Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash
Squeeze an orange.
You don’t need to try it to know what comes out.
Place apples in a press.
Similarly, when pressed by circumstances, squeezed by accusations, pushed by complaints and questions, what comes out of you?
Simple - what’s on the inside comes out.
If your heart is full of self, you’ll defend it. If it’s laced with greed, you’ll hoard it, protect it. If your heart is stained with bitterness and malice, you’ll spread it.
You’ve heard the expression, “you are what you eat.” That is nutritional truth. Your body will be about as healthy and vibrant as the food you feed it. The same is true when it comes to your inside – your character. You are what you think. The wise man said, “as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 2:7 NKJV What you think about, what fills your mind, matters. It is forming who you are, how you act, what you say, . . . what comes out when you’re squeezed.
I remember an pressing, squeezing occasion. Someone thought my words and influence were more negative than positive. It was a gentle, well-meaning rebuke. I was squeezed.
Unfortunately, what came out was not sweet. There was a measure of sarcasm, a bit of vengeance, some placating, and, along with bitterness, a dose of avoidance. Instead of a listening ear, a sympathetic gesture, an understanding word, an accepting spirit, a kind and loving nature, I spewed self-protection.
It was not my best day, but the occasion gave me pause to consider. Where is my heart? What’s happening inside that brings this reaction outwardly?
Proverbs admonishes us: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4: 23 NIV Heart work is “above all else,” of first importance. Heart work takes precedence. If the inside is healthy, the outside will be descent, even loving. For that to happen, you must “guard your heart.” Protect it from malice and unhelpful thoughts and ideas. Monitor what goes in, evaluate what’s there, and expel the false, damaging, destructive. Why? Because “everything you do flows from it.” Everything outside comes from inside. What happens in the heart is primary.
Being squeezed is part of life. The juice that emerges, however, is a matter of the heart. God alone, by His Spirit, can direct and empower that work. I’m asking Him to help me make mine good.
Would you join me in making good juice?
by Pastor Jeff Kinne