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Keep your heart with all diligence,

For out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:33-37).

If we keep or guard our hearts, everything that comes out of our hearts will be blessed. It is the source of life. This metaphor of the heart as a stream combined with the metaphor of trees to describe people, shows us that what flows out of us or what we produce results in good or bad actions. People are to be judged by the fruit of their lives. Giftedness is not as important to God as the character of a person. It is personal behavior which stems from a relationship with God that matters to God. It is Christlike behavior that matters to God. He can increase our gifts at any time, but we have to align our character with His word. 

Jesus called the Pharisees a brood of vipers because the flow or produce of their hearts was bad. Their words revealed what they believed in their hearts. What’s in our heart comes out. If we stop and study our own vocabulary, we will see what needs to change. In our words is the revelation of how our hearts are doing—the streams of our lives.

Our problems are not external. We see an external response, but the real issues are inside of us. When God starts to change us, to equip us to be curse breakers in the lives of others, He will allow rude or spiteful behavior to show itself so we can see our hearts issues. The sin that needs to be removed is exposed, cleansing our heart-stream.