by Pastor John Fredericksen
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In recent months, my wife’s father has had a series of issues with his heart that required different pacemakers to be implanted. After two previous by-pass operations, there have been justifiable reasons to be concerned about him. So, when we see or call him, we frequently ask, “How is your heart today?”
The condition of one’s heart is just as important in the spiritual realm as it is in the physical realm. It is for this reason the Scriptures say so much about the heart and why Solomon wrote, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). The spiritual condition of one’s heart will determine how one responds to the Lord and, ultimately, it will have a huge impact on each of us in eternity.
Since God is “not willing that any should perish” (II Pet. 3:9) and “lighteth [or draws to Himself] every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9), everyone has the option to be saved from eternal punishment. The Lord seeks with every individual to do what He did with Lydia, “whose heart the Lord opened” (Acts 16:14): drawing him or her to a personal decision of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, because many resist and refuse this internal wooing of the Lord, they remain as some to whom Paul wrote in the Roman epistle: “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and… righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:5).
Thankfully, many choose to open their hearts to the salvation God offers. Countless numbers of people have “call[ed] on the Lord out of a pure heart” (II Tim. 2:22). Hosts of believers today seek to leave behind the regular practice of sin because they “have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Rom. 6:17). On a daily basis, most believers pursue a walk that will please the Lord because “in singleness of heart, fearing God…[they choose to] serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:22-24). Many believers are “doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph. 6:6). Those who choose such a path do so because they are choosing to “keep their heart with all diligence.” They do so by regularly taking in the Word of God and applying proper truth to the way they live each day.
It is, of course, possible for a believer to choose a path of sinful living. Every believer can choose to allow his heart to grow cold to the things of the Lord. For those who do, the Apostle Paul warned that, while still saved, they could reach a spiritual condition of “having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God… because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18). Such a condition is the spiritual equivalent of a blockage to the heart. Knowing that as believers “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ… [and] every one of us shall give an account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:10,12), it behooves every believer to maintain a soft, responsive heart to the Lord.
Dear believer, how is your heart today, in a spiritual sense? If you have made past decisions of sinfulness that have hardened your heart, you can choose to open the door of your heart and begin to live for the Lord again. You can begin today. You can begin to read the Scriptures again, talk to the Lord in prayer, and seek a church where the truths of God’s Word are faithfully taught. If your heart has been faithfully following the Lord, “Praise His Name.” May we all seek to apply the wise counsel from Solomon to “keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that many of them first appeared as newspaper articles. We hope that you’ll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.