May 20, 2016

Disciplines of the Heart

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

Jesus summed up the entire Old Testament Law with a simple statement we know as the Great Commandment.  He said,

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Matt. 22:37 (NIV) 

Love trumps law because love comes from the heart!  When we truly love God, obeying Him is never an issue.  When the heart is right, the hand is swift to do the right thing. That kind of love results from understanding and experiencing how much God loves you.  When you initially experience the love of God, your life is changed forever!  You’ll never be the same.  You begin a personal intimate relationship with the God who made you, redeemed you, and loves you beyond your imagination.  It’s a relationship of the heart that affects your whole being. Old things, the Bible says, begin to pass away; habits, thoughts, behaviors; and all things become new!  A new life has begun – the very life of Christ indwelling you by the Holy Spirit. His daily presence begins changing you from the inside out into the very image of Christ.  These are the disciplines of the heart.  A passion awakens within you to know Christ more intimately, to grow in your faith and love. The Psalmist shares these disciplines of the heart in the very first Psalm.  He describes what a blessed life looks like in contrast to the life we once lived.  The word “blessed” really means “happy, full of joy!”  If you want to live a life full of joy, Psalm 1 gives you the disciplines of the heart to do it!  It tells you what to do and what not to do if you want a happy life, one that is not controlled by circumstances or emotions.

Take a moment today and reflect on this Psalm.  Break it down, word by word and line by line.  Let God speak to you through His Word and connect you with Christ in a personal way.  The Holy Spirit will enlighten your understanding and challenge you with steps of actions He wants you to take.  Make some notes alongside the passage as to what He is saying to you, and take the next step He is leading you to take.  Here’s a simple outline of the passage that reveal these simple disciplines of the heart you can begin today:

If you want a life of joy, Psalm One says:

  • Be careful where you get your counsel.
  • Delight in God’s Word.  Consider it your Divine Appointment to meet with God personally and glean wise counsel as well as deepen your relationship with Him.
  • Meditate on Scripture. Whatever Scripture you are reading, find the passage that seems to jump off the page to you and meditate on it throughout the day.  To meditate is simply to chew on the passage, contemplate it, and personalize it.  If you’re a person prone to worry, you will be good at meditation.  Rick Warren says, “Worry is focused thinking on something negative.  Meditation is doing the same thing, only focusing on God’s Word instead of your problem.”

Don’t finish until you read the benefits of these disciplines found in Psalm 1:3

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”