Volume 22, Number 1, January
/ February / March, 2003 Editor: Robert Johnson
The Heart Of A Christian: On
Our Spiritual Blood
Is Truth And Love
The White Blood Cells
The Red Blood Cells
The Spiritual Treadmill: Testing Our Blood Flow
The Overflow Test: Stick Out Your Tongue
In this article we will be examining the heart of a true Christian.
The Biblical description of a Christian is one who not only believes
that Jesus is the Son of God and their only hope for salvation, but
one who has made their faith alive by submitting themselves to God's
will for their lives. Biblical faith begins with hearing the Word of
God (Rom. 10:17). Upon hearing the truth
of Jesus Christ, biblical faith believes the Gospel message that Jesus
is God's Son and has died for our sins. (John
8:24). There is no such thing as a secret Christian; real faith
is willing to confess or openly acknowledge its faith in Jesus as Lord
and Master (Matt 10:32). The next natural
and biblical response to the Gospel message is repentance or a change
of mind and life's direction concerning old sinful behavior (Lk.
13:3; Acts 2:38). Then and only then is a penitent believer ready
for what the Bible calls a "baptism (in water) for the remission
of sins" "into Christ" (Acts 2:38;
Acts 22:16; Gal. 3:27). Having a knowledge of God and Christ
without joining ourselves to Christ in baptism does not make us Christians
(Rom. 6:3,4). After being baptized into
Christ, we must then turn our attention to keeping our hearts submissive
to our Father's will through His Word. Lets us evaluate the kind of
heart which God intends for us to have.
Have you ever wondered what Gospel preachers talk about when they get
together? We discuss the dilemma of how to motivate baptized believers
to act differently from the world (Rom 12:1ff).
We discuss heart problems that hinder the churches’ work and believers
who do not seem to be making much effort to be like Christ. We discuss
the problem of members who are so weak spiritually that they will not
overcome sin in their own lives, let alone help evangelize the world.
We discuss the problems caused by hearts which have become hard, eyes
which will not see and ears which will not hear. In the words of James,
“Brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (James
3:10). Let us examine the “Heart of a Christian”
by taking a sobering look at the spiritual condition of our hearts.
Blood Is Truth and Love:
Without blood our bodies would quickly die. Our spiritual hearts also
need nourishment. The life’s blood of the Christian's spiritual
heart is truth and love. The condition of our spiritual hearts can be
determined by our acceptance of God's truth and our practice of love.
Like the body needs blood, our spiritual health and maturity depends
on having these two things coursing through our spiritual hearts.
"That we henceforth be no more children,
tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by
the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait
to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him
in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" (Eph 4:14-15)
The White Blood Cells:
Truth is like the white blood cells which protect the body from infectious
false teaching which would weaken and destroy the strength and usefulness
of the church (body of believers). The inspired scriptures provide us
with this essential truth. (2 Tim 3:16,17).
The salvation of our souls depends on accepting the truth: "Then
said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my
word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32). It is
truth that sets us apart from the world which is made up of those deceived
by Satan.(Rev 12:9).
"And we know that we are of God, and the
whole world lieth in wickedness. 20 And we know that the Son of God
is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that
is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.
This is the true God, and eternal life." (1 John 5:19-20)
Like some rare health food, God's truth is not found everywhere, so
finding and keeping it must be our first priority. Submitting to the
truth of God's Word will set us apart (sanctify us) and prepare us for
a life of true faith in a world full of deception. (John
17:16-17). A heart that is not filled with a love for the truth
is open to infection with ignorance and deceit.
"And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness
in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth,
that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them
strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might
be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved
of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation
through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:"
(2 Th 2:10-13)
A good heart receives the truth and keeps it bringing forth fruit: "But
that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart,
having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."
The Red Blood Cells:
Love is like the red blood cells which supply nourishment and strength
to every function of the body. Paul said that having all knowledge and
faith without love profits nothing (1 Cor 13).
We have noted that the truth must be preached “in love.”
(Eph 4:15). Jesus said that love (agape)
would be the visible identifying mark that we are His disciples.
"A new commandment I give unto you, That
ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love
one to another." (John 13:34-35)
Note that Jesus said the first identifying mark of being one of His
disciples (followers) is that we will have love for one another. “People
do not care how much you know until they can see how much you care!”
Someone might say, love cannot be commanded, it must be felt. In the
Greek language, there are several different words translated by the
English word "love." There is a word for the physical kind
of love (eros). There are words for the natural family or brotherly
love (storge, philos). Then there is the word "Agape." This
is the word Jesus used in John thirteen. Agape love is not a feeling
or emotion. It is a decision to put the good of others before ourselves
even when they may be undeserving. It is best illustrated by God showing
His love for us and sending Jesus to die for us "while
we were yet sinners" (Rom. 5:8). Love is the decision and
act of a heart that is determined to obey the Lord. All acts of submission
and obedience to God can be summed up by the word "Love" (Agape).
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another:
for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou
shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal,
Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there
be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying,
namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no
ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
Love is so essential to the spiritual heart that failing to demonstrate
love for others reveals the absence of true love for God. Our love for
God who is above us, can only be truly demonstrated by seeking the good
of those who are beside us.
"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his
brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath
seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment
have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."
(1 John 4:20-21; See also 1 John 4:7-11)
Obeying the truth purifies our souls and results in an honest love of
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying
the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see
that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:" (1 Pet 1:22)
Beware of spiritual Cholesterol which is anything which might harden
your heart to hearing the truth and practicing love. (Sin, anger, resentment,
"For this people's heart is waxed gross,
and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed;
lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their
ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted,
and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see:
and your ears, for they hear." (Mat 13:15-16)
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove,
rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will
come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts
shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they
shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto
fables." (2 Tim 4:2-4)
Treadmill: Testing Our Blood Flow
When the condition of your physical heart is in question, the doctor
may put you on the treadmill for a “stress” test. It is
often the case that people have heart problems and do not even realize
it until it is too late. Sometimes the true condition of our heart is
not clear until it is put in a circumstance of stress and pushed to
its limits. Spiritually speaking, the true condition of our spiritual
hearts is revealed when our faith and love are put to the test, much
like being on a spiritual treadmill.
In worship assemblies, everyone shows signs of good spiritual health.
But, do our hearts continue to seek the truth and practice love in our
everyday life and trials??? What does your behavior reveal about your
heart when you are angry?? Are you quick to anger? "Be
not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom
of fools." (Eccl 7:9). Do you allow your anger to lead you
to sin? "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not
the sun go down upon your wrath:" (Eph 4:26). If anger is
restricting the flow of truth and love in your life, you need to consider
the Bible's prescription for better health:
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every
man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath
of man worketh not the righteousness of God." (James 1:19-20).
What does your behavior reveal about your heart when you neglect to
do what you know is right and good? Perhaps you are proud of your efforts
to avoid doing the wrong things, but are you just as diligent in doing
the things which are right?
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers
only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word,
and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in
a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway
forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the
perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful
hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall
reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do
good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of
faith." (Gal 6:9-10)
"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to
him it is sin." (James 4:17)
The greatest challenge of the Christian heart is moving beyond the hearing
and believing to living the teachings of Christ in our daily lives.
"This people draweth nigh unto me with their
mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from
me....Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into
the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which
is in heaven." (Mat 15:8; Mat 7:21).
Test: Stick Out Your Tongue:
Ask yourself these simple questions: If you overfill a bucket with honey,
what will come pouring over the sides? If you overfill a bucket with
pig slop, what will come pouring over the sides? Will a bucket of salt
water overflow with fresh water (James 3:12)?
So we can conclude that only what is in the bucket can come spilling
out? Yikes!! What does this have to do with what is in our hearts???
The Bible often reminds us that the condition of our hearts can be tested
by what spills out of our mouths. What overflows out of your heart??
Rudeness? Anger? Impatience? Murmurings? Complaints? Rejoicings? Praise?
"O generation of vipers, how can ye, being
evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth
speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth
forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth
forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that
men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt
be condemned." (Mat 12:34-37)
So many today are deceived into thinking that good thoughts and good
intentions are the same thing as good faith and a good heart. But, how
we talk or control our thoughts and words is the true test of our religion.
"If any man among you seem to be religious,
and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's
religion is vain." (James 1:26)
"A fool also is full of words:...” (Eccl 10:14)
"Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to
utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth:
therefore let thy words be few." (Eccl 5:2)
There is a great way of finding out what is really in your heart. If
you want to test the condition of your heart spiritually, the Bible
suggests you examine what overflows out of your mouth. Just wear a tape
recorder around your neck for a while and then you will know what God
and probably everyone else already knows about what is in your heart.
I hope you are willing to take an honest look at the true condition
of your heart spiritually. Is your heart 100% open to the flow of God’s
truth and love or has some sin or false doctrine created a blockage.
Anything which limits your willingness to allow God's truth and love
to flow through your life can be a fatal blockage. God's truth is the
cure for all of the hearts most serious problems.
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder
of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner
of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb 4:12).
Perhaps you are in need of some serious spiritual exercise which comes
from using the Word of God.
"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,
ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles
of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and
not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in
the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth
to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their
senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Heb 5:12-14).
If your heart is seriously resistant to the flow of God's truth and
love, you may need a completely new heart and should become a Christian
as described in the beginning of this article. God's advice for the
ancient people of Israel is still good for us today.
"Cast away from you all your transgressions,
whereby ye have transgressed (sinned); and make you a new heart and
a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have
no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore
turn yourselves, and live ye." (Ezek 18:31-32)
Please check your spiritual pulse regularly and if your heart is not
beating for God, ask God to help you make the needed changes. God will
recommend large doses of truth and the daily practice of love. R. Johnson
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