Proverb 4:23

During lifetime, many people have suffered from pain or damage resulting from breaking the promise. For example, they made a contract with another in trust, but suffer from heartache and damage when he breaks off the promise. Have you ever experienced the same thing?

Let me take another example. Sometimes parents promise their children to give them a gift on a special day like their birthday or Children’s Day. Of course children look forward to the day full of great expectation. But what would happen to the children if their parents forget it and give nothing?

It is the same case with adults. Some businessmen have a contract with their close friend about new business and enter into the new business believing their friend and its success. But they are compelled to receive some damage when the party of the contract breaks the promise.

Most of worldly people have self-seeking attitude. So, they change their mind and break the promise when the promise does not seem beneficial even though they made the obvious promise with others.

However, God our Father is trustworthy and never changes. It is said in James 1: 17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Also, it is said in Deuteronomy 7: 9, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands,” and in Numbers 23: 19, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”

Therefore, God’s children should become trustworthy and unchanging like the Father who is Spirit. In fact, if you remove a character of slyness, it will be easier for you to accomplish the spiritual heart. That’s because it is “not changing” that is one of the most important characteristics of spirit.

Now, let’s look into why the heart gets sly or one changes his heart and what ultimately follows those changing people through the examples of the changing people in the Bible. I hope you will watch you heart if there is changing character in your heart.

Body

“Changing character,” indicates changing one’s determination.
Why then people change their first determination or decision? In a word, it’s because they have sly heart that causes them to do this way or that way according to their own benefits.

For instances, some people change their minds in slyness because of the greed for more wealth or higher power or to keep their honor. The type of each one’s changing his heart is different according to the measure of slyness in his heart.
Some carry out the first plan without changing their decision no matter how much their situation changes, but some others very often change their plan whenever their situation changes.
If you carry out a job to the last without changing your mind in the Lord, God sees your faith and will change your situation. It is said in Psalm 32:2, “Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” This way God works the goodness for you in everything.

Slyness in hearts causes many people to break their promise at the appointed time as a least thing, or to abandon the grace of God and betray Him as a great thing. In this way too many people change their minds because of slyness.

It may seem possible that breaking a trivial promise is neglected, but you must remember that surrendering to a small thing may lead to a great sin or blunder.

So, it is said in Proverbs 4: 23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” When you do not guard your heart and change your mind, it may take you to the way of death.

Let me give you the first example of changing heart. He is Pharaoh in the time of Moses. The Pharaoh was so sly that he changed his mind too often for his own benefits when Moses and the Israelites escaped from Egypt.
He promised to let the Israelites go out whenever Moses performed the Ten Plagues and the Pharaoh and his Egyptians were injured. But he broke his promise repeatedly after Moses finished the plagues.
At last, the last plague drove the first son of Pharaoh and all firstborns of men and animals in Egypt to death, and then Pharaoh let the Israelites go. However, it was not long before his mind was irritated and changed. He let a special army accompany him and they chased the Israelites who were crossing the Red Sea. But when they followed the Israelites and went into the Sea, they were all drowned to miserable death.
This way he was so stubborn that he did not fear God although he witnessed God’s great works. Foolishly, he broke his promise to let the Israelites go over and over. Otherwise, he would not have died such a miserable death.
This Pharaoh’s example is so excessive, but it enlightens us how important it is to guard our heart and not to change our mind.

It is said in Luke 8: 13, “Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.” In this verse, Jesus our Lord spoke in parable about ones who have the heart as hard and stubborn as a rock among the four kinds of heart fields.
People with rocky heart receive the word joyfully and believe it for a while. But they fall away and betray the Lord when they are tested, because they have no root.

This is the case today. So many people profess that God is alive when they witness the powerful works of God, because they are very amazed or so afraid. But they do not show the faith accompanied with deeds. If they truly believe that God is alive and fear God from their hearts, they should show the evidence as an action. In other words, they should throw away their evil and do good deeds. That’s because Proverbs 8: 13 says, “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”

They seem to believe in God when they witness great works of God, but if they do not show the evidence of fearing God, it proves that they have the heart as hard and stubborn as rock. So, they fall into temptation, stumble down, betray the faith and leave God when trials or hardships come upon them.
If they truly believe in the living God, they should fear God from their heart and mend their hearts with the word of God. They should change the heart as hard and stubborn as rock into the one soft and meek as cotton. For this sake, they should deny themselves thoroughly, struggle against sins to the point of shedding the blood and remove every kind of evil.

Only then, can they have the perfect faith that enables them to triumph over all tough trials and hardships.

The second example is Saul, the first king of Israel.

Before his reign, God Himself reigned over the nation of Israel through prophets or judges. So, it was called the Age of Judges. The last judge was Samuel. In the time of Samuel, the Israelites required a king to reign over them and he anointed Saul as a king according to the guidance of God.
Samuel was so fully confirmed by God that none of his word fell to the ground. To any word of the great prophet Samuel, Saul should have surrendered even though he became a king. That was because Samuel’s word was no better than the word of God.

But Saul became more arrogant since he was enthroned, and came to disobey the prophet Samuel. Saul did not repent or turn from transgressions even when Samuel rebuked his wrong. Instead, he made excuses and tries to justify his actions attributing the responsibility to his people.
After all, it is said in 1Samuel 15: 35, “Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel.”

In addition, when God told Samuel to anoint the next king replacing Saul, Samuel replied, “”How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me.” It tells that Saul was possessed with such great arrogance as to fear nobody.
Saul lowered himself before the prophet Samuel before he became a king, and looked so humble as to conceal himself when he was chosen as the king of Israel. As a matter of fact, his humble-looking actions did not come from the deep within his heart, so he changed his mindset when he gained a big power and was in a very different situation.

We find many people who look humble when they have no power or honor but become corrupt in heart and arrogant if given power and honor like Saul. For example, some believers tried to obey when they had no title or position in church, but have trouble in obeying because of their own thought after they received some titles or position.
Some others enjoyed serving others before, but try to command or point out others and even reign over them after they rise to a very high position.

How about you? When you came to the church for the first time, most of you were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit and thankfully received any word from anyone else considering him better than you. Have you been doing that unchangingly?
Or do you think you have already known the word of God enough and so judge or condemn others, saying, “This man’s word is not good, and that man’s word is not moving”?

And, you must have enjoyed obeying your parish leader or mission spiritual director in your early Christian days with the following thanks, “How grateful it is to give this chance of rewards even to me!” Today how about you? Do you still enjoy them unchangingly? Or do you obey them reluctantly and in compulsion, complaining, “Why do they command me alone?”

Some others do not want to be pointed out anymore by their teachers or people who helped them in many ways if they are elevated to a higher position. In fact, even though you have become a professor of a university, you should not change your thankful mind towards teachers in your elementary, middle, and high school.

If you neglect and ignore your teachers you have respected and served because you became a higher and greater person than they, it testifies you have really corrupted and become very haughty.
It is said in Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall,” and in Proverbs 15: 10, “Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die.”

The way these verses awaken us, Saul was abandoned by God, suffered from evil spirits bothering, and was put to a miserable death. I hope in the name of the Lord that you live in the grace of God the Father by keeping this fact in your mind and fastening your waist with humility.

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