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Jesus spoke much about our hearts. He said that actions stem from the overflow of our hearts. (Matt 15:18-19) and reminded us that the greatet commandment involves loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. (Matt 22:37) We are told in Scripture to guard our hearts for life springs from that source (Prov 4:23). What we ponder and desire in our hearts and minds has tremendous influence on us.

So often we are led by our dreads and our desires. What we dread will vary from one person to another, but is usually something negative, something destructive. Dread can be a cold, paralysing force within which ties us up in knots, robbing us of peace and hope. Interestingly enough, all the calamaties which happened to Job – bereavement, loss of finances and goods, personal illness and so on – were summed up in the phrase ‘what I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” (Job 3:25) Looking from the outside, we wonder at the dread and fears Job must have experienced even before tragedy hit; dread is not confined to the poor and needy.

The other fuel for our lives is our desires. What we imagine, long for and earnestly desire has the power to motivate and move us. It’s desire that keeps us saving for a coveted item or keeps us pursuing a particular goal. We can’t persevere in something that is of not interest to us.

Prov 10:24 tells us ‘what the wicked dread will overtake them; what the righteous desire will be granted.’ This may seem to us an over-simplified generalisation (we know plenty of wicked people who currently seem to be prospering and plenty of righteous people whose desires seem yet to be fulfilled), but the principle reminds us there are two ways of thinking. We can either fix our minds and hearts on right desires or we can live in numbing dread, pondering disaster after disaster until we are paranoid. There is no grace to be found in hypothetical dreads! As people, also, we realise we fall into one of two categories: ‘the wicked’ or ‘the righteous‘. Our thoughts and actions reflect who we are. Let’s be led by God and fix our hearts, minds and thoughts on Christ. (Col 3:1-2)