Spiritual Checkup: The Heart
In an average lifespan, the human heart beats more than 3 billion times and pumps 1 million barrels of blood. Just as the heart in the physical body is the chief organ, the chief organ of our spiritual life is the mind. It governs our decisions, actions and intentions. Everything flows out of the heart (Prov. 4:23). Do you have an anger problem? You have a heart problem. Do you have a greed problem? You have a heart problem. And so on and so on. While man looks at the outward appearance, the Lord looks at the heart — who you really are on the inside (I Sam. 16:7). Let us examine the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8 to determine four kinds of hearts.
Hard heart (v. 12): These are people who don’t want anything to do with God. What causes someone to be that way? I’d suggest two reasons — pride and pain. The gospel has the power to save (Rom. 1:16), but it will not save the person who refuses to listen to and heed God’s message of salvation. If you have a hard heart, soften it.
Shallow heart (v. 13): They have “no root.” They believe for a while, then the excitement wanes. When tested by the heat of spiritual conflict, the person with a shallow, emotional heart will “fall away.” Emotion without a deeply-rooted faith is not spiritual strength. Let us not confuse spiritual excitement with strong faith.
Distracted heart (v. 14): This describes most people today. They’re really excited about God, but life’s worries and pleasures choke the life out of them. They put their trust in things of the world, rather than trusting God. Secondary things become more important. They make first-rate commitments to 10th-rate things.
Fully-devoted heart (v. 15): Good seed, planted in good soil, produces good fruit. This is the person who has made the decision about who they are and whose they are. They don’t care what anybody says or thinks: They live to please God and God alone. When it comes to Jesus, there is no rival, no refusal and no retreat.
Paul tells us in II Cor. 13:5 to “examine yourselves.” Please examine your own heart. What is the condition of your heart? Is it a hard heart, shallow heart, distracted heart or a fully-devoted heart? Does your heart beat fast for the same things that make God’s heart beat fast?