April 10, 2019 by Linda Maynard
Our house is fitted with a reverse osmosis system, a fancy term for a filter on our drinking water. Actually, the system has two filters: one that keeps impurities from coming into the house and another that keeps them from coming out of our faucet. With that double guard, we can trust that the water flowing from our faucet is pure.
Proverbs 4:23 suggests that a reverse osmosis system also exists for our heart. But while the water filter for our home is an optional accessory, the Bible tells us the guard for our heart is essential. Because just as all of our drinking water flows from our specially filtered spigot, everything that we do and say flows out of our heart.
- Our speech flows from it (Proverbs 4:24) – We speak according to the attitudes of our hearts. If our attitudes are sinful, our speech will be as well. And don’t be fooled. We might never utter a nasty word, yet still be stricken with sinful attitudes that plague our hearts.
- Our vision is directed by it (Proverbs 4:25) – Our hearts decide what we value most, and we seek what we value. Misguided values will lead us to stare at all the wrong things.
- Our actions are influenced by it (Proverbs 4:26) – Rarely can we stare at something without eventually wanting to have it for ourselves. Conversely, when we devalue something, we will either run from it, throw it off, or close our eyes to it. Our actions clearly show what we value.
For King Solomon (the writer of Proverbs 4) and the people of his time, there really was only one way to filter the heart. In the words of Nike, just do it! People in Old Testament times understood simply to live by a set of rules. A long set of rules. In fact, the first twenty-two verses of Proverbs 4 were Solomon’s written admonishment for his people to seek all that was right. Unfortunately, it seemed that one rule led to another rule until people became overwhelmed by a lifestyle of legalism.
Centuries later, during his three-year earthly ministry, Jesus addressed this dilemma directly. At first, he seemed to be agreeing with Solomon completely when he said, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33 NIV).
But He went on to define who truly is the “good tree.”
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:1-4 NIV)
Friend, Jesus is our double filter. When we receive Him as our Lord and Savior, he purifies our heart from sin and creates in us a clean heart. And He continues to purify our hearts as we confess our sins to Him daily and study His Word. Our confessions purge our hearts of impurities. Our study of His Word fills our hearts with His perfect goodness. And putting His Word into practice multiplies the seeds of His gospel within us until we overflow even more!
Dear Lord, You have created my heart to be the wellspring of life. Yet, life-giving thoughts, words and actions cannot come from my heart if life does not go into it. You and Your Word are life. Thank You for filling me with Yourself when I embraced You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You for continuing to fill my heart with Your Word as I read and study it. I know that the more I fill myself up with Your Word, the more my heart will become a wellspring of life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Excerpted from Twelve Gifts for the Heart:A Collection of Devotionals from WOW – Women for Oppressed Women