Text:    Proverbs 4:23

By:       Bro. Chris Afekolu (Bishop)

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The human heart renders dual purpose;

  1. Physical function {seen by the Physician}
  2. Spiritual function {not seen by Physician but God}

The physical Heart; our heart beats almost 100 thousand times every day, every 24 hours, and over 4000 times an hour. The average Heart beats at 60 to 100 times per minutes, which translates to 86,400 to 144,000 beats per day. If you live to be 80 years old, your heart would have beaten over three billion heart beats! What a muscle.

A very robust pump, the size of a fist that works for a life time without a single shut down for maintenance. As it beats, your heart pumps blood around your body. As it travels through your blood vessel, blood brings needed oxygen and nutrient to cells and carries away waste products. The heart pumps our entire blood supply through its chamber every four minutes. But the Spiritual heart, the heart of the bible, is more than a blood pump. It is the mind, the very seat of our emotions. It is where we decide to take action; it is our will. It is with the heart that man believes or doubts, accepts or denies God. The heart reasons, plans, dreams.

When God looks at an individual He doesn’t see what we see of one another. We may be looking at the color of our skin {wonder why some tone their complexion}, we may be looking at the kind of clothes we are wearing {wonder why some will not identify or greet you cheap}, some will brag on their educational achievements in public gatherings, because you dressed so, social position {xyz followers in Instagram, Facebook or twitter…}, financial or political power. God does not look at all these things.

God told Samuel, “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7b NKJV). In scripture the heart of a person is considered to be the real genuine individual. God sees the real us. He sees the heart. You could be pretending to be in worship today or a Christian, just to please your neighbors, yours spouse or your parents. God sees the intents of the heart. Our outward being is not important. What is of utmost importance is whether our heart is right. Are we right with God? {There is a song that remind us on this hymn 226 -IS YOUR HEART RIGHT WITH GOD? Are we right with one another?


Proverbs 23:7 tell us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. We are what we think. We will never rise above our thoughts. What we think controls the kind of person we are. Thinking evil thoughts makes us evil. Thinking Godly thoughts makes us more like Him.

Having this in mind, Apostle Paul wrote: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8 NKJV).

We are encouraged to focus our mind on things that are praiseworthy. Dwell on things that are Godly. Regardless what others might try to tell us, we become what we think? Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23 NKJV) Solomon is saying that real life is not made of material things, but of heart issues. If men bestowed upon their hearts that care which they give to their estates, they would be rewarded with peace and prosperity, instead of disappointment and consuming anxiety. When the heart is well kept, and stored with heavenly wisdom, it sends forth life-giving streams.

Our thoughts, will, and affections, thence proceed all the actions, as of the natural, so of the spiritual life, which lead to eternal life.

What is our life made up of? Where is our focus? What goes on in our heart? Are we concerned with the seen or the unseen? (2 Cor. 4:18) Are we concerned with the material or issues of the heart? Are we concerned with hope, faith, love, joy, peace, patience ….? Proverbs 6:18 tells us that evil imaginations come from the heart. What do you imagine? What do you visualize about? What are your dreams?

 Jesus said: “You have heard …….. ‘You shall not murder’….. “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. …. “You have heard…. ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matt 5:21-28 NKJV)

What we imagine we become. What we think, we are. Sin or Righteousness has its beginning within our imaginations.

This people honour me with the lips, but their heart is far away from me; (Matthew 15:8 DBY). This verse says that we can join the saints regularly for worship and live an outward good life, but inwardly our hearts can be far from God. Like Ananias and Sapphira, we can look good outwardly, while our hearts are black with sin and deceit. Consider this: For from within, out of the heart of men, go forth evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickednesses, deceit, licentiousness, a wicked eye, injurious language, haughtiness, folly; all these wicked things go forth from within and defile the man. (Mark 7:21-23 DBY). Note the warning from the text – All these evils come from the heart. Gossip makes one unclean in God’s eye! Deceit, arrogance and malice make one unclean.  Envy and slander make us unclean. What are your thoughts? Are clean or unclean?

The Hebrew writer present the heart this way; See, brethren, lest there be in any one of you a wicked heart of unbelief, in turning away from the living God. But encourage yourselves each day, as long as it is called To-day, that none of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13 DBY)

We must know that doubt (a weakening faith) has its beginning in our thought. Satan plants a seed in the heart, that seed germinates and develops, and the result is doubt.

Satan plants seeds like: “One church is as good as another” ‘Is it only in the church of Christ one can be saved” “It’s Ok as long as one is sincere”

“Grace covers all our sins regardless of our attitude or behavior”

“After all no one is perfect”

“Not sure God hears my/our prayers”

The heart can be lead astray by the deceitfulness of Satan. He has the ability to take truth and turn it into a lie by planting the seeds of half-truths. He did this to our first parent in the Garden of Eden. Paul is advising us in the above verse – Don’t allow Satan to get to you by the deceitfulness of sin through a hardened heart!

The human heart could be filled with pride and the Lord hate such. Psalm 101:5 says God will exclude from His presence two groups of people: those who slander the brethren and those who have a proud heart. “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy; The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, Him I will not endure.” (Psalms 101:5 NKJV)

We are admonished to have a humble heart. “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 NKJV). 

Ezekiel 6:9 speaks of an idolatrous heart, a heart that has gone after its own idols. What is your idol? Money?  Power? Popularity? Entertainment? Fashion? Social media? Just name it……..

Do you spend more time with TV than we do in the word of God? {African Magic, Premier League, Laliga league} Then TV is an idol. Some even adore Players, actors and actresses.

Are you faithful to your worldly meetings, your associations, and social clubs than to the church of God? Then we have an idol. Are we more interest in things {clothing, jewelries, exotic Cars, lavished adornment}    than people? Then things have become our idol. The bible made it very clear that God will tolerate no rivals! He did not allow it in the days of Moses and He will not today. Anything you so much cherished more than God is your idol.. “You shall have no other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:3 NKJV).  “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5 NKJV)

Hebrews 3:15 says, <“To-day, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as your forefathers did in the time of the provocation.”> (Hebrews 3:15 WNT) another translation renders it— ‘If to-day you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts, as when Israel provoked me.’ (Heb. 3:15 TCNT) The Hebrews’ writer is saying we can harden our own hearts by choice. The Bible teaches that we are keepers of our own hearts. We decide what we will allow into our hearts. We decide what attitudes and dispositions that we hold. Our will has control over our hearts. We are what we decide to be. We decide to use the words of God that comes to us daily to remold our lives or decides to harden our hearts to His words.

God knows what’s going on inside us. “Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart”.(Psalms 44:21) This verse says God has discovered our wickedness because He knows the secret of the heart. You may hide it from the Bishops, The Evangelist or your brethren, but the Lord knows. You may have evil intent in your heart today. The Lord knows. Harden not your heart today; Allow God to open your heart to His words. Allow the words of God to liberate you from the bondage of Satan. Confess you evil deeds and the Lord is willing to forgive you. Don’t sit on edge because God knows the secrets of your heart. There is nothing hidden from Him. Man observes the outward behavior, but God sees our inner thoughts and attitudes.

David admonished Solomon “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.” (1 Chronicles 28:9 NKJV) Paul says that God examines our hearts.  “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NKJV)


First we must have a heart focused on God.  When asked what the first commandment was, Jesus replied, ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30 NKJV)

God must be first and foremost in our lives. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NKJV). 

Secondly, we must have a heart that is sensitive to serving others. Jesus said for us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). Why must we love our enemies to have a good and right heart?…”So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:45a). Loving others makes us like God. God causes the sun to rise and sends the rain on the just and the unjust.

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NKJV). 

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4 NKJV). A heart that is sensitive to serve other will always seek for peace, shun argument over judgmental issues. “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another”. (Romans 14:19 NKJV).

Thirdly, we must have a heart which acts out of pure motives. Jesus said: Take care not to do your good works before men, to be seen by them; or you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. When then you give money to the poor, do not make a noise about it, as the false-hearted men do in the Synagogues and in the streets, so that they may have glory from men. Truly, I say to you, They have their reward. But when you give money, let not your left hand see what your right hand does: So that your giving may be in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret, will give you your reward. (Matthew 6:1-4 BBE)

Jesus is saying that coming to worship, doing good works, giving money to the church, fasting, praying or assisting the poor accomplishes nothing when we do it just to be seen by others.

Loving God with all our heart will automatically exclude loving the praise of men. If we obey God because we love Him with all our heart, mind, strength and soul, there is no room for us doing things out of improper motive. Doing things out of proper motive pleases God because God is always and absolutely pure in motive.


The book of Proverbs 14:30 says: “A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones”. (Amplified bible)  The NLT renders it this way: A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. Practicing optimism or a peaceful heart is actually one way to improve your health. When you find yourself troubled with relationships, deal with the issues quicker. If you are fearful, Lean into God’s promises and speak them out loud.

If your stress levels are high, exercise to release the tension. Above all, work towards a peaceful heart through Jesus Christ.

A healing spirit, made up of love and meekness, a healthy, friendly, cheerful disposition, is the life of the flesh; it contributes to a good constitution of the body; people grow fat with good humor. While a restless, envious, discontented spirit, is its own punishment; it consumes the flesh, prey upon the animal spirit, make the countenance pale, and is the rottenness of bones. Psalms 112:10 says, those that see the prosperity of others and are grieved, let them gnash with their teeth and melt away; the desire of the wicked shall perish.

Our God wants us to have

  1. A heart that is focused on Him,
  2. that is sensitive and serving to others, and
  3. A heart that operates out of pure motive.

These should be the driving force for every Christian.

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