“You shall therefore lay up these words of Mine
In your heart and in your soul…”
Next week I leave for the US and so today I started packing.. As I do so, it occurs to me that I spend a lot of time packing. Most every day Linda or I pack a lunch to take to the office at Church. Most days I pack my backpack with the things I need to take back and forth from the office. Sometimes I take a computer with me, and so I pack this suitcase. This bag is for my camera equipment. This one is for my CPAP machine. Then there are the suitcases – big ones for long trips and little ones for overnight.
Not only do I spend a lot of time packing. I spend a lot of time repacking. When I leave next week, this suitcase will be neatly packed. I guarantee that two days into the trip it will be a mess. I will be searching through everything looking for a pair of socks. In the course of the next 5 weeks, I will unpack and repack it several times. My backpack is in constant need of repacking. Right now there are pretzels in the bottom, from a package that broke open. Sometimes, there will a Tupperware container that I forgot to unpack it and put it in the dishwasher.
You know, your heart and mine are a lot like this backpack. My goal today is to get you to think about what you are packing there, because your heart is your most important suitcase in your daily walk with God.
Let’s think about that. With everything you and I read… with everything we watch on TV, at the movies… with everything we listen to… with every site we visit on the Internet – you and I are packing things – good, bad and horrible in our hearts. When I pack for a trip, I only pack good stuff, not my worn out stuff. We need to do that daily with our hearts. In Dt. 11 God tells us to “lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul…” Taking time to store up God’s word in your heart is so important I don’t mean simply reading the Word. I am thinking of the old prayer from the hymnal where we ask God to helps us to “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” His word. When you commit His word to memory you will be surprised at how His word becomes a daily part of your life and your prayers. Prisoners of War talk about being sustained by scripture they had memorized. IN my prayers, the memorized words from Psalm 51, constantly come to my mind – “Create in me a clean heart O God…” What could be better than to pack your heart full of God’s word which “is able to make you wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus… which is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting and training in righteousness?”
Another key aspect of packing and repacking your heart is repentance. Like my backpack, my heart quite quickly becomes a mess. Think of what Jesus says about the things stored up in our hearts – “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.” Sin will mold and decay in our hearts. That’s why we need daily to clean them out, bring our sins to God and confess them. He promises – “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus His Son will cleanse us of our sins… If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Our hearts need a thorough cleaning every day.
The final aspect of packing and repacking your heart is to pray. Paul writes in Philippians 4, “Have no anxiety about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, let your requests be made known unto God and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” I had a friend tell me recently that he has been having trouble sleeping. There were just too many things weighing on his mind. Finally one night, he couldn’t take it anymore, so he prayed. He gave it up to God, and slept like a baby. God did just what He promised. His peace stood guard over this person’s heart.
You and I spend a lot of time packing and repacking things in our lives. But what about our most important suitcase – our hearts? It’s worth the time to pack and repack your heart. And don’t do it by yourself. Your God daily wants to cleanse and make your heart new! Amen