Monday’s Blog: Pursuing Godliness “Retaining the Word in Our Hearts”

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

1 Timothy 4:7-8

This is the third message in our series on “Pursuing Godliness.” Follow this link if you missed the last two messages in this series.

Last week, I talked about renewing our minds with the Word of God. Today, I want to focus on keeping His Word in our hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 says to: “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (NLT).

Our hearts will either lead us to sin or lead us to godliness. Luke 12:34 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In order to follow Jesus’ example and live godly lives, our hearts must be consecrated to God. He must be the only treasure we seek after in life.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

1 Peter 3:15-16, KJV

I can always tell when God is first in my heart when I want to follow His commands. I want to do what is right. I was asked by a Christian once why I wouldn’t do something that seemed minor to him. I told him because I knew God wouldn’t want me to. He replied, “You are not going to go to hell if you do it.” I was saddened by his response. I wanted to obey God, not because I felt forced too, but because I sincerely loved Him.

The reason many Christians are not living godly lives is because God is not first in their hearts. In last week’s message, I shared a study I once did on renovating my mind. I kept a journal during the fifty days it took me to complete the study. On the first day, while examining my thoughts, I wrote in my journal:

“I didn’t realize how often I think about picking up my phone and checking my messages when I’m studying with God. Is He really first in my mind and heart?”

There are so many things vying for our hearts today. During my summer break, on three separate occasions God showed me my heart was drawn away and left unguarded. Once was when my family and I went on a long vacation with my parents, my siblings and their families. About halfway through our vacation, I realized I hadn’t opened my Bible since I left home. I was so distracted by family and all the things to do on vacation that I almost forgot about God.

The second time was during the Olympics. To keep up with all the events on our DVR, my husband and I spent hours watching them everyday. I stopped when I realized how much time I had wasted, and how easily worldly entertainment can keep us from pursuing God and doing His will.

The third time was when I was remodeling my house. I started with the intention of only transferring my kids’ rooms around. But then I decided I needed an office room to do my writing in. When I saw how nicely the freshly painted walls and moldings looked after remodeling those rooms, I decided the rest of the house needed to be painted and remodeled. Everyone room in my house is a different color and most rooms have two colors, not including the ceilings and moldings. This project took most the summer to complete, and left me with very little time to spend with God and to do His will.

In Luke 8, Jesus talked about the parable of the sower and the seed, with the seed being the Word of God. In verses 12-15, He explained the different ways the Word planted in us can be choked and prevented from producing fruit in our lives:

  • V12: “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” 

When we are busy pursuing the things of the world instead of God, we leave the door open for Satan to snatch away the Word sown in us.

  • V13: “Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.” 

To retain the Word in us, we must be rooted in Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:15). We stay rooted in Jesus by communicating with Him, studying His Word and seeking His will daily.

  • V14: “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.”

As with my summer examples, we can’t push God aside while we do our own thing. When we choose our own path, the worries, desires and pleasures of this world will choke the Word in our hearts and prevent it from developing fruit in us. 1 John 2:15-16 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (KJV).

  •  V15: “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

When we continuously renew our minds in God’s Word, and keep Him first place in our hearts, we will reap a harvest of spiritual fruit in our lives.

in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety)…For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

1 Peter 1:6-8, AMP

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your love for us. Help us to always put You first and continually seek You with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. Let us know when our hearts are unguarded. Help us to lay down our will and stop pursuing the things of this world over You. We praise You that You hear this prayer.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

 

*Come back next Monday for more in this series. You can subscribe below to receive an email reminder of new posts. You can also use the share tabs below to help spread the word of this series to bless others.

Have a blessed week seeking the Lord with all your heart!

 

*All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NIV.


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