Heart Problems

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is
good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that
which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)

I am convinced, the greatest problem facing our churches is NOT a financial problem, not an attendance problem, not a preaching problem or a teaching problem; it is a heart problem. That’s right –God’s people are suffering from a serious heart problem. Murmuring, back-biting, gossiping, grumbling and complaining are all outward symptoms of an inward disease: a heart problem. They show the heart’s true state; those who indulge in these things have a critical, fault-finding spirit, and it shows. They speak what is in their hearts, “for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless
and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and
perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Phil. 2:14-15)

Words have power; if they didn’t, businesses would not spend billions of dollars each year on advertising. They know the power of words. Our words can edify, or build up, or our words can tear down and destroy. They can be very harmful, causing a weaker Christian to stumble or lose faith, or causing a division among the body of Christ, the church. Careless words can cause a lost person to doubt God’s Word, doubt the providence and provison of God for His people, mock or cast doubt on Christianity, or even malign the name of God. Our words can be very harmful, if we aren’t careful. And once spoken, words can never be unspoken. They can circulate again and again. They can be repeated, twisted and turned, and used to tear down and destroy God’s church, instead of building up and nurturing it.

Neither murmur {grumble or complain} you, as some of them also
murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. (1 Cor. 10:10)

Grudge {grumble or complain} not one against another, brethren, lest
you be condemned: behold, the judge stands before the door. (James 5:9)

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity
shall cover the multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without
grudging.{grumbling or complaining} (1 Peter 4:8-9)

We can see that God’s word has much to say against murmuring, grumbling, and complaining. Sometimes we must sacrifice having our own way, or having the last word on a matter. Sometimes we must sacrifice being critical of any change or new idea. Sometimes we even have to sacrifice the right to say “I told you so”. Such sacrifices indicate a humble heart, instead of a proud and arrogant one.

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. (Psalm 4:5)

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a
contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and
with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour
as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Mark 12:33)

Yes, our words have power. We need to learn to speak in such a way that God is honored, and we build up His church, instead of causing conflict. When we have problems, we can always take them straight to God, instead of grumbling and letting things fester in our hearts until we find ourselves with a serious heart condition.

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace,
and things wherewith one may edify another. (Romans 14:19)

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,
but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister
grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all
bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking,
be put away from you, with all malice:And be ye kind
one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God
for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:29-32)

We do not have to always agree on every single issue. We can disagree, without being disagreeable. We can even be angry, and yet commit no sin in our anger. It all depends on what is in our hearts, for out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouths speak. What we must do, to honor God and show ourselves to be His beloved children, is to sacrifice our own wants, thoughts, and desires, and go forward in unity and one accord, rather than grumbling and complaining. That is how we bring glory and honor to God, and are held blameless.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for
brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith
you are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another
in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Fulfil you my joy, that you be likeminded, having the same love, being of one
accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Phil. 2:2-3)

To edify and build up, rather than criticize and tear down, is a sign of a healthy, obedient heart. To go forward in unity and with one accord is a sign of a healthy, obedient heart. To honor and esteem others more than we do ourselves is a sign of a healthy, obedient heart. To guard our tongues, and not let any corrupt communication escape from our mouth, is a sign of a healthy and obedient heart. And without a healthy, obedient heart, it is impossible to have a healthy, obedient church. No amount of money can resolve the issues caused by an unhealthy heart. An unhealthy heart reflects an unhealthy relationship with the Lord. And it will be reflected in the way we speak, the things we say and do.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 5:16)

The thing that sets Christians apart from the rest of the world is the way they love one another, and how they respond to problems, difficulties, disputes and disagreements. We are called to be different from the rest of the world, responding in a Christ-like manner. Do we truly follow Jesus, and behave in a way that honors and glorifies Him? Or is our “religion” only skin deep, not penetrating all the way down to the heart? What we say in these situations shows where our heart truly is. In fact, James goes as far as to say:

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue,
but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain. (James 1:26)

The only way to have a clean, healthy heart is to confess all our grumblings, murmurings, and complaints to the Lord, and ask Him to cleanse our hearts from all unrighteousness.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Our words matter: what we say reflects the conditions of our hearts. If we cannot learn to control our speech, we can cause conflicts and further dissention. We can do great harm to God’s name, and to His people. We can ruin our witness to the lost world around us. We can tear down and destroy, rather than building up and making things better. Letting God cleanse our hearts and control our tongues offers great rewards here and now, as well as heavenly rewards later.

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue
from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil,
and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. (1 Peter 3:10-11)

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