The general theme for the month of February is usually “love”. Everywhere we go is the color red, cupids and hearts, lots of hearts. We always associate hearts with love, especially around this time of year.
I began to think of some other ways we use our hearts that are not necessarily about love. That’s when I came across a verse in Daniel.
I love reading about Daniel. He was a great man, who was known for his convictions, his discipline, and his good attitude in spite of tragedy.
Daniel 1:8a – “But Daniel purposed in his heart…”
Purposed means to intend or resolve to perform or accomplish. In everyday terms, we would say that he “put his mind to it”. I would go a step further and say Daniel “put his heart to it”. When we are sharing the gospel with someone and ask them if they would like to accept the free gift of salvation, we talk to them about not just saying words with their mouths, but meaning them in their hearts. I think this idea of purposing in your heart goes along the same line. You can say you are going to do something. You can determine with your mind that you are going to do something. But I think that you truly resolve to do something to the point of accomplishment when you purpose it in your heart.
In this particular passage, Daniel is in captivity and is being told to eat and drink things that would be unlawful for him as a Jew to consume. So, he determined that he would not defile his body, nor break the law which God had set for them. This would be a tough decision for anyone, but possibly even more so for such a young man; however, Daniel knew that because he was purposing to do right, that God would be with him and strengthen him no matter the consequence. Like I said, he was known for his convictions. Such a great example to us all!
We purpose things in our heart every day. The key is to make sure that we are purposing the right things. Our hearts can be used for wickedness as much as they can be used for righteousness. Purposing our hearts for righteousness begins with knowing that our hearts belong to God. If you have received Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, then you have the Holy Spirit of God living inside of you. He is the one that helps with purposing your heart for right. If you have never done this, I or someone else at Grace Baptist Church would love to share with you exactly how you can. It is the most important thing that you will ever purpose in your heart.
After our hearts belong to God, what are some other things we can purpose to do with it? Living for God is one very important thing. This is not something that is done accidentally. It is done intentionally. And it is not always easy. But just like Daniel, if we purpose in our hearts to live for God because we know it is what we are supposed to do, God will be there to strengthen us when it gets tough.
We can also purpose to praise God with our heart. Several times in Psalms, David says “I will praise the Lord with my whole heart”. That is most definitely purposed. It is not always easy to praise God, especially when we are going through a difficult time. In Psalms 42:5, David says “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” The key is remembering how helpful and uplifting praise is to your heart and your soul. David seemed to never forget this. He purposed in his heart to praise God through the good and the bad, as should we.
I encourage you to purpose your heart for good and for God every day!