As you look into your own heart & character, what do you hold as your standard? Do you look around to those you respect? Or to those you are simply aware of? Or do you look to something greater than yourself?
At chapel this past week I shared on the passage from Luke 6 where Jesus uses the analogy of a tree being known by its fruit – that a good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit. Although analogies cannot be used to generate a 100% of the time policy or expectation, they do speak to the general case. It is commonly accepted that Jesus is drawing parallels between the tree and one’s heart, and the fruit and one’s words & behaviours. The conclusion of the text offers the following words that need little explanation:
out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks
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Each one of us must decide who we want to become. It has been said that we will hit what we aim for. So, I simply ask the questions, ‘What are you aiming for? What is your standard?”
Do you look around to see others…to compare your own actions relative to what other people hold as true? Or do you hold to something greater? Do you have an example to model yourself after?
Teenagers, like each one of us, are in such a tough situation with these questions. They experience the ups and downs of friendships and peer-pressure and identity and purpose. They can be ostracized for their beliefs when they may contradict the accepted norm. Yet, to be true to themselves they must remain congruent. A teacher on our staff often says, “when you hang out with fish, you smell like fish.” So true – we all have such power to influence those around us.
Another colleague often referred to GIGO: garbage in – garbage out. We must be disciplined & diligent regarding what we choose to put into our minds & body. This is a great statement on the key verse of this post, out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, because it reminds us that our heart is key to our attitude and actions.
Like this picture helps me see, it is below the surface that produces the results.
So, how do we train our hearts? The Bible is clear that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), and that we are to look to Jesus as our example (Philippians 2). We must start with the right input before we can expect the right output.
So, who is your standard? In your heart, what is driving your motivations and behaviours?