What Does Your Heart Say To God?

By: Natalie Lamb

As believers we should be living in a state of rest; a supernatural rest that has been provided by the risen Savior. But if we're honest, a lot of us are still in search of that rest.  We are still toiling and some have given up that rest is even possible.  We pacify ourselves with scriptures that support that we are in this world and we will have trouble. We make our resolve that the Lord will one day come to take us away from all of the trouble.  Now as a Bible believer, I concur that trouble is a part of the human experience.  However, the human experience gets altered when we take on Christ. 

I was listening to a podcast by Charles Stanley called "An Unbelieving Heart" and I am sure I heard this particular scripture he used before, but this time it stood out to me so clearly.  In the past I have been guilty of reading over scriptures too quickly and not taking in each word that was written or spoken.  I have come to realize that each word is important and the order of words and the phrasing of each word give a profound statement.  I think many Christians are guilty of not holding the "Word" (each word) in high regards.  I think many of us get use to reading scriptures and being able to mark off our checklist that "we read today."  But this keeps us away from learning.  I won't go into it in this article, but please read "The Church Habit" in our article archives to see how destructive it is to make any part of your Christian walk a habit; this includes reading the Bible.  We should never read simply because we need to fulfill a checklist.  If we are not reading to gain understanding and awareness then we are simply wasting our time.  And if our reading is not mixed with faith, then it has no value to our souls.

The scripture that I am referring to is Hebrews 3:12 which says, "Beware then of your own hearts, dear brothers, lest you find that they, too, are evil and unbelieving and are leading you away from the living God."  This portion of scripture is written to the believer.  This is a warning that all of us must constantly keep in mind and beware that this can happen to us.  The moment we think we are above falling, in that moment the devil already has us.  I think many Christians get so consumed with believing on Christ to save and once we complete the necessary steps for entrance we think the scriptures of unbelief don't pertain to us.  Too many of us have become too comfortable with our introduction to Christ and we have yet to perfect the relationship. 

We love to chide the Israelites for getting stuck in the wilderness and we think, "Wow, if I was there and saw the miracles, I would have definitely believed and not went astray."  But let's be honest, what we have is far more amazing.  We have the actual Spirit of God residing in us, begging us to be one with Him as He is with the Father but we refuse.  We sit at the front room and never explore and examine the vast house that God has established for us.  We are comfortable in the pew and "our" sect of faith and traditions and never stop and ask God what He has planned for our lives. 

In verse 10, Paul is speaking of the Lord's word when he became very annoyed by the children of Israel. In the amplified version it expressly points this out: And so I was provoked (displeased and sorely grieved) with that generation, and said, They always err and are led astray in their hearts, and they have not perceived or recognized My ways and become progressively better and more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them.  The Living Bible translation says, "But," God says, "I was very angry with them, for their hearts were always looking somewhere else instead of up to me, and they never found the paths I wanted them to follow."   Two points stood out to me!  I find it interesting that he speaks of their hearts and not their behaviors.  We tend to speak of the behaviors and not the heart.  This is a ploy of Satan.  He has gotten us consumed with "looking right" but he has our hearts full of unbelief.  Remember he only needs us to doubt one or two things to get a foot-hold on us.  He only convinced Eve of one lie.  What lie has he used to convince you that God is not real?  Secondly, do you know the path that God has created for you and you alone?  If you do not, He is not pleased.  He did not choose you, call you, cleanse you, and fill you with Himself for you not to follow the path He designed for you.

God is HUGE!!  Everything he creates and does is HUGE.  If your life is not large you are not on the path that God has created for you.  Be sure you don't fall into the devil schemes of comparing largeness.  God is a good father; he never compares us to each other.  He only evaluates us based on our own strengths, weaknesses, efforts and abilities.  We have fallen victim to the devil's devices more than we realize.  He drops these ideas in our heads and we believe what he says.  And before you know it, our hearts begin to doubt the plan of God, or better yet, that God even has a plan for us.  I'm talking about our private thoughts.  The thoughts we don't express because we are too embarrassed and ashamed to speak about the truth that is in our hearts.  This is the truth that God sees and is constantly grieved by. 

The scripture says an "evil unbelieving heart", which means once unbelief creeps in evilness is right behind it.  We must remember that the devil is tricky and smooth!!  He is not going to present us with something that looks bad or evil.  He is not going to simply say don't trust God.  But what he will do is drop in your mind ideas that will cause you to debate with him.  You think it's you questioning life, but in reality it is Satan being his old subtle self from the Garden.  Have you ever questioned why the coward and unbelieving are the first to hit the lake of fire?  It is because it takes courage and unfailing belief in God to make it to heaven.  It takes courage and faith to walk the path the Creator paved for us individually.  It takes courage and faith to trust the scriptures when everything "looks" a mess.  Unbelief and cowardice always leads to disappointing God.

So how do you know if your heart has or is becoming hardened?  These series of questions and assessments must be first made with honesty.  And let me preface with the fact that these questions are directed towards the believer. 

What is more important than Christ? Look at your life; evaluate how you live before you readily answer "nothing."  Repent if you must, but be honest.  True repentance always repels Satan.  He knows God cannot deny a repentant heart which is why he likes us to think more highly of ourselves than we should.  It's a ploy!!

Can you really say that since your initial salvation that you have grown in faith? Not saving faith, but living faith.  Do you really believe that all things will work together for your good? 

How have you dealt with your doubts?  Did you honestly bring them to God or did you let the Devil embarrass you into lying about your doubt?  You may throw it off and say, "Everyone doubts sometimes and it's ok!"

Have you noticed that your prayer time and reading has become a ritual instead of an exciting time to connect with God?

Do you know the voice of God?  If you don't know his voice then you have not grown in intimacies with him. 

Are you silent long enough for him to speak?  No one likes to talk to people who hog the whole conversation, learn to shut up and just sit with God.  We have never informed God of anything during prayer.  Sometimes we need to hush so God can speak.

When he does speak, do you obey, even if it is contrary to what you want to do?

If you use to hear his voice and you no longer do, your heart is hardening.

If you use to know his will and you no longer do, your heart is hardening.

If you can consciously sin (not just behavioral sins), your heart is hardening.

Let me make a side note about sin.  It is my belief that the devil has used our desire not to "behaviorally sin" as the thing which actually leads us into sin.  Let me explain.  We all know we should not fornicate, lie, steal, etc. but the sins of disbelief and cowardice are tucked safely away in our hearts.  We have believed the lie that if we look saved and "act" saved, (meaning we are not participating in any "real" sins) we are good with God.  Keep in mind that the simple definition of sin is anything that misses the heart/mind of God.  When we look at sin this way we will stay in a repentant state of mind because we all miss the mark of God, even if we don't fornicate or steal.  But the bible warns us not to let an evil unbelieving heart lead us to hardness of heart.  Unbelief leads to all sins.  Once you stop believing on any level you open yourself up to ALL types of sin.  Disobedience is bigger than behavioral sins, but includes those too.  As the song says, check yourself before you wreck yourself! 

So what don't you believe?  Come on, no one will know but you and God.  And quiet as it is kept, God already knows.  Go ahead - admit it to God so He can help you.  He said that those with an unbelieving heart will not enter into the rest.  In chapter 4 of Hebrews we have two different types of "rest" presented.  We have the Sabbath Rest which is a rest from works.  Secondly, we have the Heavenly Rest which is acquired after death.  It is stated that the children of Israel where forbidden to enter the rest of the promise land.  Some theologians feel that they missed the rest of the day, which is a rest from works but still made heaven.  I am not a theologian but I concur.  The bible promises that if we come to Jesus he will remove the burden and give us rest.  As the children of Israel kept pulling their hearts away from God, so have we.  We have put our trust in so many other things than simply Jesus.  We have more trust in our church, traditions, rituals and ideals than the simplicity found in the scriptures and Christ.  We have become so self righteous in our walk with God.  We make it all about us, what we are doing and not doing, as if our works can save us.  Christ came to free us from being self-absorbed; we are to be completely fixated on Him to save us. The devil doesn't care about what we profess as long as our hearts are unbelieving.  This is why it is so important to always walk this walk with honesty and transparency.  One of the devil's tricks is for us to deceive ourselves into believing we are more together than we really are. Take a look at Jesus' words in Luke 18:9-14, then ask yourself which one are you?

In Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message Bible) he tells them, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."  Christ chided the Israelites for not focusing on Him.  They grew weary in heart and began to doubt because of their 40 year test.  The same thing has happened with many of us.  God bless the ones that have not faltered in their walk at some point in time.  But this is for the ones who have, and I am included in this bunch. 

Many believers focus so much on getting to heaven that we have lost focus on the day to day living that must be done in compliance with the Savior's wishes.  Some of us are going to miss the final "rest" because we don't have the present "rest".  Learn to trust God's timing.  We are so eager for heaven but our earthly walk is still in limbo.  He hasn't come back for a reason; trust His reasons and focus on your relationship with him here on earth.  Don't let the devil cloud you with resentment towards Christ because He has chosen not to come back yet.  Remember the devil is subtle.  You think you are so holy because you are eager for Him to appear and the devil drops in your mind, "He sure is taking his time" and that leads to resentment and anger.  But you have labeled it righteous indignation.  And the devil sees you getting comfortable with this thought so he drops, "if He loves you why doesn't He come get you, doesn't He see you ending your conversations with "even so come Lord Jesus?"    Then before you know it you start doubting His return which leads to doubting that He cares which leads to "why even try" and before you know it you just start acting a fool.  Never try to debate with Satan, he is the best.  Just give him scripture and keep moving!  But it takes true discernment to know it is even Satan talking.

If we apply Psalms 1 to our lives we will be sure not to have an evil unbelieving heart.  This is a commonly quoted scripture but I think some do not apply the practical implications.  Remember what I said in the beginning that each word has meaning and how and when phrases are introduced means something.  In Psalms 1:1 there is a progression that we must be careful not to fall into.  It states, Blessed is the man,

  1. Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

  2. Nor stands in the path of sinners, 

  3. Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.

If we break down each phase we will see how the devil and how we trick ourselves into separation from God.  Firstly, you want to avoid a common stroll with ungodliness.  The first thing the devil does is drop thoughts in your head.  At that moment you choose to entertain or resist.  This is your first taste of doubt.  You are still moving so you have a great chance to get out of there.  Secondly, if you choose to entertain the thoughts you stop and you're now standing still.  Everyone knows that a moving target is harder to hit than one that stands still.  This is when the evil starts to look good.  Once he gets you to stop, you are that much closer to engaging in the demonic thought that he has dropped on you.  You are seriously pondering and questioning what your next move is.  Your lack of godliness has paralyzed you and you are now standing in the middle of the road for all to see and mock.  The devil is setting you up to be his star witness that he can get one of God's children.  Thirdly, he makes you comfortable in your choice of sin.  You are no longer standing unsure in your sin of choice with the ability to move quickly as in the second step; now your heart is becoming hardened. You have now taken a seat with Satan and he is making you comfortable in your decisions to betray the blood of Christ.  So the next time you entertain a sinful (anything that takes you away from Christ) thought, remember the progression in Psalm 1 and throw the scriptures on him.  Resist him and he must flee!  Always ask yourself if it is worth your rest? 

I wrote this to simply encourage you to run back to Jesus.  See his arms open and eyes full of tears waiting and ready to embrace you again.  Take heed to the warning that unbelief will lead to an evil hardened heart.  Don't allow the devil to trick you into shame and guilt.  Confess your sins and God is just to forgive your sins.  Don't get pious and say, "I know I'm saved and heaven bound."  I will end with scripture for my words pale in comparison to the Masters. 

Heb 4:11-13

Let us, then, do our best to receive that rest, so that no one of us will fail as they did because of their lack of faith.  The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart. There is nothing that can be hid from God; everything in all creation is exposed and lies open before his eyes. And it is to Him that we must all give an account of ourselves.  Amen!