In Part 1, we looked at Deuteronomy 6:5 and also Deuteronomy 4:29 and examined how our hearts are to love God and search after God. This post contains a couple more Deuteronomy passages to bear in mind as we think about the question, “What do I do with my heart?”
Your Heart Should Have the Lord’s Word Impressed on It
Deuteronomy records Moses’s final words, exhortations and warnings to the people of Israel before they left their wilderness wanderings and entered into the Promised Land. Throughout his message, Moses reminds the people how they are to respond to the Lord’s Word. Deuteronomy 6:6 says, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” The Lord was calling His people to keep His Word impressed on their hearts. He knew that we are prone to forget, and then wander, so He calls us to keep His Word central in our lives. If His Word is on our hearts, it should govern our thoughts, emotions, desires, choices-everything! In Deuteronomy 11:18 we read, “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” God asked His people to keep His Word close physically as a reminder and a symbol of how it should be ever present and ever guiding in their hearts. I have to actively read, study and meditate on God’s Word if I am to lay up His Word in my heart. I should approach God’s Word intentionally and seriously, both in church and other corporate settings and also in private times of personal reading.
Your Heart Should be Guarded
One final Deuteronomy passage for today warns the Israelites, “Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them” (Deuteronomy 11:16). Since our natural hearts are bent away from the Lord, it is easy for our hearts to become deceived and to turn away from serving God. Knowing this, Proverbs 4:23 commands us, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” The Lord knows that our heart greatly directs and influences us. As we read before in Matthew 15:19, what is in our heart does not just quietly stay in there, but flows out into our lives. Therefore, we are to watch over our hearts. Since our hearts are the control center of our inner man, and they can easily be deceived into leading us towards idolatry, the Lord calls us to guard our hearts “with all vigilance.” What are you allowing your heart to meditate on? What are you allowing to influence your thoughts, desires and emotions? Are you taking care of your heart and directing it to worship the Lord rather than turn aside to whatever catches its fancy? Are you counseling your desires to follow the Lord and what He values? Are you bringing your thoughts in line with the Bible? Are you praying for God’s Word to direct your emotions? One way to keep watch over your heart is to evaluate if your heart loves God, searches after God and is laying up His Word. Vigilantly keep your heart by evaluating it in these areas, and considering how you can depend on the Lord to takes steps of growth in these ways.
Your Heart and Deuteronomy
There are certainly other places in Scripture that instruct us on our hearts, but I think these four Deuteronomy passages give us a good overview on this topic.
So what are we to do with our hearts? I’m thankful Deuteronomy gives us several answers! Love God with your heart, search after God with your heart, keep His Word on your heart, and care for your heart by guarding it from deception and idolatry. We need God’s Word and the help of the Holy Spirit to do each of these things, especially since we know our hearts are not naturally inclined towards any of these! As you think about your heart, lean into the Lord and ask Him to strengthen your heart in following these commands from Deuteronomy.