#86 "Heart Trouble"
March 6, 2007
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139: 23-24)
Last week we had a little scare. We were told that tests done on Chuck showed "coronary artery disease". When all was said and done and we had seen the cardiologist, we were relieved and praising God that the blockage they saw was minimal and could be treated with diet, aspirin and some life style changes. The funny thing was that Chuck has never had a symptom of any kind that would indicate a "heart problem". The issue was found after he took a stress test and a cardiac scan.
Not ever wanting to waste a life experience that God has allowed to come my way, I began to think about hearts...spiritual "hearts", that is. Our spiritual heart is not an organ. It is our inner man. It holds the mind, the will and the soul. It is the inner part of us; in the midst of ourselves. The heart encompasses the mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection and memory. It causes our inclinations, resolutions, and determines our will. We have a conscience in our heart...a heart of moral character if you will. It is the seat of appetites and the seat of emotions and passions and courage. There are 252 occurrences of this Hebrew word, translated "heart" in the Old Testament Hebrew. [Strong's Number: 03824] It sounds to me like this thing called "my heart" is pretty vital. No wonder Proverbs 4: 23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Just as the physical heart is the most vital organ to keep the body alive, the spiritual heart is the source of being alive spiritually. The Message says, " Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts." It governs what we say, what we choose to look at and what we do. Out of your heart proceed your actions. Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Luke 6: 45)
What's in your heart? In Psalm 139, David is asking God to search him and know his heart. He wants to be thoroughly investigated. He's saying, "God, find out everything about me. Cross examine me and test me. What am I about?" David wants a total heart scan done by none other than the Great Physician Himself. Do you have the guts to ask God to do that kind of total, thorough examination of your heart? Just as vital as it is to have a yearly checkup of our physical heart....it is vital to submit to the total scan of our spiritual hearts.
This scan can only be done by looking into the Word of God. Hebrews 4: 12 says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Want to know the condition of your heart? Search the Word. It is like a spotlight aimed at every corner of your heart, exposing the good, the bad and the ugly. "We do not know ourselves. We do not even know how to distinguish, by feelings or rationale, between that which comes from our souls (psyche) and from our spirits (pneumas). Even our bodily functions (symbolized here by joints and marrow) are beyond our full knowledge. Only the all-seeing eye of God knows us thoroughly and totally, and before Him we will stand and ultimately give account. (The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Hebrews. Ray C. Stedman)
When we let the Word of God open our inner life like a sharp sword, all of our thoughts, motives and sins are out in the open. We are exposed for who we truly are on the inside. We may be leaves on a fig tree with no corresponding fruit, as my pastor so eloquently put it this Sunday. We may be "whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean", as Jesus put it. And just like Chuck did not even know that there was anything wrong...you may not know the extent of the disease of your spiritual heart until the light of the Divine Scan reveals the problem. Joel 2: 13 says, "Rend your hearts, not your garments." Don't keep doing the outward things. To rend means to tear open. Tear open your heart, do the inner work not the outward show. Tear it open before your God and humbly ask Him for His forgiveness.
God did not save you and give you the newness of being reborn for you to be selfish and bask in the glow of your escape from the fires of hell. You have been carefully chosen and adopted. You have a purpose. You are sanctified and born again for the purposes and work of the Kingdom of the One who by His grace saved you. You've got work to do, my beloved. A commission from the King to fulfill. One day you will hear Him say "Well done, my good and faithful servant." And just as your commission and your purpose are unique so are the anomalies of your heart. Don't look for the Word to reveal everyone else's problems. Let God reveal yours.
Lay open your heart before Him. Submit yourself to His examination through His Word. Every artery, every chamber, every valve and every muscle. Let the light of His Word scan reveal the disease hidden in every corner of your heart. It may be minor and require a few changes in lifestyle. It may be major and require open heart surgery. But it literally could save your life. Lay your life down on the examination table of God and submit to His scan. Listen to the results and act on His instruction.
Pray God's Word with me:::
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts, See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139: 23-24) "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast, right spirit within me." (Psalm 51: 10)
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