Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut

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The Heart of the Matter is the Matter of the Heart

  • Jim Townsley
  • Mar 18, 2008
  • Series: A Heart for the Home

Excerpts from Pastor Townsley's book A Heart for the Home

Chapter Ten — The Heart of the Matter is the Matter of the Heart

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man (Mark 7:21-23).

Action comes from the heart. Not all outward action can be judged by external appearance, as is illustrated by David's life. Saul (David's predecessor as king) was a handsome and strong man, but he was not a good leader. God rejected King Saul and eventually anointed David, a man "after His own heart." When Samuel came to Jesse and said he would anoint one of his sons as King, Jesse was certain it would be his oldest son, Eliab. However, God could see David's heart, so He had Samuel anoint David, not Eliab to be Saul's successor. "But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).

Every parent truly concerned with the godly maturity of their children must recognize the need to nurture their heart. One's environment affects behavior, but a person with a good heart can thrive in a bad environment. Consider Daniel and his three Hebrew friends. They were in a foreign, pagan country, yet they stood firm on their convictions. The three young men were thrown into a fiery furnace because they wouldn't bow to the King's image. Daniel illustrates this truth again when, because he continued to pray to God in spite of the new decree to pray only to the emperor, he was thrown into a den of lions. Also consider Samuel who as a child was given to serve in Eli's house. Eli's sons were hypocrites, yet in the same environment Samuel became God's choice servant. These godly young men learned to guard their heart. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

A Christian school is no substitute for a right heart. Home schooling can protect children from society's many evil influences. But a good environment without a good heart will not produce godliness. Parents must make the effort to influence their children at the heart level and not be satisfied merely with outward compliance. It is within your control to determine the influences to which you will subject your children. Learning your children's inclinations and how they respond to different situations is an ongoing process during their developmental years. Make a habit of studying their behavior, and never allow yourself to be clouded by their mistakes. Denying their sins and shortcomings hinders your guidance to mold their behavior according to God's direction.

A little boy sat at the family dinner table when he abruptly stood to his feet to rudely reach across the table for his food. The father sternly warned his son to sit down immediately, to which the child responded, "I will sit down outwardly, but in my heart I am still standing." This experience reveals the importance of teaching heart compliance along with outward conformity. "Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians 6:6).