First Things @ First

A few days ago, I was reminded of the need to check filters. Filters are designed to trap dirt before costly damage occurs. Clean filters provide greater efficiency and dependability in whatever the filter is serving. A home filter captures harmful dust or allergens. A gasoline or oil filter prevents harmful contaminants from shortening the life of the engine. A water filter traps contaminants that might prove harmful to the body. A heart filter protects against harmful human traits and tendencies that hinder the purpose of God's calling on a person's soul.

In a culture where products are purchased according to favorable reviews, might I remind those who read this that throughout history the heart filter with the absolute performance record and value is the Word of God. "How shall a person cleanse their way? By taking heed unto the Word of God."

Psalm 119:9 The evidence that the proper heart filter is being used is seen in the behavior of believers. Unbelievers have no use for this important heart filter because they do not see any worth in it. Even those who have believed the Word of God may by-pass this filter as well and their lives soon reveal the contaminants of sin. Those who choose to by-pass the heart filter more frequently make decisions based on what they like. Those decisions are sourced in the desires of the flesh, (the natural tendencies of mankind that remain a consequence of sin), first seen in Genesis 3. A person who lives life without the consistent use of a heart filter will think what they like, say what they like and do what they like. Their desires are driven by the flesh, not the Spirit. On the other hand, a person who lives life with a heart filter in place will make decisions based on who they love, not what they like. Because of their love for God, serving God is the outflow of their devotion to Him. Consequently, serving others becomes the outflow of their love for human beings. When Jesus, by invitation becomes Lord and Savior, He moves into the soul of the believer in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He does not move in to give advice; He moves in to advance the purpose of God in the believer's strategic circle of influence. Because of one's love of God for saving their soul from the death of sin, those who believe God will recognize His purpose of living holy lives because Christ has become their personal priority. Holiness is revealed as the believer opens their heart to the Word of God with oversight from the indwelling Holy Spirit. As God's heart filter traps unwanted contaminants that hinder our soul's development, then our lives become more productive in service to God and others are blessed. At some point soon, take some time and check your filters. Home, auto, water. Don't forget the heart filter. Have they been checked recently? Are they being ignored because of lack of concern or care? If so, they will not work efficiently. Regarding the heart filter, you can tell rather quickly by a simple inventory of recent decisions. Are your most recent decisions based on what you like to think, what you would like to say or what you would like to do? Or, are your most recent decisions based on Who loves you, who you love and your love for others. Again, who is in the center of those desires and decisions? When it is Christ, His Word and His Spirit will consistently 'trap' the contaminants in your language, your life, leaving a legacy of holiness to the Lord. It is not an alternative way to live. It is and remains the only way to live if you want your life to count for something that will serve you and others well with the passing of time. "How shall a young man cleanse his way? By obeying the Word of God." Psalm 119:9 For a clean and consecrated life in 2021, don't forget to check your filters! If you don't have one, get one soon. Everyone around you will benefit. Should you find a convenient by-pass open in the line of your life, allow the Lord to help you close it. You will discover that your life will flow more efficiently as you follow His Word. Be encouraged, Pstr K Psalm 27:1