What does your heart reflect?
“Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.”(Pro. 20:11). Many people wear a figurative mask when they are out in public. They act a certain way to avoid the judgment of those around them, pretending to be that which they are not. They are often loved by others because they appear to be honest, loyal, and trustworthy. Their morality is seldom in doubt when they first meet strangers, but if you hang around them long enough, cracks will begin to appear in the otherwise flawless facade.
Small, almost imperceptible slips in speech and conduct will begin to reveal their true motives, and their fall will be great to the discerning. Those initial slips will become more and more common as they start to feel comfortable around you, and their conduct, not pure or upright, will reveal their true nature. “But whatever comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defiles a person…” (Matt. 15:18-19).
Jesus’ words to His disciples are lessons to us as well. The warning is to guard your heart because it is the heart that exposes your true identity. In Pro. 27:19, we read, “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.” That mask that is put on every time they step out of the house is brittle – it will not be able to withstand the ravenous, sinful heart that is merely imprisoned when a situation demands it. Soon it will break free, and the individual’s true identity will be revealed. The evil heart seeks nothing good. It acts out of selfish desire, anger, and vengeance. It lacks empathy and understanding and will do whatever it can to satisfy its own evil desires, no matter the cost to the innocent.
It manifests itself in coarse language, damaging words, slanderous insults, and dangerous actions. Jam. 4:2states “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” Scripture wants us to understand the dangers of an impure heart. It is egocentric, self-seeking, and mean. That is why we are charged with guarding it in Pro. 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV). Of course, some people simply do not care and act any way they want because they have little or no true spirituality in them, but we are focusing on Christians today
We are a fallen people, and not a single individual alive today will not stumble from time to time, but there is a difference between stumbling and hiding your true nature. If we truly consider ourselves servants of the Creator, that ought to be reflected in our conduct. James has this to say of wisdom, but it is equally valid for our heart attitude as well since wisdom incorporates the scriptural knowledge that allows us to reflect who we are in Christ Jesus. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (Jam. 3:17).
A pure heart is taken up with compassion and kindness, with purity and love. It seeks to encourage, has empathy and understanding, and puts the well-being of loved ones before itself. When you pray, use the words of Psa. 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.” If you need to, clean it; if you already have, guard it – it reflects who you are. Let them see your conduct is pure and upright and give glory to your Father in heaven.