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Gaurding Your Heart

As we continue through Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, we see that he has been very transparent about himself and his ministry.  His desire is that those he’s writing to feel the same affection towards him.

We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.  We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.  As a fair exchange — I speak as to my children — open wide your hearts also.
2 Corinthians 6:11-13

He’s telling them this because it’s very important to guard our hearts.  We have to be asking; who do we open our hearts to?  Sometimes we set ourselves up for problems and setbacks in this area.

Look at how Paul warns the church.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?  What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
2 Corinthians 6:14-15

Most of the teaching that I hear about this passage has to do with marriage.  They teach that a Christian should never marry a non-Christian.

While I believe that this is true.  There’s more to it than just the marriage issue.  It refers to any contractual partnership arrangement.  We have to be careful with how closely we attach ourselves to the world system.

Of course, we can have non-Christian friends.  How else will they see the Gospel message lived out?  That’s not a problem.

To understand this we need to look at the words Paul uses to describe this attachment.

The word, yoked, is a Greek word that actually means yoked differently.  It’s like yoking a bull and a horse together.  No work will get done.  They’re too different.

Also, you can’t yoke two animals together that are facing opposite directions.  I’ve seen the spiritual equivalent of this in a marriage.

There were two Christian individuals.  They were both at about the same level in their Christian walk.  They, unfortunately, didn’t do any pre-marital counseling.

If they had they would have discovered that even though they were at the same spiritual level, she was heading toward Christ while he was heading away from Him.  The marriage ended in divorce.

We have to be careful who we attach ourselves to, either in romantic relationships or business partnerships.  They can either drag us down or lift us up to our full potential.

In my next post, I’ll look at the other words in this passage that Paul uses to describe these relationships.  It’s important that we guard ourselves against this spiritual minefield.

Question: How have you seen this concept of unequal yoking played out?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2020 in Spiritual Walk

 

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From Heart to Mouth

In my last post I talked about controlling the tongue, by putting the Word of God in our hearts. This was because it’s from the overflow of what we store in our heart that the mouth speaks. James goes on to give us more detail about this.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
James 3:3-4

It doesn’t take much to steer a horse or a ship. Bits and rudders are relatively small in comparison to the whole animal or ship. Yet, if we have control of that small piece, we can set the direction we want to go.

I’ve heard people take this verse and say that this is why we need to speak out what we want to receive from life. They say that your speaking will set the direction you’re heading. But that’s not the whole truth.

If you read the two chapters of James leading up to this, you’ll find that this is more about planting the right things in your heart. In order to be in continual control of your tongue, you need to be continually planting the right things in your heart.

The fact is that it’s possible to recite Scripture without letting it change your heart. That’s the same as only grabbing the rudder of a ship and controlling it for five minutes a day. You’ll never get to your destination like that. You must take continual control.

We need to heed the warning of Proverbs.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23

This verse literally says that your heart contains the source of your life. Everything you receive comes through your heart first. It’s what you plant in your heart that eventually dictates what your life becomes.

When the Word of God flows from your heart to your mouth, your life starts heading in that direction. If not, then nothing you do can stop the natural progression that James warns us about in the next verses.

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:5-8

This is the outcome of a heart without the Word being planted. Our mouth is a part of our flesh. Trying to control it for ten minutes a day is not enough. Without the constant supply of the Word to our hearts, there’s no control to where our lives are heading.

It’s clear from Scripture that the progression of a spiritual life is – Word of God, heart, mouth, and then life. If that’s not how we work it, then it’s like we’re on the ocean without holding the rudder. Take control of your life. Plant the Word of God into your heart.

Question: How have you seen the Word bring forth fruit in your Life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2017 in Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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