Lesson 1: The Heart and the New Nature
Keep the heart will all diligence; for out of it are the issues of Life” (Proverbs 4:23).
1. What does this scripture mean to you?
2. Why is it important to keep the heart diligent?
3. Using a Bible Commentary, find and review what Bible scholars have to say about Proverbs 4:23. Is this in agreement with your answers?
The Lord has assigned us the task of keeping our hearts with all diligence. The heart signifies the whole inner man – Peter called it the“hidden man of the heart (1 Peter 3:4).
The heart is exposed to both good and evil. Keeping the heart with all diligence means that we are to monitor our heart and keep it safe from the evil and wickedness that is present in the world.
The issues of life come from the heart and it not what goes into a man that defiles him, but it is what comes out of his mouth that defiles him it (Matthew 15:11).
1. Find Matthew 15:11 in your Bible.
2. Discuss this verse in terms of the heart.
3. How can we keep our hearts pure?
If we are able to manage and monitor our heart and keep it free from defilement, we will be able to control our thoughts and actions because the heart is that which controls and gives character to all we become and do. Importantly, the man (or woman) is what his heart is. Proverbs 23:7a speaks of it in thismanner:
“For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
1. Review Psalms 19:14
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (KJV)
1. What would change in your life if every Word that you speak is examined by God first?
2. What are some ways that you can let him examine your thoughts and words before they were spoken?
"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."—Ezekiel 36:26.
Gill’s Expository of the whole Bible explains Ezekiel 36:26 this way: “A "new hear and a "new spirit" are one and the same; that is, a renewed one; renewed by the Spirit and grace of God; in which a new principle of life is put; new light is infused; a new will, filled with new purposes and resolutions; where new affections are placed, and new desires are formed; and where there are new delights and joys, as well as new sorrows and troubles; the same which in Ephesians 4:24 is called the "new man", and the new creature: “and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (NIV)
1. How do we put on this “new self”?
2. Do you progressively see changes in your life that point to you being created “in true righteousness and holiness”?
3. How did this come about?
4. How can it be perfected? Maintained?
For more information on the heart and the new nature, see Romans 6:6; 8:9: Galatians 5:16-26: and Colossians 3:3-8.
Psalms 1:1; 34:8; 65:4; 128:1
John 20:29; 14:22