Sunday, August 16, 2009


My calendar for the month of August is filled up with doctors’ appointments, tests, labwork and all that “fun” stuff. Yuck! I have never been someone who runs to the doctor much, especially for myself, so all this attention focused on me and my health does not make me a happy camper. I guess it comes with the territory when one starts to get older and I’d better get used to it, because it probably won’t get much better.
Apparently my stress test a couple weeks ago sent up a little red flag that there might be something to look at further, so the doctor sent me to get a 2-D EKG this week. It turns out that a 2-D EKG is nothing more than an ultrasound of the heart, just like an ultrasound a pregnant woman would have of her baby. It was interesting to watch my heart just pumping away throughout the test. The technician who did it was somewhat chatty. He talked about the test, my surgeon, other surgeons, and so on. Finally he said something that really caught my attention.
“I see your heart is in the right place.”
“Uh – excuse me?”
“Your heart hasn’t moved. It’s right where it should be.” He went on to explain, “A lot of times when a person has heart surgery like you did, his or her heart will shift a bit. Many times it tips downward slightly, but your heart is in the right place.”
I thought that was very interesting, and whoo-hoo – at least my heart is where it’s supposed to be, if nothing else!
His words came back to me a few days later. It’s a good thing when your heart is in the right place physically, but to tell the truth, I had never imagined it would not be in the right place! The fact that we can now do an ultrasound on the heart and see things like that is amazing, isn’t it?
It’s too bad we can’t run a test on our hearts and see if our hearts are in the right place spiritually, as well. I think those of us who have been saved for many years become complacent sometimes and figure that since we were born again, our hearts were cleansed and Christ dwells within, and we are just fine. We may feel fine, we may look fine to those around us, but God, who looks upon the heart, like that ultrasound machine, may detect that all is not well; that something has shifted.
We may walk around with plaque slowly building up in our arteries over the years, and have no idea that we have heart disease until one day – wham! We’re hit with a heart attack. In the same manner, many of us go for years, living the Christian life, serving the Lord even, and not realizing that over time something has changed. We don’t have quite the same fervency and zeal that we had when we were first saved. Our values have become a little looser compared to what they once were, our standards perhaps a little lower. What once we would never have been caught dead reading or watching or doing, now has little impact because we have become accustomed to it, maybe even hardened to it. We are not looking for Christ’s return with the same eager expectancy we once had; we’re a little lazy when it comes to doing what we know we ought to be doing. We realize that some things in our lives have become more important to us than they should be, but we shrug our shoulders and go on the way we have for years. We neglect prayer and time in the Word of God.
When was the last time our hearts had a true revival and became on fire for the Lord? When was the last time we broken-heartedly confessed to the Lord that we had let sin stand between us and Him? When was the last time we wept for the unsaved around us and then actually reached out to them with God’s plan for salvation? Something has shifted. Plaque is building up and we have heart disease.
The Bible has a huge amount to say about the heart, and we can only touch upon a few verses right now, but first of all, it tells us that there is no hiding our true heart condition from the Lord. We may fool others; we may even have ourselves fooled, but I Samuel 16:7 tells us, “the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” He is the EKG, the ultrasound, the CAT scan of our spiritual heart condition with one difference—He doesn’t miss a thing. Those machines may not catch a small problem, but God sees it all.
Several things happened to our hearts at the moment we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. First of all, our hearts believed. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10) Our hearts were no longer blinded to the truth then but became enlightened. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (II Corinthians 4:6) Jesus came into our hearts and dwells in us once we trust in Him. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;” (Ephesians 3:17) Our hearts are established blameless before God. “To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” (I Thessalonians 3:13)
Although our hearts are established for eternity blameless before God through the blood of Christ, we still sin and we still need daily cleansing from our sins if we truly want to walk and fellowship with Him. David, who God Himself said was a man after His own heart, sinned and needed to repent. In Psalm 51:10 David says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” He went on to say in verse 17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Because David humbled his heart, the Lord heard him and fellowship was restored. II Kings 22:19 says, “Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD…I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.” Our humble prayers and hiding God’s Word in our hearts are essential to healthy hearts before the Lord. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)

The Lord shares the characteristics of a healthy heart in His Word. A healthy heart spiritually is one that is:

Pure “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
Soft“Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.“ (Hebrews 4:7)
True“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)
Obedient“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” (Romans 6:17) “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8)
Trusting“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.” (Psalm 112:7)
Devoted“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” (Mark 12:30) “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.” (Psalm 119:2) “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:10)
Wise and Understanding“My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.” (Psalm 90:12) “So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding.” (Proverbs 2:2)
Receptive“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God…But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:11, 15)
Generous“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (II Corinthians 9:7)
Loving“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” (I Peter 1:22) “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:5)
Expectant“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” (II Thessalonians 3:5) “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” (James 5:8)
United“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” (Acts 4:32)

When our hearts are in the right place, we will reap the benefits. Once I recovered from my heart surgery, it was wonderful how much stronger and better I felt compared to how I was feeling when my heart was trying to work with all those blockages. Some of the benefits of a healthy heart spiritually are:

Peace“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)
Joy“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7)
Praise“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:19)
Strength and Courage“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)

No matter how long we have been saved, no matter how spiritually “mature” we are, no matter how active we are for the Lord, we need to stop and do a heart check. Do I have the characteristics of a healthy heart? Am I reaping the benefits of a healthy heart? Is there something coming between my heart and the Lord? Has my heart for the Lord slowed down over time?

Is my heart in the right place?

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