I thought it would be great to take one week and share some devotions from evangelist Harold Vaughn. He was a blessing to our church recently and I would love for you to get to read some of his comments.
BIBLE READING: LUKE 16
Luke 16: 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
We become what we focus on, and we produce what we focus on. Parents, what are you focusing on as you train your children, their behavior or their heart? Young person, is your focus on what you do or what you are?
Certainly, behavior is an indicator of the heart, but it is the heart that is the source of our behavior. The word heart in the Bible primarily deals with our thoughts and affections, rather than our emotions. Emotions follow our thinking and affections.
Parents must be careful about focusing on the ideal in the life of a child to the exclusion of the heart. As sinners we have a bend towards evil that we will struggle with until we go home to heaven. That means there is a difference between the ideal and reality many times. Continually pointing to the desired standard will not change the heart. Emphasizing behavior over the heart will not only fail to work long-term but is discouraging in the short term. Worse, it teaches the child that the most important thing is to maintain a good performance at the expense of the heart. The result is a child that ignores the condition of his or her heart and focuses on externals alone.
Focusing on behavior alone in the correcting the heart will produce a Pharisee who is judgmental, angry, and self-righteous. It is possible for the outside to be in good order, but the heart to be full of sin. As our children become teenagers, if they neglect their hearts, they will become self-righteous rather than broken over sin. When David committed adultery and murder, he pretended that things were right in the sight of others, but God wanted his heart to be right in Psalm 51. Failure to guard and protect our hearts will have ungodly consequences in the end. The same is true if we focus on our children’s behavior and ignore the state of their hearts.