Dr. Dan Coflin
Pastor, River of Life Church
Lately, I have heard many conversations about the crazy events taking place in the world. Threats from rogue countries, anthem protests at home, warnings of economic failure, strange weather events, and the list goes on. “The Times, They Are A-Changin,” as Bob Dylan sang, seems to be the topic of news outlets, and because of those reports, many people are afraid for their future and uncertainty seems to be the norm.
Many “millennials” share a belief that their future is going to be brief. They fear nuclear holocaust or environmental disaster will bring an end to life as they know it. But what are these fears founded in? Historically, we are far better off today than anytime in human history.Our technological advancements have made our lives far easier than our ancestors.
Yes, there are threats, but the extent of natural disasters are no worse today than at other times in history, and there will always be some madman spewing out hatred and violence whether it is in the local mall or the leader of some backward country. So why is there such foreboding among so many?
In the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon says, “Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.” (Pr. 4:23) The word “keep” here means to hedge about, guard, or protect from intruders. Our hearts (souls, mind, and thoughts) are constantly being bombarded by other people’s ideas and opinions. Some of those opinions may be correct, but many are based on inaccurate information and some are even purposeful deception to control a situation or manipulate circumstances for their own profit. How are we to know the difference?
The Bible teaches us that words are powerful. They can greatly influence those who hear to believe something to be true, and their believing will result in what they do and how they do it. So what you and I hear is very important, so much so that we are admonished to guard our hearts (thoughts, opinions, ideas, conclusions) with all diligence. That means we are not to take a casual approach to what we hear, but we are to consider carefully and judge what is heard to determine whether or not it is true, and this is to be done with all diligence, i.e. effort and thoroughness, not carelessly.
The reason we are to be so mindful about the words we hear is found in the rest of this verse, “for out of it [our heart] are the issues [forces] of life.” In other words, what your heart is filled with will control your life.
What is your heart filled with? An easy way to determine what is in your heart is to simply listen to what comes out of your mouth. Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Mt. 12:34) The things you talk about are what your heart is filled with.Some people are filled with hurt and brokenness. Others with hatred and an unwillingness to forgive, and others are controlled by fear and uncertainty.
What our hearts are filled with will control our lives, and what our words are filled with will influence those who listen to us. We are all dispensers propagating faith or fear, hope or hopelessness, confidence and assurance or an evil foreboding of what lies ahead. Jesus said he came to give us life and life more abundantly (Jn. 10:10). Our hope is to be in God, and God’s desire is for our good and blessing simply because he loves us. Don’t be deceived, but guard your heart and fill it with the Word of God so your words will bring hope and life to all who hear you.
Dr. Dan Coflin and his wife Dianne are copastors of River of Life Church in Lutz, FL.
410 Chapman Rd. East, Lutz, FL 33549
(813) 949-9931 • www.roltampa.org
We would love to invite you to visit River of Life Church on 410 East Chapman Rd. in Lutz. Our lively worship begins at 10:30 on Sunday morning, and our church is a nondenominational, spirit-filled ministry. So please honor us with your visit. We would love to have you!