Friday, July 28, 2006

Heart: Part I

Who Has Your Heart?
The heart has four chambers and pumps blood throughout our physical bodies. Each day, the average heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood. There’s another kind of heart—our spiritual hearts. They’re nothing pretty to look at. God said in Genesis, “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” There’s an absolute statement in that verse: “Every inclination of his heart is evil.”

In the chapter of Practical Christianity titled “Heart Work,” Arthur W. Pink uses the verse from Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence.” I found the “Heart Work” section of Pink’s book helpful, especially in light of the idea that the heart is the wellspring of life.

The dictionary defines wellspring as, “a source, an abundant source.” One might say the heart is the source of life. In Practical Christianity, Pink writes, “If our heart be the residence of impiety, pride, avarice, malice, impure lusts, then the whole current of our lives will largely be tainted with these vices.” Although Pink’s comments on this topic are extensive, I find three points I think best summarize his discussion. The heart must be tended. The heart must be conformed to God. The heart must be protected.

The Heart Must be Tended
Like a garden, the heart requires continual work. Sin must be rooted out, encouragement watered on, and nourishment from God’s word applied. Imagine a garden planted on the edge of a forest, overgrown with brambles, weeds, and the entangling roots of the buttercup. The surrounding environment is not conducive to healthy growth. More than likely, the garden will become overwhelmed and taken over by weeds. A while ago I quit a weekly social visit to the newspaper office I worked for, because I found that the ensuing conversation had a negative impact on my soul. Although I feel secure in my knowledge of the truth, the very environment caused my thoughts to be angry, resentful, and sinful.

Examine your heart. What sin needs to be exposed and destroyed? Each day, meditation on God’s word and prayer are essential. Often I do truly hunger for God’s word, wanting something more than this world can offer, needing more than lies, platitudes, and relativity. I need truth. Like a deer pants for water, so my soul pants for God. In my own life, I find that when I’m careless or sloppy about communing with God, my spiritual well being suffers. I require constant help from God to feel loved, to feel cheerful, and to remember God’s truth.

In the Old Testament, one can see the Israelites constantly falling away. They required constant reminder of God, what He expected from them, and what He had done for them. As a child I found myself scornful of the Israelites frail moral character, but now I empathize with their plight. I believe one of the reasons the Israelites occupy a large portion of the Bible is to remind us of our tendency to be forgetful.

To be continued...


Wholesome Works said...

Excellent post!

"...when I’m careless or sloppy about communing with God, my spiritual well being suffers. I require constant help from God to feel loved, to feel cheerful, and to remember God’s truth."

That is very true. Many times I wonder how non-Christian make it in this world. The evening news all too often reminds me that they really don't.

Looking forward to your next posts. :)

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

Great post! I liked the analogy of the garden planted by a wild forest. It reminds my family's garden. The grass from the yard likes to gradually take back the garden area inch by inch. Just like the sin in our hearts the grass needs to be weeded out before it takes a firmer grasp and completely takes over!