Above All Things Guard Your Heart

You sometimes face the biggest challenges in life right before the biggest blessings.

Pastor James Greer
Jul 15, 2018    27m
In this sermon Pastor Greer discusses guarding our hearts. He says that keeping our hearts pure, gives us the ability to keep our heart open to others. He says that often times when we face challenges in life, it hardens our hearts as a form of self protection. But then he reminds us that Jesus often brings us our greatest challenges right before he gives us our biggest blessing, but we have to have an open, pure heart, to receive these blessings. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: 00:05 Welcome to Alexandria Campus! Amen? As you know, Darrell has a thing for shoes. He only wishes he could have some of those.

James Greer: 00:14 Man I want to tell you God has a word for you today, Pineville Campus. Amen? And God has a word for you, Alexandria Campus. Listen, how many of y'all would really like to be more successful and more prosperous in your life? Say Amen. Okay, well, listen, what I'm, what I'm talking about today, is being more successful, more prosperous in your marriage and your joy in every single area of your life. Well, to do that, you have to learn where success and prosperity really comes from. Okay, you ready? This isn't in your notes. But if you learn this, if you don't learn this, you'll never have that type of peace when you're going through problems that Arlene just had. You'll never have that kind of success. You'll never have that kind of prosperity. Both success and prosperity is all about the condition of our heart, not the condition of our circumstances.

James Greer: 01:09 See, even in the Christian world, if you're not careful, we believe that success and prosperity has to do with what we have, where we live, where we work, but it's not. See, lasting true success and prosperity is the condition of your heart, not the condition of your circumstance. So to do that, you got to understand what is Biblical success? What is being Biblically prosper mean? I believe a good Biblical definition for success, one of the good things about being sick is you got to just hours and hours to meditate. You know, it says, be still and know your God. Be still and know that he's God. Well, you can be still and you know he's got. I kept trying to find good definitions with success. People were saying, you know, success is when you reach your financial goals in life. Success is what would you have, would you always dreamed about. But see, Biblical success can be defined as fulfilling your God given plan and purpose for your life.

James Greer: 02:11 Listen, when Biblical success is to find in finding your God's plan and purpose for your life, because then that results in love and joy and peace in spite of your present situation or circumstances. So in other words, you can be successful no matter what you're doing, no matter where you go because of the condition of your heart. And success, we're not going to preach on that today. But you can find it if you want. Look at the talents in Matthew 25:14. It says, when they did what God called them to do, when they found God's plan and God's purpose, God would over and over say, enter into the joy of the Lord. Because they had found God's plan, they were accomplishing God's purpose and they entered into the joy of the Lord. See, that's success. What about prosperity? Of course being prosperous means to be mighty in the in the Lord, it means to profit. But I believe the best Biblical definition (which I couldn't really hardly find one) means satisfied or content physically, emotionally, spiritually in the state of life that you're in, despite your situations.

James Greer: 03:14 Now Arlene, when she found out she had cancer, she was still prosperous and successful even in the state of life that she was in. She didn't say, God if you heal me, if you remove this cancer then I'm going to be successful, then I'm going to be prosperous, then I'm going to be happy. No, no, no. See, she said it's a Biblical means of finding success and contentment physically, emotionally, and spiritually in the life that you're in, despite situations and circumstances. So you can be prosperous, you can have success and you can have sickness.

James Greer: 03:49 As a matter of fact I'm telling ya. I don't know if any of y'all were here Wednesday night. We had three guys preach fantastic messages on suffering. And this Wednesday night we got three more. You do not want to miss it. You want to be here and it's going to be on why God allows suffering. But, Paul knew something about suffering. In fact, Paul gives us a wonderful illustration about what success and true prosperity is. When I told you it's finding contentment in spite of your physical, emotional condition...

James Greer: 04:22 In Philippians 4:1, he says (Paul speaking), I'm not speaking in regards to me. I have learned. Let me tell you what, if you need to learn something, this is what you need to learn. It doesn't come natural. It's supernatural. He said, I learned in whatever state I am to be content. Paul said there is something I learned and I learned that prosperity is a condition of the heart. Prosperity has to do with my relationship with others in God.

James Greer: 04:48 Listen how the message puts it. You Ready? Philippians 4:11 says, actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything. Paul said I don't really need anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content, to be satisfied whatever my circumstances are. Wouldn't you like to be able to say that I learned to be content no matter what the circumstances in my life are? It's just like [unintelligible]. Paul was writing this about how I've learned to be content. I don't really need anything. It goes on and says, I'm just as happy with the little as I am per month, because I found the recipe of being happy. Paul was right. Paul was in jail. He still had the thorn in the flesh and he's talking about, hey man, I am prosperous. I am successful because listen, I have learned the secret of what it's like to be true contentment. I know what true success is, true prosperity. True success has to do with a condition of the heart, not the condition of your circumstances.

James Greer: 05:54 Brian Houston, last week he was teaching if you're in a Journey group, and he said, with all things, guard your heart. And I'm telling you the truth about how to help the condition of your life, your joy and your marriage. Guard your heart. Why is it so important for us to guard our heart? You Ready? The condition of our heart controls the total condition of our life. The condition of your heart controls and condition of your life. The condition of your heart controls the marriage in your life. The condition of your heart controls when you go to work and how your work is in your life. The condition of your heart says how it is in my family life. You see why it's so important to control the condition of our heart? Amen.

James Greer: 06:43 There's a verse. I read it. I use it for myself, but I send it to people a lot of times. It's in 3 John 1:2. He said, beloved, I pray that in every way (what way? every way) you may succeed (we talked about success) and prosper and be in good health, physically just as I know your soul prospers physically. So, it's okay to pray that, say beloved I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers.

James Greer: 07:17 Well, what is your soul? Your soul is your heart. It’s the very emotions, the very thinking of your life. You want to be, you want to prosper physically, emotionally, and spiritually, protect your heart. It's okay to pray that I might succeed. It's okay to pray that I might prosper. It's okay to pray that I might be in good health. It's okay to pray that my soul, but I'm going to tell you what, He's telling you that you can have success and prosperity in spite of your situation as far as your circumstance because it's a condition of your heart. The answer is heart. You can be successful and prosper in anything and everything you do because it's the condition of your heart. Amen.

James Greer: 08:05 There was a good friend of mine a while back, a few months back, and he, he came in and said, "Man, I, I've already made a commitment to God. And, uh, talking about say yes and giving the church," but he, he said, "But you know, my business is terrible. But I'd like for my business to get better because I'd actually like to give more to God."

James Greer: 08:28 I told him, I said, "At Nehemiah 1:11 it says oh Lord please hear my prayer. Listen to my prayer of those who delight in honoring you. [The heart is right. It’s a condition of the heart.] Please grant me success today. Success is prosperity. Yeah, of course, but it's reaching your God given goals."

James Greer: 08:46 It's all about the heart, so if you want to prosper and you want to be successful, it was okay because his goal was to honor God. I can remember us praying that. I can remember sending the text. I can remember. That son of a gun is so busy now, he’s almost having to work on Sunday. Not.

James Greer: 09:06 I said, "You don't want us to start praying that you're not busy, amen?" Emotional, physical, and financial success is greatly determined by your heart. Alright.

James Greer: 09:17 Matthew 5:8 puts it this way. It says, blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Now, when you have a pure heart, do you physically see God? Of course not, but he said when your heart is pure, when your heart is right, he said, you get to see the power of God in your life. When your heart's not right, when you don't have a pure heart, it limits the power of God in your life. See, and that's what God's wanting to do. Let me read it in the amplified version if you will. It says, "Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly contentment], for they will see God."

James Greer: 10:07 Listen to this. Blessed, happy, fortunate, prosperous. The process of happiness comes from the favor of God. Regardless of your outward condition, those that have a pure heart. God said, you know when your heart is right, you're going to be happy in spite of your outward conditions. Happiness and your heart go hand in hand. If you're not happy, are you ready? It's really a heart problem. It's not a personal problem. People come to me all the time and say I'm just not happy anymore. I'm just not in love anymore. You don't fall out of love. You fall out of trees. But anyway, and they really say. Always, I know that God always impresses upon my spirit what it really is.

James Greer: 10:52 It's a hardening of the heart. It's a condition of the heart because when you have a pure heart happiness, regardless of outward condition comes. You've got to have a pure heart. Your heart has to stay clean. You have to continually cleanse your heart, so how do we do that? We'll talk about just one minute and then we're going to go because we want to close on that. In 1 John 1:5 it says, if we confess our sins, you understand the hardest deceitfully wicked who can know it? We've got to ask God. I sin. You sin. We all sin. But what we don't want to do is continue to live in our sin cause us to weigh us down and cause us to become bitter and unforgiving. So we confess our sins. He's faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to what? Cleanse us. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

James Greer: 11:46 So we got to start resisting being bitter. We got to resist being unforgiving. We gotta resist living in our past hurt. Because I'm going to tell you, if you live life very long, somebody's going to hurt you. I mean, somebody is going to be mean to you. Somebody is going to fire you, somebody's gonna say something to you. Some of you have a mate that's left you. Some of you have been the one who's unfaithful. Some of them have had them have been unfaithful. Some of your kids have said things and done. Some of you said, thanks to them. Protect your heart. Let me give you a few more verses regarding your heart. First of all, I want you, I want you to know the condition of your heart greatly affects your marriage

James Greer: 12:36 In Matthew 19:8 in the New Living Translation says this: Jesus replied, Moses permitted what? Divorce. I'm going to be preaching on that pretty soon. I know my wife said, don't tell them, but I can't wait. It's just like when I told you at the first part of the message, I can't wait until the end. I had to tell you at the beginning. Hey, I'm going to be preaching pretty soon on divorce, drinking, dancing, dress and tattoos and ear piercing. Woo! Amen? But I won't tell you yet.

James Greer: 13:11 Hey, in Matthew 19:8 this is what it says: Moses permitted divorce only as a consideration of your hard heart, only as a concession because your heart has gotten hard. It was never God's who originally wanted that. It was because of the hardness of your heart.

James Greer: 13:27 So I want to stop right there and I want to give you a few insights about marriage, because see your marriage problem is not what you think. Your marriage problem is because you or your mate, or both of you, because your heart has gotten hard. It's because there's something that you've allowed to bring bitterness into your life. And so one of the first things you need to do is you need to be praying for your heart. I mean, pray for your heart. Say, God can my heart stay pure? And can it stay pure because God, can it stay soft by always forgiving, always loving, always caring in spite of what we just went through? Are you praying that your heart is right? Are you praying for your spouse's heart? Not that they agree with you, but they agree with God.

James Greer: 14:17 Have you as a couple? Listen real close. Have you agreed who the other person will listen to for counsel? There's some people I don't want my wife to listen to brother. Because I know, and I don't want their counsel out of all that bitterness and bad attitude and griping and that gossip. I don't want to listen to them. But there are some people she doesn't want me to listen to either. You want to have a good marriage, a better marriage? Pray for your heart. Pray for your spouse's heart. Pray and ask who do you think's good counsel? Who do you feel about me getting counsel from? Because the Bible said in Job 12:13, but true wisdom and the power is found in God. True wisdom comes from God. It says, true wisdom, the power found in God's counsel.

James Greer: 15:07 In Job 29:22 it says, And after I spoke, they had nothing to add and my counsel satisfied them. The right counseling can bring satisfaction in your life and in your marriage life. You've gotta listen to and you've got to agree on who you're going to listen to. You want to know who your friend, who your mate, who you're getting counsel from? They won't know who you're getting counsel from, and then you agree who we both will get counsel from. Because I'm going to tell you, if you're married very long, you're going to have tough patches in your life. Amen? I'm going to have tough patches. You're going to have tough patches, so what are you going to? I'm going to get wise counsel. First of all, the best counsel in the world is God's word, but if I have to go to somebody else, I want to go somebody that's mature, somebody that's wise, somebody that's going to get me godly counsel. Somebody was going to tell me the truth, and you do too.

James Greer: 16:00 The Bible says in Psalms 1:1, Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands within the path of a sinner or sits in the [inaudible]. In other words you better be careful who you listen. You better be careful who you walk with. You better be careful who your friends are. Delight in the Lord, it says. He delighted in the Lord and meditated on His word day and night. You be like trees planted by the rivers of water that bring forth fruit in its season, whose leaf does not wither, whatever they do prospers. The counsel brings destruction. You Ready? The right counsel will bring deliverance.

James Greer: 16:44 The condition of your heart greatly affects your marriage. Pray for your heart in your marriage. Pray for your wife's heart. Pray and say, who will we get counsel from? Who will we listen to and who will we not listen to?

James Greer: 16:59 Because in Matthew 12:35, it says, a good man comes out of the good treasure of his heart and brings forth good things.

James Greer: 17:07 Matthew 15:19 says, but those things [inaudible] out of the mouth come from the heart. Have y'all ever said things and done things that you wish you hadn't said after you said it, or is that just me? I mean sometimes it's just me, I know it. I know sometimes I say, I can't believe that just came out of my mouth. It's because the condition of my heart at that time. I mean, if I'm in a line at Walmart (which I hate to go to), and somebody beats me in the other line, I'm ticked. And then God says, well, I'm just trying to teach you patience. Oh man, that's not funny. If you drive and you're slow, don't drive in the dad gum left lane. Amen? Get over in your lane. But it's a condition of your heart. When your heart is not right, you'll do things and say things you wish you hadn't done. And the Bible says the things that come from your mouth come from your heart. They defile a man. They defile a marriage. They defile a relationship. But if you're not, listen, if they're not tended to, from out of the heart proceeds, evil thoughts.

James Greer: 18:10 Listen to me. There could be somebody that you really love. It can be your own family, can be your own mate, could be your own kids, could be your own parents because you didn't take care of your heart. You start having evil thoughts about them. I can't believe they talked to me that way. I can't believe they acted the way they did. I can't believe what's going on in their life. So your mind starts running away with you have evil thoughts because your heart's not pure. It's this. An evil heart is what led to murder. Evil Heart says what it says leads to adultery. Evil heart is what leads to fornication and [unintelligible], and false witnessing and lying and blasphemy, and it's going to defile the man or woman. Do you see why it's so important to have a pure heart? So, your heart affects your marriage. Your heart affects the joy that you have in life.

James Greer: 19:18 In Proverbs 25:15 it says, My son (and it can be ladies, men, boys) if the heart is wise, my heart shall rejoice even mine. In other words, when your heart is right, when my heart is wise, (wise by I've gotten right with God, I've got pure motives), it says, that brings happiness. Do you understand joy is greatly determined by the condition of your heart, not the condition of your circumstances? The [unintelligible] said, David, man he had been moaning. He'd done the wrong things, and he had lost his joy, he had lost his happiness.

James Greer: 19:47 In Psalms 51:10 it says, create in me a what? A clean heart. Why? Because he no longer had the joy he used to have. It says, Oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. See what happens is when your heart's not right, you start saying, hey, I don't really want to come to church anymore. I really don't get it anymore. You know, he's not preaching like he used to. You know the sound, I really don't like it. The music's not really ministering to me. The truth is in your heart.

James Greer: 20:15 Create in me God, create in Journey Church a clean heart oh God. Renew a steadfast spirit within me. See, David did this. David said, hey, you know it wasn't everybody else's fault, it's my fault oh God. Do not cast me away from your presence. Don't take your Holy Spirit from me, but instead do this. Restore to me the what? Joy. Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Salvation comes from you and uphold me by your generous spirit. Man, do you understand that the joy in your life is greatly determined by the condition of your heart? Your heart effects your joy.

James Greer: 20:48 Proverbs 15:13 tells you a merry heart makes a cheerful countenance. See Joy is greatly determined by the condition of your heart, not your circumstances and not your situations. What do we have to protect our heart from?

James Greer: 21:19 This is where it comes in. You ready? Ephesians 4:31 says let all bitterness (man when I talk about bitterness), resentment, hatred...

James Greer: 21:23 I saw a guy the other day, true story, and I hadn't seen him in about two or three years seen them about two, three years, which would be just great if I didn't see him for another 10 years. But anyway, I hadn't seen him in a long time and so I thought our hearts are right. I went to him one time and I said, "Man, whatever happened, I want you to know I want you to forgive me. I love you." Dah, Dah. I don't want to hang out with you, but let's just go forward. And so I'm getting my oil changed and I see this dude over there. I said, I'm going to go over there and hug him. I went over there and stuck my hand out, and he turned around with other way. I just started laughing to myself.

James Greer: 21:57 Before, that would have got me all upset and I would have cussed him out. No, no, not this time because I'd put it away. The bitterness that I had before, the resentment that I used to have, the rage that I had, the anger that I had. And I'm going to tell you, if you've got bitterness in your mind, if your heart is not right, you're missing your joy. You're messing up your marriage, you're messing up the whole condition of your heart. Put it away. Wrath and anger and clamor which is pouting, evil speaking, be put away from you with all malice. Don't feel have ill will towards anybody for any reason. When you have bitterness, when you stay upset, when your hatred starts coming in, and even if even if they did something they shouldn't have done, it doesn't hurt them. It hurts me. It hurts you. Amen? So learn to be kind one to another, tender hearted. What kind of heart does God want us to have? A tender heart, forgiving one another because you're going to need forgiveness and they're going to need forgiveness even as Christ forgave us. Amen.

James Greer: 23:06 Hebrews goes on and says you better look carefully. Lest anyone falls short of the grace of God. The grace of God gives us the power and presence to do what God called us to do and to do it with joy, less any root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble. I'm telling you, when your heart is not right, you're inviting trouble into your own life. One of the words for trouble there is torment. You begin to torment yourself over what somebody else did. You begin to torment yourself about something you shouldn't have done. You start having resentment. You start to have hatred.

James Greer: 23:46 In fact, in Revelation 8:11 it says, and [unintelligible] star was bitterness. Bitterness. They said it made one-third of the water bitter in the world, and many people died from drinking the water. What it's a picture of is bitterness destroys you. Bitterness destroys your marriage. So what do we do? We ask for forgiveness and we give forgiveness. Unforgiveness (we're getting ready to close), leads to hatred, gossip, jealousy, a hard heart, wishing evil on other people, a wrong anger, a bad attitude, pouting simply being mean. Don't y'all know people are just mean? I mean they're just mean. They have resentment. They have hatred. It destroys your marriage. It destroys your joy. It destroys every condition of your heart.

James Greer: 24:37 So as we close, I told you what we got to do. Ephesians one, I mean 1 John 1:9 says if you'll confess your sin and your bitterness and your hatred and resentment. God, he's faithful. He's just, he's going forgives all our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And when we do that, it's kind of like what Ezekiel says, and I'm going to give them one heart..

James Greer: 25:06 I'm going to put a new spirit within them and I'm going to take their stony heart out. Some of y'all came today, and if the truth was known you have a stony heart. You've been hard hearted about something that happened in the past and you've never dealt with it. Now you've brought it into the future and there's baggage in your marriage and your relationship. He said you had a stony heart. He said I'm going to give you a heart of flesh. I'm going to give you a new heart. I'm going to give you a soft heart.

James Greer: 25:38 But as you stand and I get ready to pray with you and pray for you, if you'll stand up me and Journey Church I'm praying that you go home today with a new heart. I'm praying right now that you begin to ask God, where has your heart gotten hard? What resentment do you have in your heart? How can you come and how can you confess it today?

James Greer: 26:04 Father, uh, I love you, but I love your word, God. I thank you that you can take hard hearts and make them soft, and make them tender and make them pure. God, that's what I want from my life. I want that for my family. God, part of my family is Journey Church. I want it for them. God I pray today that nobody, nobody leaves here today with a hard heart. I know the heart is deceitfully wicked God, but you know, if they came and you came today and you just don't have the joy you should have. You know if you're having continued problems on the job, you're not where you should be. You know about the marriage problems, and you said all these other conditions, but no, no. The condition is you and your heart. And today you're going to come and you're gonna say God, please, please I want to have a soft heart. I want to have a pure heart. I want to be able to see God working in my life. God, that's my prayer. It's in Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360