Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Put your HEART into it!

"The heart makes commitments, the will makes choices, and behavior is where it all comes out. The heart work, or lack of it, is revealed in behavior, what you see every day… Sometimes what's going on in the heart is a mystery, but behavior is always on display."

So began the Bible study on parenting that I am teaching at our Church on Tuesday mornings, and from which this study is taken from. (Parenting is Heart Work – order book here if interested.)

I was thinking of how much (as usual) these "heart principles" relate to our marriages.

What do you see from your spouse's behavior that reveals where their heart is?

What do you see from you OWN behavior that reveals where YOUR heart is?

This is a challenging and paramount question since Proverbs tells us:

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it ARE the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

How do you determine what is in YOUR heart (so you can change and go from "glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord – 1 Cor 3.18) or in the heart of your spouse (so you can see areas that your marriage needs to be worked on)?


Luke 6.45 tells us that from the abundance of our hearts our mouths speak. This means that if you simply listen to what is coming out of your mouth you will hear where your heart is. Sometimes this "showcase" of my heart (what I am saying!) makes me realize areas that I need to submit more to the Lord and deal with in my life to get rid of termites that can eat away at the best that God has for me (Song 2.15).

Listen and make mental notes of what your spouse is saying too, and although you don't need to point things out on the spot, look for creative ways to improve your relationship by addressing things on your spouse's heart that their words reveal.

The greatest enemy of listening is wanting to tell your own story. Be careful not to give your opinions too quickly, or others will shut down their hearts from receiving any input from you! An accepting, safe, listening ear often opens the heart in ways that nothing else can.

What do you treasure?

What are you or your spouse interested in? What do you think about – where do you spend money – what do you want to do? Matthew 6.21 tells us that where our treasure (deposit) is, there will our hearts be also. This is key. Desires, hopes, dreams, wishes… these all start in the heart and then come out in conversation.

We invest in the things that are in our hearts. We need to inspire our spouses, and be inspired OURSELVES by the Lord, to get a bigger vision for life and have the RIGHT things to set our hearts on! We need to be aware of things that aren't bad in themselves, but that we know don't contribute to our growth as a person, and we need to limit the time we spend on those things.

When you see something in your behavior or your spouse's behavior, ask "What's the HEART issue?" Then develop a strategy that addresses both the heart issue and the behavior.

The solution needs to acknowledge the behavior problem and work toward different actions. At the same time the deeper heart issues need to be challenged. By taking a two-pronged approach, you can bring about lasting change while learning appropriate behavior conducive to the desired outcome for your marriage!

We need to learn to look at our behavior and the things we say with discerning eyes, and see our hearts through the things we say and do. And we need to be CHALLENGED to consistently look for and apply ourselves to change our hearts so that we may more and more consistently grow into the best that the Lord has us to be in our marriages and in our lives!

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

(Psa 139:23-24 KJVS)

Challenge: What does our words and behavior show us about our hearts that needs to be tweaked, addressed, or completely overhauled? What does our spouse's words and behavior show us about where their hearts are – areas that we can be a part of positive change? Allow the Lord to infuse HIS love and HIS power into your heart and watch the difference reflected in our words and actions!

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