The obvious questions are: How do I change my heart; and how do I guard my heart?
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
There is absolutely no way to change or guard your heart without hiding the Word in it. There is no other way, no substitute, no short-cut! We could now look at hundreds of scriptures which would show the need for hiding the Word in your heart. As food is to your physical life, the Word of God is to your spiritual life. Daily you eat food to sustain your physical life; DAILY you must “eat” the Word of God to sustain your spiritual life. If you eat the wrong food, you become physically weak or sick. Likewise, eating the wrong spiritual food (something other than God’s rightly divided Word of truth) will cause weakness or sickness of your heart. No one can do this for you. By choosing daily to hide God’s Word in your heart, you will be determining the issues of your life.
What I have just described is the first step in the process called the renewed mind.1 The renewed mind is the “how” of changing your heart. The next step in renewing the mind is to put into operation the Word of God which you have placed in your heart. Do it! Live it! You must realize that the renewed mind is your responsibility and not an involuntary action done for you by God. Understand your responsibility is essential. However, hiding the Word in your heart, praying, renewing your mind, etc. were never intended to be done with the exclusion of God.
These very essential aspects of our Christian life can become nothing more than “works of the flesh” if we try to do them on our own without the help of God. The truth is that any of us who have tried to change our hearts on our own by reading, studying, memorizing, etc. have failed miserably. We cannot change our hearts without God’s help. We cannot hide the Word in our hearts without God’s help. We cannot renew our minds without God’s help. We do nothing of any spiritual profit without God.
The psalmists knew full well the need for God’s help. In reading you can hear the plea of their hearts for His help.
LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
Humility is the realization you cannot do it on your own, but He can! Humility is “I can’t, You can. Lord, help me.”
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
We can and should hide the Word in our hearts, but only God can make that Word have its impact in our hearts. Only God can strengthen the heart. “Lord, help me, strengthen my heart.”
After David was confronted by Nathan for the incident with Bathsheba and for having had Uriah killed, he repented. David knew his sin had been against God, and no possible work that he could have done would change his evil heart. He cried unto God to take away his sin. Then he prayed:
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
David had no illusions about his heart and knew full well God only could clean it and give him a new heart.
Do you want a clean heart? “Lord, help me. Create in me a clean heart.”
For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
Oh, how we yearn continually to love and respect our wonderful Father, God. Oh, how weak and wavering and unsuccessful we are. “My God, help me, unite my heart to reverence Your name.” We so want to love God and to be faithful to Him, but we fall so short. Only He can help us, but not without our asking, praying.
I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
We hate sin, yet we continue in it. “Father, help. Incline my heart unto Thy Word, not to covetousness. Deliver me from evil and temptation. Help!” He will help us to change our hearts. As we hide the Word in our hearts and trust in Him, He will guard our hearts.
Psalms 141:3 and 4:
Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.
Have you ever come to the place in your walk with God where you felt the life of your personal relationship with Him sifted away?
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
God can and will revive your heart as you go to His Word and ask His help. God can change the heart. God can guard the heart.