How can we determine what we have treasured up in our heart? Jesus said: “A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, but a wicked man brings forth what is wicked out of his wicked treasure; for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) What we usually talk about is a good indication of what our heart is set on. Do we often talk about material things and secular achievements? Or do our conversations frequently center on spiritual things and theocratic goals? Rather than advertising the mistakes of others, are we lovingly inclined to cover them over? (Proverbs 10:11, 12) Do we tend to talk a great deal about people and the goings-on in their lives but little about principles and ideas? Could this be a signal that we are taking undue interest in other people’s personal affairs?—1 Peter 4:15.
Consider what happened in one large family. Jacob’s ten oldest sons “were not able to speak peacefully” to their younger brother Joseph. Why? They were jealous because he was their father’s favorite son. Later when Joseph was blessed with dreams from God, proving that he had Jehovah’s favor, they found “further reason to hate him.” (Genesis 37:4, 5, 11) Cruelly, they sold their brother into slavery. Then, in an attempt to cover up their wrongdoing, they deceived their father into thinking that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. Ten of Joseph’s brothers failed to safeguard their heart on that occasion. If we are quick to be critical of others, could that be an evidence of envy or jealousy in our heart? We need to be vigilant to examine what comes out of our mouth and be quick to root out improper inclinations.
Though “it is impossible for God to lie,” imperfect humans are prone to lie. (Hebrews 6:18) “Every man is a liar,” lamented the psalmist. (Psalm 116:11) Even the apostle Peter lyingly denied Jesus three times. (Matthew 26:69-75) Clearly, we must be careful to avoid lies, for Jehovah hates “a false tongue.” (Proverbs 6:16-19) If we were ever to succumb to telling a lie, it would be good to analyze the cause. Was it because of fear of man? Was fear of punishment the reason? Perhaps saving face or outright selfishness was at the root of the problem? Whatever the case, how appropriate that we reflect on the matter, humbly admit our shortcoming, and beg Jehovah’s forgiveness, seeking his help in overcoming the weakness! “The older men of the congregation” may be the best ones to provide that help.—James 5:14.
In response to young King Solomon’s request for wisdom and knowledge, Jehovah said: “For the reason that this has proved to be close to your heart and you have not asked for wealth, riches and honor . . . , the wisdom and the knowledge are being given you; also wealth and riches and honor I shall give you.” (2 Chronicles 1:11, 12) From what Solomon asked for and did not ask for, Jehovah knew what was close to Solomon’s heart. What do our communications with God reveal about our heart? Do our prayers disclose our thirst for knowledge, wisdom, and discernment? (Proverbs 2:1-6; Matthew 5:3) Are Kingdom interests close to our heart? (Matthew 6:9, 10) If our prayers have become mechanical and perfunctory, this could be an indication of the need to take time to meditate on Jehovah’s deeds. (Psalm 103:2) All Christians ought to be alert to discern what their prayers reveal.