Watching What We Take In
Read Proverbs 4:23; 2 Samuel 6:12-23; Philippians 4:8
Through the years, the church has sometimes sponsored bake sales to help raise funds for special projects. Many people would each bake a few of their specialties, and it was frequently the case that when we had lots of chocolate, customers were in the mood for fruity treats, and vice versa. The good thing about that? On occasion, people would order something they craved, bringing in a bit more money for the cause. Now and again, there were even repeat customers. One stands out in my mind. Although I was in baking, rather than sales, I was told about this particular person, who came to more than one sale. She was a lady who was interested in buying cream pies. However, she had a special question she asked more than once when she was looking for these confections. She wanted to know if the creamy part of the pie was made with a pudding mix. It wasn’t that she snubbed that kind, but she had an allergy to one of the dyes that are in the packaged puddings. She really had to be careful not to take in anything with that particular dye. When she was reassured that the cream pies were made from scratch, she was happy to make a purchase. If only we were as careful as that customer was, concerning what we let into our hearts, Proverbs 4:23. When we allow wrong thinking and ungodly attitudes to take root in us, we will soon see wrong reactions flowing out of us. In today’s scripture from 2 Samuel 6:12-23, we see the fruit that an unguarded heart can produce. In 2 Samuel 6:1-11, we watch as King David made a futile attempt to bring the Ark of God back to Jerusalem. That first attempt was not done God’s way and ended in pain and failure. However, 1 Chronicles 15:12-15 tells us that David’s second attempt at bringing the Ark of God’s Presence into Jerusalem was done in the way God had ordained. What a different outcome! What a beautiful celebration. David danced with joy, having removed his crown and royal robes, as he humbly enjoyed God’s goodness and honored Him for Who he was. David wasn’t lauding himself; instead, he was humbling himself before the Lord. When the Ark was back where it was meant to be, David gave little gifts of food to his people and eagerly returned home to bless his family. What he didn’t know was that his wife Michal would be greeting him with an unguarded heart. The joyful king wasn’t prepared for the fact that Michal had been watching the proceedings. She had been viewing him with contempt, 2 Samuel 6:14. What could have been a time of shared joy quickly turned into a display of bitterness and anger. Wrong thoughts and attitudes in Michal’s heart spilled out. How different that time could have been for Michal if she had chosen to uproot the contempt she nursed in her heart. It would have meant looking at David, seeing his actions as God saw them, rather than from her earthly and flawed point of view. Michal had been viewing David with what James calls earthly wisdom, rather than the wisdom that comes from above, James 3:13-18. Sure enough, her heart attitude produced strife, as the world’s wisdom so often does. There was no harvest of peace in their home that day.
The Bible offers many ways to guard our hearts. One way to keep our hearts from being infected by ungodly attitudes is found in Philippians 4:8. In that one verse, we are reminded which thoughts we should open the door and allow in. Before going any farther, I must say that I deal with this challenge each day. It is the Holy Spirit Who alerts me of wrong thinking that is trying to settle down in my heart and He convicts me of times when dangerous thinking has already made itself at home. He is the One Who helps me guard my heart. With those thoughts in mind, the list found in Philippians 4:8 is a summary of things to dwell on that honor God. This little verse tells us to dwell on the world from God’s point of view. Colossians 3:1-2 is a similar reminder. The world’s point of view is often 180 degrees different than the Lord’s. The Lord desires that we look up, reminding ourselves of all that He has done, all that He is still doing and the outcome He has ordained, Revelation 21-22. Aren’t these the things that are true, honorable, lovely praiseworthy and of a good report?
Lord, Thank You for the commands You give, teaching us where to settle our minds and the importance of guarding our hearts. When You tell us what to do, You also enable us to do what You say. Thank You for Your grace and patience as we grow and how You enable us to start again when we fall short, 1 John 1:9.