Attitudes of heart that God absolutely despises are not a secret - he does everything in our power to let us know what to watch out for in our own lives and the lives of others. This morning, we will examine the heart that hatches evil plots. It is important to remember that scripture refers to the "heart" a lot - if there is repeated focus on anything in scripture, we are supposed to pay attention to what God says about it. We may not realize that this is really the seat of our emotions, the center of our personality and temperament - so no wonder God spends so much time trying to help us understand it. The part of us that is driven or controlled by emotional response is often the main thing that gets us into trouble - not that there was a temptation right there in our path! When emotions are out of control, we might just offer up a short prayer of quick deliverance so they will 'settle down', but there are other times when we simply allow them to spin on and on.
Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion: eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
It is pretty safe to say that most of us (maybe even all of us) have had evil plots in mind at one time or another. Just remember this - you are not in this boat alone! We ALL go down 'thought paths' that we weren't supposed to travel, my friends. The thing God hates is the "hatching" of those thought plots - in other words, bring to fruition what has been preconceived in our minds. These plots, as they are called, are really pretty well thought out plans devised with the intention of hurting or harming another - seeing them fail, or even just stumble a little. Unfortunately, most of us would not cop a plea of "guilty" to this one. In fact, we'd probably say that we don't really think this one deserves much attention from us, but I want to challenge that 'plea' because I think we might just engage in this behavior a little more than we first realize.
God wants us to learn to live without needing to be the center of attention in our own eyes and in the eyes of others. There is danger in looking down our noses at others and God wants to keep us from that place of destructive judgmental attitude. Why? Because he knows it can lead to a whole lot of other destructive behaviors, such as a lying tongue and the actions of smothering the character of another! These seven things God is exposing to us in this passage build one upon the other. If we begin by laying a foundation correctly, the building that occurs on that foundation is solid. If the foundation is incorrectly structured, the building fails to meet the intended form and it will soon show signs of being 'structurally unsound'. So it is with our Christian character - start right, allowing God to work on our pride first, and we will begin to see our character take the form he desires.
When we are given to a prideful outlook on life, it is easy to "hatch evil plots" in our heart. The judgmental attitude that comes when we have a problem with pride is one that wants self to look good at ANY expense, even if it means we use methods that are not quite so respectable. Evil is really not understood well today. In fact, when you look up the word "evil" you will find that the first definition is something that is morally wrong or bad. God is reminding us that when our heart attitude is not aligned with him at the center, we make wrong choices and those choices will lead to our destruction. As we begin today, let's ask God to reveal our heart intentions. Are they bent on destructive behavior? If so, then it is definitely an opportunity for God to begin to show us how we can build again the foundations that will give us a solid character foundation that leads to morally right choices. Just sayin!