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

Is your heart rejoicing today, or are you broken-hearted?
Is your heart pure, or is it deceitful?
Would people say you have a heart of gold or a heart of stone?
Do you have a soft heart or a hard heart?
Do you have a generous heart or a greedy heart?

During the past several weeks, I have been searching the Bible for verses describing our hearts. The Bible tells us that our attitudes and moods are an overflow of what is in our heart. Luke 6:45 says, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

How do we keep a heart attitude that is pleasing to the Lord? By being filled (controlled and directed) with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 commands, “Be filled with the Spirit.”

How do we get a clean heart when our heart is dirty? 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

How can a broken heart be healed? Psalms 34:18 tells us to ask God to heal our broken hearts. “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

After reading these verses about our heart’s condition, I realize that I can’t change my heart. I have to rely totally on Christ. In John 15:5, Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”

How is your heart today? Can you say with the Psalmist, “Create in me a new heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me” Psalm 51:10

Lord Jesus, I ask You to take our hearts in Your precious gentle hands and change them, heal them, soften them, cleanse them, and fill them with Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Back of man looking over a valley

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

thought the Christian life was going to be easier than this. Have these words ever entered your mind? Sometimes we come into the family of God thinking that our heavenly Father will fix all our problems and devote Himself to our happiness and comfort. However, that is not the reality portrayed in Scripture. Paul was a man whom the Lord used greatly, and yet his life was anything but easy.

In fact, at one point, the apostle thought his pain was too much to bear, and he begged God to remove it. There’s nothing wrong with asking the Lord to relieve our suffering, but what should our response be if He doesn’t? Paul probably had no idea that His experience would find its way into the Bible, to comfort and guide believers throughout the ages. The promise God gave him applies to us as well: “My grace is sufficient for you” (v. 9).

God’s grace could be defined as His provision for us at the point of our need. The problem is that sometimes it doesn’t seem as if the Lord truly is meeting our need. But He frequently sees deficiencies, outcomes, and complications that we don’t. His goals for us involve spiritual growth, the development of Christlike character, and strong faith. And trials play a vital role in achieving these.

The important issue is how we respond. If all you want is relief, you could descend into anger and doubt. But if your desire is to become the person God wants you to be, you’ll see each trial as an opportunity for Christ to display His character and strength in you.