Our heart pumps blood throughout our physical bodies in a marvelous way. Flowing freely in our human bodies, the blood is essential to our survival. When the Scripture uses the word heart, in most places it is referring not to the physical pump, but to our thoughts, intentions, and place of our emotions.
Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
I do not believe the prophet is referring to my physical heart here, but something deeper.
Ezekiel 11:19 – And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,
In this verse, we are promised a new heart, one that is tender and not hard like a rock. Salvation brings this promise to reality. After we are born again, our dead, hard heart is replaced with one that is tender towards the Lord.
Our hearts can grow cold, however, due to sin and unbelief:
Hebrews 3:10 – Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
In addition, we can lose something through trials, heartaches, and sickness if we are not careful.
2 Corinthians 4:16 – So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
Every day, moment by moment our hearts are working both physically, and in the sense described in these passages of Scripture. What direction are we heading in our hearts? Are we becoming tender or hard? Are we moving towards a firmer belief or growing colder in our faith? Are we losing part of our heart through the cares of this life, or are we being renewed? All excellent questions to ponder.
There is a battle raging for our hearts. I am not talking about clogged arteries, but a war to dull our hearts. The warfare is real and the goal is to wear out the saints. Part of the enemies plan is to make us give up, give in, and simply grow lukewarm or cold. We must resist.
What can clog our spiritual hearts quicker than a greasy hamburger? Sin, worry, fear, ego, drifting, long term trials, disappointments, dashed expectations, harsh words, unfaithful friends, a steady diet of the news, placing our hopes in sports, politics, or people, and taking our eyes off of the Lord, to name just a few. We need to guard our hearts or we lose something of real value.
Our hearts must remain tender to the Lord. We have to take care lest we drift and find ourselves moving towards unbelief. Trials can strengthen us or ruin us, and it depends on our heart choices. A marketing guru friend of mine likes to state, “We are bombarded with 20,000 marketing messages every day.” I think he is probably low in his estimate. Many of those messages we receive from TV, radio, internet, billboards, books, magazines and our smartphones, are not directing us towards Christ, but away from Him. There is a battle for control of our heart.
We must guard our hearts and minds. We must renew them in the Word of God, through prayer and walking in fellowship with like-minded people. Our heart needs help to remain tender. Our natural heart needs exercise to keep it working well. Do we really believe that our spiritual heart will be fine if we just ignore it or live on spiritual junk food?
Our lives are busy, and we have many voices screaming for attention. Our time is limited, and frankly, there are many things in this life that are discouraging. As I sat looking over an extensive prayer list last night, it was easy to become overwhelmed. So many real people with real pain that never seems to end. It is a temptation to lose heart, as Paul stated above, but we must not.
The battle is real and so is the victory. Jeremiah cried about the deceitfulness of our hearts and the frustration of trying to figure it out. “Who can know it?” cries the prophet. Fortunately, we are not left there for the next verse (Jeremiah 17:10) gives the answer:
“I the LORD search the heart and test the mind”
As we draw near to the Lord He will show us our hearts. God will not only show us them, He will redeem them for His glory. God will pour in the healing necessary for us to endure. God will give us the strength to carry on. We will not lose heart because we know that God began a good work in us and He will complete it. The battle for our hearts may rage daily, but we know Who wins. We may be knocked down, but we will get up and overcome through God’s enabling grace. Do not give in our up saints, keep on walking, our hearts need the exercise.