God’s word in your heart? You memorize it and you meditate. The word meditate just simply means active focusing one’s thought. You control the focus on what you think about. Meditation, the right meditation leads to the right motivation. Right? Meditation leads to what? Right motivation. Yeah. Choose to be as consistent with your meditation as you do with your medication. Amen? Alright. Psalm 1:2,3 says, but my delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law do I meditate both day and night. You know why he tells to do that? That you should be like trees planted by rivers of water that bring forth its fruit in its season. His leaf shall never wither. And whatsoever you does shall do what? Prosper. Do you want to prosper? Do you want to prosper? Meditate on God’s word day and night. He shall be like tree that planted by the rivers of water that bring forth fruit in its season and whatever he do, shall do what? Prosper. So, part of prosperity and God’s prosperity is part of joy and contentment and happiness. And you do it by meditating on God’s word. You redirect your thoughts into God.
James Greer: 11:25 Jeremiah 15:16 says this, your words are what sustain me. They are food to my hungry soul. See, some people don’t know what the restlessness is that’s going on inside of them. See, if you’re saved, you’ve got the spirit inside of you and it’s hungry to be fed. And sometimes what you call an uneasy restlessness is nothing more than your soul saying, I need to be fed. They bring joy to my sorrow heart. Delight to me. Hmm. How proud I am to bear your name, O Lord. So man, I’m telling you, got a soul. You’ve got a spirit. That’s hungering for God’s word. So, one of the way you guard your heart is hide God’s word in your heart. How do you do it? I meditate on God’s word. I redirect my thinking to God’s word. Amen?
James Greer: 12:18 Third way, remember the dangers of wrong thoughts. This is so important. Genesis 6:5,6, and the Lord saw the wickedness of man. Man, it was so great on the earth that every intent of the what? Thoughts of the heart. We’re only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth and he was what? Grieved in his heart. Did you all know you can grieve God? Did you know that God had emotions? Sure. God so loved the world. God was grieved. God love. God had anger. So the Lord said, I’m going to destroy man, whom I created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping things and birds, foul air. And I am sorry I even made them. But thank goodness. Thank goodness that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
James Greer: 13:16 But, what I’m trying to tell you is you’ve got to see the seriousness of not guarding your heart. Matthew 15:19 wants you to know that. And in the heart comes evil thoughts, murdered, sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. Where does all that come from? The evilness is all a heart condition, sexual immorality, adultery, homosexuality, and fornication. That all comes from the heart. Does God still love you? Absolutely. Did you know there’s nothing you can do to keep God from loving you? But God wants you to have more joy. He wants you to have more happiness. He wants you to have more contentment. God wants to use you more than you ever could in your whole life, but you’re missing out on some of the joy and having some contentment when your heart is not guarded. God wants to use you like never before.
James Greer: 14:06 Fourth thing, the way you guard your heart. This is simple, but it is profound. Control where you go and who you go with. Where you go and who you go with. I Corinthians 15:33 says this, don’t be deceived, evil communication, corrupts good morals. Look at this. Look at another translation. Don’t fool yourself. Bad friends will destroy you. I know you think you’re going to control them. The truth is they control you. Now if you want, if you’re trying to influence them to the Lord. Just make it at least three to one. Three that are right to one that isn’t.
James Greer: 15:05 And then you don’t go where they go. You bring them where you are. I know I spent a year with a group of guys and we all rode bikes together and I was determined to bring them all to the Lord. But there came after a year, it was time for me to say, Hey, I better break it off. You’ve got to be careful if you’re not married, do not date a non-practicing Christian. I mean, listen girls, if you’re dating somebody and he wants the right thing, he’ll tell you anything. You say, you’re a Christian, Amen. Praise God. I’ll even go to church with you. But, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying, are they a practicing Christian? Are they involved in church? Are they serving, they giving they tithing? Are they? I mean, are they already doing that? If they’re not, break it off. Don’t go with them. Don’t run with them. Don’t date them. Surely do not marry them.
James Greer: 15:55 Proverbs 27:19 says, the mirror reflects a man’s face. Yeah, it does. But what he really is, is shown by the kind of friends that are close to him. Your friends tell who you are. You show me your friends. I’ll show you your past, present, and future. You show me your friends. I’ll show you where you’re going. You’ve got to run it through the grid. Who they are, what they’re doing, where they’re going. These are the questions you ask yourself about your friends. Another one, do they motivate me to love God more. The friends I do, they motivate me. Encourage one another daily. Do they celebrate God’s blessings in my life? You can really determine who you should be with. Do they have my back? I love that. I’ve got a couple that prays with me and prays for me all the time, and one of the things they say to me all the time. They say, hey brother, hey pastor, I want you know, we got you back. Do They hold me accountable, that I love. Do they live what they believe. And do they had the right days in their life. I’m going to tell you, you can know.
James Greer: 16:51 Because in closing I will say some things to you. If your heart is not right today is today is today. You’ve got to make sure there’s a time that you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. There’s got to be a time that you followed through in public baptism and the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Maybe today’s a day you want to come and make Journey Church your family home. And say, hey, I think God’s calling me to come and join this church. Maybe you need God to help you control your thought life. How do you control your thought life? You learn to meditate on God’s word. You change your focus back to God. Maybe you have said I know I’m missing joy. One of the reasons you’re missing joy is because you become too selfish. You think life is all about you, but it’s not. Change your focus to God, and change your focus to giving of yourself on a week to week basis without getting paid. Have you relied on the wrong thought life to control you? Are you saying the wrong things, doing the wrong things, going to the wrong places. Are you dating the wrong people and being with the wrong people and today you know that God’s telling you, you need to just break it off right now. Do you need to come and say, God, create in me God, a clean heart where I can have a happy heart.
James Greer: 17:42 Would you stand and let me pray with you and pray for you? God, you’re an awesome God. You’re a great God. God, I pray for our people. I pray for those that are here and those that are online. God I pray that we could live with clean hearts and happy hearts. God, I pray. If there’s someone here that’s not sure if they died, they’d go to heaven. I pray today that they’d make that decision. God, if there’s those that joined the church and followed through in baptism. God, I pray right now that you would just touch hearts. Maybe there’s hearts that are just hungry. Their hungry for your word, they’re hungry for your cleansing. They’re hungry for a refreshing. God, I pray that each person here will let you have your way in their heart today. It’s in Jesus name. I pray. Amen.
Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.