Posts Tagged ‘heart’
In preparing to preach, I came across this little snippet by Francis Davison, part of a longer treatment of Psalm 86:
In knotts, to be loosed never,
Knitt my heart to thee for ever,
That I to thy name may beare
Fearfull love and loving feare.
Here is a sentiment that should more often rise from our too readily divided hearts.
What are some of the signs of heart trouble for the professing saint?
Several come quickly to mind.
The first is drifting from a position of fervent love for the Savior. . . .
A second sign is a loss of appetite for God’s Word. . . .
A third sign to highlight is a growing disinclination to fellowship with God’s people. . . .
A fourth sign of a heart in trouble is a sense of ease with sin. . . .
A fifth sign of spiritual heart disease is a heart that is fixed on earthly joys and pleasures above heavenly. . . .
A sixth and final sign that I would highlight is a cool indifference to the eternal sate of the unbelievers around us. . . .
Read an explanation of the problems over at Main Things and then heed the counsel:
Take your heart to the Great Cardiologist, discuss your symptoms with Him honestly and fully. He has all the remedy you need!
. . . one of the consequences of the internet-trained brain seems to be an inability to hide very much – not much of the Word of God, to be sure – in our hearts. That results in a crippling weakness in the battle for godliness.
Yours truly offers some thoughts on hiding God’s word in our hearts at Reformation21.
Q.1. What is the heart?
A. The heart is the central core and drive of my life intellectually (it involves my mind), affectionately (it shapes my soul), and totally (it provides the energy for my living).
Q.2. Is my heart healthy?
A. No. By nature I have a diseased heart. From birth, my heart is deformed and antagonistic to God. The intentions of its thoughts are evil continually.
Q.3. Can my diseased heart be healed?
A. Yes. God, in His grace, can give me a new heart to love Him and to desire to serve Him.
Q.4. How does God do this?
A. God does this through the work of the Lord Jesus for me and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in me. He illumines my mind through the truth of the gospel, frees my enslaved will from its bondage to sin, cleanses my affections by His grace, and motivates me inwardly to live for Him by rewriting His law into my heart so that I begin to love what He loves. The Bible calls this being “born from above.”
Q.5. Does this mean I will never sin again?
A. No. I will continue to struggle with sin until I am glorified. God has given me a new heart, but for the moment He wants me to keep living in a fallen world. So day by day I face the pressures to sin that come from the world, the flesh, and the Devil. But God’s Word promises that over all these enemies I can be “more than a conqueror through him who loved us.”
Q.6. What four things does God counsel me to do so that my heart may be kept for Him?
A. First, I must guard my heart as if everything depended on it. This means that I should keep my heart like a sanctuary for the presence of the Lord Jesus and allow nothing and no one else to enter.
Second, I must keep my heart healthy by proper diet, growing strong on a regular diet of God’s Word — reading it for myself, meditating on its truth, but especially being fed on it in the preaching of the Word. I also will remember that my heart has eyes as well as ears. The Spirit shows me baptism as a sign that I bear God’s triune name, while the Lord’s Supper stimulates heart love for the Lord Jesus.
Third, I must take regular spiritual exercise, since my heart will be strengthened by worship when my whole being is given over to God in expressions of love for and trust in Him.
Fourth, I must give myself to prayer in which my heart holds on to the promises of God, rests in His will, and asks for His sustaining grace — and do this not only on my own but with others so that we may encourage one another to maintain a heart for God.
So says Sinclair Ferguson. Read it all to see the context.
These are fearful words to most of us, and rightly so. To be told that you have heart disease is to be told of a fundamental threat to life. Sometimes the only options are radical surgery and a complete revolution in our lifestyle. Most of us – were we or one of our family members in such a position – would be very quick to do whatever was necessary to put the situation right. After all, our life would be on the line.
But there is a yet more terrible heart disease which we are often all too ready to ignore, but which kills us all. Even as you read, you are suffering from this heart disease, and you need to know the symptoms, diagnosis and cure.
Its symptoms are very evident. Are you self-centred? Are you envious of what others have? Do you lie and cheat? Do you curse and blaspheme? Do you get drunk? Have you ever stolen? Do you want or have you had a sexual relationship with someone who is not your husband or wife? Are you often angry? Do you hate someone? Do you never go to worship God? Do you ignore Sunday, God’s day, and do whatever you like? Do you think nothing of Jesus Christ? Are you disobedient to your parents? If any or all of the above symptoms are present, then you suffer from this heart disease
The diagnosis is equally plain. “From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark’s Gospel, chapter 7, verses 21-23). In other words, you have a sinful heart that is contrary to God and his law, and for which you deserve to be condemned and punished. In one sense, you are already dead: dead in trespasses and sins.
Critically, then, is there a cure? Yes! God has provided a means to be healed from this most terrible disease of sin, but it requires radical surgery and a complete revolution in lifestyle. In Psalm 51, verse 10, we find a man with a sinful heart crying out to God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Only this can save you from your sins. You need a new, clean heart from God, and you need to depart utterly from all your sinful ways.
Consider what is at stake: with your terrible heart disease of sin, you have only misery and condemnation to come. Get a new heart from God: he is rich in mercy to make men who are dead because of sin alive together with Christ. Come, then, to Jesus Christ, and you shall have everlasting life.
Your task [as a preacher] is not to send people away from church saying, ‘That was a lovely sermon’ or ‘What an eloquent appeal!’ The one question is: Did they, or did they not, meet God today?
There will always be some who have no desire for that, some who rather than be confronted with the living Christ would actually prefer what G. K. Chesterton described as ‘one solid and polished cataract of platitudes flowing forever and ever.’ But when St. Peter finished his first great sermon in Jerusalem, reported in the book of Acts, I do not read that ‘when they heard this, they were intrigued by his eloquence’ . . . or ‘bored and impassive and contemptuous’; what I do read is, ‘When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart.’
The heart of man has a whole armor of escapist devices to hold off the danger when reality comes too near. But I would remind you that Peter’s theme that day – Jesus crucified and risen – is your basic message still, still as dynamic, as ‘mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,’ as moving and heart-piercing as when men heard it preached in Jerusalem long ago.
James S. Stewart, Heralds of God (New York, 1946), p31-32.
HT Ray Ortlund.
Come, merciful and mighty God,
And break these hearts of stone:
Your word the heavenly instrument,
The power yours alone.
These stubborn wills conform to yours;
To feeble minds give light;
Put fire into these empty hearts;
Exert your gracious might.
Give life where death is ruling now:
Prove Jesus Satan’s bane!
Break every chain, throw wide the door,
Let glorious freedom reign.
May Christ be Lord of every life,
And King of every heart;
Break sin’s dominion; cleanse, renew,
And righteousness impart.
Come, merciful and mighty God,
We look to you alone;
Exert your power: give hearts of flesh
In place of hearts of stone.
See all hymns and psalms.