How's Your Heart?

When was the last time someone asked you that question? When was the last time you gave any thought to the condition of your heart? If you were to stop right now and honestly examine your heart, what would you find?

Would it be love? Joy? Peace? Gratitude?

Or, would it be anger? Rage? Bitterness? Resentment? Worry? Fear? Suspicion? Jealousy? Lust? Greed?

How's your heart?

The scriptures tell us to guard our hearts because everything that we do flows from them (Prov. 4:23). All the decisions that we make, the desires that drive and motivate us, the feelings we experience, the words that we say, the thoughts that we think, they all come from our hearts.

We live in a culture that says we should follow our hearts, but that could be a dangerous thing if we never take the time to examine them. Specifically, because the Bible isn't always very flattering about our hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"

I have a friend who says that feelings are lousy leaders. Just because our heart feels a certain way towards something or someone doesn't necessarily mean it's the right feeling, or that we should follow it. As Jer. 17:9 says our hearts sometimes deceive us. The effect of sin has wreaked havoc on our hearts and therefore, we need to pay extra attention to the state of our hearts.

However, the pace at which many of us live gives very little room in our daily lives to take stock of our hearts. Not only that but from the moment we wake up, till the moment our heads hit the pillow, we have an endless amount of people and devices vying for our attention. But maybe the reason our schedules are so full and we are so connected to our mobile devices is because we're afraid to slow down and be alone with the thoughts and feelings of our hearts. If we did, and if we took an honest assessment, we might not like what we find. Therefore, we fill up our lives and remain constantly connected digitally so that we don't have to connect with God spiritually.

We are creatures of habit, and habits have the power to shape our character and our hearts. Without a regular and daily check-in on our hearts, the chances of our hearts being shaped to mirror God's heart is slim to none.

A seminary professor of mine often said, "Deeds done in the dark stay in the dark." The point he would make when saying this was that our sin and the deceitfulness of our heart holds power over us only when it's hidden in the dark. When we bring those things into the light the power they have is broken.

1 John reminds us that we need not be afraid of the sin and deceit that resides in our hearts because of what Jesus has done for us.  John writes, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he [Jesus] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1:8-9)

The larger narrative of Scripture is that even though our hearts are deceitful and beyond cure, there is redemption. One of the ways we take hold of redemption is through confession. Through taking an honest look at what lies within, owning up to it, and then taking hold of the forgiveness offered through Christ.

While you may have been tempted to click away from this post, distract yourself with something more pleasurable, or skim over it because you didn't think you had the time to read all 651 words, you made it to the end.

So how about taking a little bit more time and answering the question, "How's your heart?"