Revisiting The Heart

Back in February, I posted a blog called How’s Your Heart? In it, I talked about four ways to evaluate your heart—or rather, to learn more about yourself. In today’s post, we’ll be tackling the question of what is in your heart.

A Look At Luke

While reading through Luke, I found this passage and had to read it a few times:

Luke 6:43-45 ESV

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

I’ve often heard the “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” quote, but when I was younger, the phrase I heard the most was “garbage in, garbage out”.

The Real Reasons

Basically, whatever is in your heart—the things you see, hear, think about, or talk about—are the things that are going to come out of you. Because as the verse said, you can’t get grapes from a bramble bush. But do you know what you can get? Brambles. And lots of them.

Do you ever feel irritated, angry, anxious, or scared for no apparent reason? My guess is that there is a reason, even if you don’t know what it is.

There’s a lot of stuff we’re exposed to every day that affects us without our knowledge. Books, movies, shows, games, the news… even the conversations you have with people every day. Each of these things can influence the way you think and feel.

Because how can we fix a problem if we don’t even know we have it? How can we restore our hearts and minds to the point that no matter what media we consume, or news we hear, it has no lasting negative effects on us?

Philippians 4:8 ESV

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

This is the key to restoring your heart. Thinking about lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy things.

High Standards

Okay… but what are pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy things?

As you get older, it gets harder and harder to find a book or movie that is 100% Christian clean. And in reality, even if you can find stories that are clean, most of their plots are just plain boring or over the top cliche—so it’s no wonder that most believers just watch and read secular content. But if you’re always watching shows or reading books with questionable scenes and morals, how are you supposed to refresh your heart and mind?

Solution #1  Take a hike. 

No, really. It’s good for you. 

Spending time out in nature refreshes my mind and soul. When I’m surrounded by nothing but trees, birds, and squirrels, I get a lot of inspiration—both for my writing, and for my life. 

All my worries and problems seem pretty small compared to the pine trees towering above me, and the negative thoughts in my head are usually drowned out by the sound of the river rushing by. Not to mention, God created it, so I’d say it meets all the standards in Philippians 4:8.

Solution #2 Spend time with people that fill you up—rather than drain you dry. 

Are there people in your life that you only spend time with because you have to? If not, then good for you! Tell me your secret in the comment section at the bottom of this blog post. 

For the rest of us, having people in our lives that we can talk to when we’re worn down and need to have real, refreshing conversations, is amazing. When I speak with one of these people, I usually leave the conversation feeling energized and inspired.

Solution #3 Read the bible. 

This may seem like an obvious one, but I think a lot of us put it off because it’s kind of daunting.

Where should we start? How much should we read? How often?

There are a lot of reading plans out there, but you don’t need to use one if that’s not your thing. If you’re looking for suggestions for a place to start, why not read Luke or Philippians?

Solution #4 Journal about the things you’re thankful for.

I know I bring up journaling a lot (this is the third time), but it really can be helpful! Dwelling on the things I’m grateful for by writing them all down, definitely puts me in a good mood. It replaces all the negative thoughts I may have been having with positive ones.

Solution #5 Hobbies!

Get back into your old hobbies, or find a new one!

Because whether you—draw, paint, sew, knit, crochet, make jewelry, woodwork—or take part in any other fun hobby like that, you’re creating something new. Drawing from God’s inspiration. And I’d say that’s excellent and praiseworthy.

In The End…

Even if you’re not ready to give up your favorite shows and books, you can still fight the negativity lingering in your heart or mind by replacing it with something awe-inspiring.

Anything God had a hand in creating or inspiring—nature, strong friendships, the bible, the good things he’s given us, and our own ability to create—meets the high standards of Philippians 4:8

It is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. 

And that’s amazing to think about.

Before You Go…

What other things can you think of that meet the standards of Philippians 4:8? Let me know down in the comments!

I was a guest on the School of Kingdom Writers’ podcast! Click here to listen to my interview and audio drama!