The heart is the innermost part of a person. It’s who we are in the dark when no one is watching. It beats with a pulse of the thoughts, feelings, and purpose that course through the veins of our lives. It’s the background rhythm of our subconscious, and it is ever speaking to God since He is the One who knows it even better than we do. Ephesians 5:19 admonishes Christians to make melody in our hearts to the Lord. That means that it’s up to us to make sure our hearts are singing God’s praises instead of groaning our doubts, fears, and insecurities. Here are three steps to make sure the song of our heart is pleasing to God.
“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,”Ephesians 5:19
1. Direct Your Thoughts
Have you ever heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”? It means that when we feed our minds worthless things, that is what comes back out of them when we think. That same principle is true with the heart. Think about what you are putting into your thoughts each day.
What words are you reading? It’s one thing to check the news. It’s another to dwell on the fear of the future implications of today’s reports. What images are you looking at? It’s a good idea to know the Enemy’s strategy. It’s another thing to fill our eyes with the pictures and symbols of his programming. What music do you allow into your ears? Music gets our emotions going, and the words and ideas get tucked deep into the folds of our memory. Are you paying attention to the words of the songs you sing and let play at the back of your mind? Do they praise God or man?
Philippians 4:8 tells us “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.” We must feed our minds carefully and focus intentionally on the things that are good. Stay away from harmful media. Read the Bible, listen to music that glorifies God, and train your thoughts on these things.
2. Manage Your Feelings
As humans, we can’t control our emotions. They are an instinctive response to our world. We all experience fear, disgust, anger, sadness, surprise, and happiness. These are wired in at basic levels and come with a bodily response such as a pounding heart, facial expressions, tears, and smiles. Feelings, on the other hand, are our conscious experience of those reactions. Upon receiving good news, we are happy and smile. Then our experiences, beliefs, memories, and thoughts catch up. Now we have a choice of what to do from there.
In Romans 7:18, Paul realizes the problem with the natural man. He says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” Experiencing our world as a human is inevitable, but what we do with those natural responses is up to us. Here is where hiding God’s Word in our hearts comes into play. We must take those responses and filter them through the Bible’s direction. For example, someone insults us, we get angry, and our teeth clench. Then we remember that the Bible tells us to give a soft response, turn the other cheek, and forgive, so we pray to God for the grace to do that.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” We must monitor our responses and bring them into subjection to what the Bible says. Like a mental TSA agent, bring every reaction through the conveyor belt and under the camera. Examine it through the lens of the Bible and then adjust thoughts and actions accordingly.
3. Set Your Purpose
The lives of Christians and non-Christians have the same basic structure. We all work, clean the house, take care of our families, and relax after a hard week. The difference between the two is found in purpose. While the natural man lives for this world, as Christians, we are to concentrate on the next.
What is your focus at work? Is it earning money, moving up the ladder, or gaining power and reputation? Or are do you prayerfully start each day by asking God to use you where He has you planted? In your home, do you model the Christian life for your children and spouse? In your rest, do you honor God with your time and talents? God knows we have the same basic structure of life as the world, but 2 Timothy 2:4 says we aren’t supposed to “entangle” ourselves with “the affairs of this life.” In other words, we aren’t supposed to allow them to become our purpose.
Colossians 3:1 says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” We must consciously and prayerfully orient our lives to the things of God in every situation. Like a compass that always finds north, view every task, experience, and interaction as a chance to learn a spiritual lesson or be used for God’s glory.
Let Your Heart Sing
A melody is a “musically satisfying sequence of notes.” It’s when our hearts are filled with the things that please God and the gratitude that flows from our knowledge of Him. But just living a passive life won’t make that happen. The current of this fallen world is too strong and will send us over a cliff if we aren’t consistently paddling away from it. Instead, it’s up to us to direct our thoughts, manage our feelings, and set our purpose on the things of God. Then our heart song will sing to the Lord.
Like “How to” articles? Try How to Empty Yourself and Fill Up With God. Or, try God’s Like Button: How to Know God Is Pleased. Please subscribe to my blog via email on the upper right corner and check out my YouTube channel where I read my blogs out loud and have a playlist of Hymns from my church.