Aug. 5, 2016

The Heart of the Matter

Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Our physical heart is a pumping, powerful organ that keeps our blood flowing and our bodies working. Our spiritual heart is reflected by our attitudes, actions, and emotions. Perhaps it is time for a checkup.

We can self-evaluate to discover the condition of our heart. Physically, we can watch signs such as shortness of breath, feelings that our heart is racing, the inability to breathe when lying down, and many other physicals symptoms we need to be aware of and monitor. We can evaluate the condition of our spiritual heart by the following:

Our attitude towards the Bible – If we see God’s word as a rule book, we will most likely not spend a great deal of time reading it or applying it. Those of us who see the Bible as a rule book have a tendency to use it for all the wrong reasons. Instead of using it to make ourselves better, we use it to assess other people. Self-evaluation doesn’t involve other people. We should not compare ourselves to others. We should align ourselves with Jesus. On the contrary, if we see God’s word as a love letter, we want to know more about it and live it out more fully each day. We will view other people through the eyes of God applying His grace and mercy. Does a Biblically-based life have room for frustration and anger? Again, examine Jesus and align yourself with Him. He got mad. He never got even.

Our attitude towards money – I know, I know…I am Baptist so I am going to make sure that I work money into every conversation, right? Not really. This is a great myth. Most denominations teach that giving to God is part of Christianity. How strongly they press it is typically based on how strongly they believe it.  I believe that for those who are unchurched and the unconvinced need not worry about giving to God or supporting the work of His church. You give if you want to give, but you don’t have to if you do not call yourself a Christian. Giving is very much a Christian responsibility and blessing. I encourage each of us to examine our bank accounts, our checkbooks, and our attitude towards money. Again, if you are an unbeliever, we don’t need to have this conversation. However, if we claim to be a Child of the King, everything is already His and came from Him. He simply asks that we share it to make certain that good is done in this world leading others to Him. 

Our attitude towards words – Jesus’ parting words were, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be My witnesses….” Again, self-examination is required. I open my Facebook page about three times a day to ask myself before God, “How am I doing?” Negativity, a critical spirit, nastiness, condemning words, and trash talk have no place in the life of a Christian. Do we all fail? Yes. Do I fail often? Yes. The determining factor for a Christian is the difference in our attitude. Are we at least trying and willing to repent when we fail? If I really want to know my heart condition or the condition of someone else’s heart, all I have to do is read social media posts. Words reveal the heart’s condition. 

Our attitude towards food – As God’s creation, we should eat to live; not live to eat. I realize that everyone has good days and bad days, but if you believe the Bible and you realize it teaches you that your body is His temple – self-reflection asks, “What am I putting into God’s temple? What condition is His temple based on how I treat my body?” Tough questions, but they are necessary if we truly want to become more like Him. 

The number one way we know where our heart is comes when we answer the question: “Have I ever given my heart to Jesus?” This isn’t something mystical or religious. Spirituality is a part of your human nature. We are all created with the need to find something deeper and to understand the reality of God. Again, I realize many different people will accept Christ in many different ways. The question for self-reflection isn’t really a “How” or “Where” question. Our spiritual future depends on “If” and “Who.” 

Have you prayed a prayer to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ? I am not asking if you go to church or which church you attend. I am asking you if you have fed your spirit by dedicating your heart to Him? Have you filled the hole in your soul with Christ or with something else? 

Father, I admit that my heart was created purposely with a hole in it. I realize You want to fill that hole and live life with me. I yield to You, Lord Jesus. Make me stronger every day and teach me what a true Christian looks like, acts like, and how I can reflect You in all I do. Amen.