When I first came to Christ in a serious and mature way and began a course of bible study, a friend of mine counseled that the heart is a very wicked thing. I couldn't believe this. What? The Heart? But this is where our love resides! I protested... Foolishly...
There are so many verses from scripture that support my friend's statement. Following are but a few:
The LORD smelled the soothing aroma ; and the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth ; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.
"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
I am ever so grateful that I am starting to mix a little meat with my heavenly milk. I now understand on a deep level exactly what my brother in Christ was trying to help me learn.
like newborn babies, [we] long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it [we] may grow in respect to salvation,
(1 Peter 2:2)
"Admitting our wrongs to ourselves can be the most difficult part... Denial can be blinding! How can we be expected to admit to ourselves those things we are blind to? Here's a clue that can help us. We will often condemn in others the wrongs most deeply hidden within ourselves."
Read Overcoming Denial, by Stephen Arterburn at One Place
Now, after a bit of learning and scriptural meat, I have learned that it is important to guard my heart, not just from the outside influence of the evil one, but from my own inner propensity for treachery as well...
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
In this way, I can cultivate gratitude. I can more appreciate the Spirit of the Lord. Always with His help, I can better protect myself.
But, most critical, I can work to apply the first and second most important commandments all day long, each and every day. THIS is precisely what the human heart was created to accomplish:
36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
37 And He said to him, "'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.'
38 "This is the great and foremost commandment.
39 "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'
40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."