There’s an old song called How About Your Heart? It asks how we would feel if there was a window on our hearts allowing people to see what was really in there. Then it asks this crucial question. “How about your heart, is it right with God? That’s the thing that counts today.”
Others see what we do, hear the words we say, watch our responses to people and circumstances; and from this they form an opinion of who we are, all according to the outside. We would probably be surprised to hear what others would say if they were asked to describe us, because the basis of their opinion would not include the intent of our heart.
Our heart is our innermost being. It’s who we really are. It’s where we think, we reason, we dream, we plan, we make decisions and we feel sad or happy. No one else can experience what is in our hearts. Proverbs 14:10 says: “The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.” (Amplified Bible) Yet 1 John 3:20 tells us God “is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows (perceives and understands) everything [nothing is hidden from Him].” God knows who we really are, whether our heart is spiritually healthy or diseased. He sees it, understands it and wants to bring health to any diseased areas.
There have been times when I was tired…all the way through to my soul. I have sat through church services like a wilted flower on the inside. My ears were dull of hearing and my heart felt empty. There was nothing weighing on my mind, no life-altering decision to be made or problem to be worked through. I simply felt surrounded by a thick cloud that had desensitized every part of me. I think we have all been there before – probably more than once. When that happens, it could be an attack from the enemy, or it could be because we are spiritually dehydrated. And that is a dangerous place to be.
We can be doing all kinds of things for the Lord and studying His Word, but still have all the symptoms of dehydration – tired, weak, confused, and our hearts unsettled and agitated. Our souls can feel like a desert, even though spiritual things are going on all around us.
Early one morning I dreamed about a little bird in a cage. When I saw him, I realized I had not fed him in a long time, and a severe pain went through my heart. I had been so busy I had forgotten the bird was even there. My heart broke to see the faded yellow feathers that had been so bright before. As I put my hand into the cage, its weak little body leaned against my hand. I can still almost feel it there. I gave it bread and water, and then woke up. I was still grieving when I awoke.
Sometimes we treat our hearts like that little bird, and where they used to be vibrant and alive, they become empty and dull. Our work for God can become sterile business transactions rather than acts of love, when we are not feeding our spirits. Our minds are full of Scripture and our wills are still set on following God, but something is missing. The problem is our heart is hungry and thirsty for lack of a relationship with Jesus. Don’t put off spending time lingering in His presence. Just think how it grieves the heart of God when we ignore Him when He has invited us to come boldly into His presence.
In John 4 we are told that Jesus stopped to rest by a well in Samaria one day. He encountered a woman there who needed much more than the water she came to draw from the well. His words to her are relevant to us today.
“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14) The water springing up is available, but if we don’t drink it, we will dehydrate spiritually.
Another time Jesus cried out to the whole crowd during the feast of the Passover. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39)
As you reread that passage, hear Jesus’ voice just like it was the first time you have heard Him make that invitation, then respond to His call to ‘come unto Me, and drink’.
Our hearts can be full of living water if we will come and drink! We can have in our innermost being an endless supply of living water. But we have to surrender our heart before that water will flow there. We are meant to have the Spirit of God in us without measure, but we can’t have Him and everything else in there, too. We have so many things vying for our attention. We need to be careful not to choose the urgent over what is really important.
In The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer explains how God prepared the earth for Adam and Eve before He ever placed them in it. His creation was for them to enjoy, but the throne of their heart was to be for God alone. All the outward “things” were meant to be exactly that, outward. Tozer wrote, “Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God had showered upon him.” But we all know it didn’t stay that way, and that’s where we have a problem. We allow “things” in our hearts and leave God on the outside.
We are the only ones who can make the decision of who gets first place in our hearts. We have to uproot the usurpers if we are going to keep our heart for God alone. When we get so busy with ‘things’, we block our hearts from the flow of God’s Spirit because we have blocked off our Source. That’s why it’s so important to guard our hearts.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” That is the well springing up and the rivers of living water Jesus talked about. We have to be careful what we allow to enter our hearts – thoughts, dreams, decisions, priorities, plans, affections. We have to be careful what we “set our hearts” on. We are told to set our affections, our hearts, on the things that are above. Hold the things of this life loosely and cling to God with all we have. We are in this world, but we are to be of the Kingdom of God. There’s not room for Jesus and “things” in our hearts.
David, the shepherd/king wrote often how he longed for the presence of God in his life, and he would seek after Him with his whole heart. David made a lot of mistakes, but he was a man after God’s own heart, always returning to His God. Nothing was important enough to keep Him away.
The Apostle Paul said he gave up all the positions and accolades of the world “for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…that I may win Christ.” (See Philippians 3:7-11.) He recognized that all those “things” were supposed to stay on the outside, not allowed to sit on the throne of our heart on the inside.
Few people these days seek God with such passion and self abandon as these great men of God. And so we have very few great men and women of God.
When is the last time we have sought after God with all our heart because we longed for His presence? Not for something we desired from Him, but because we desired Him. We can know the eternal God through personal experience, not just what we read about Him or hear about Him. But we cannot know Him like that if our hearts are divided into two areas. We cannot live our secular lives as we always have and move into our sacred mode when we are at church or Bible study or prayer meeting. We cannot be completely surrendered to Christ Jesus and surrendered to this world at the same time. It’s impossible. We need to be constantly aware of Him beside us, open to hear His voice when He speaks, and quick to obey.
How can we hear His voice? We hear His voice when we allow the Holy Spirit to cause the written Word of God to come alive in us. Then it is no longer words on a page that we try to live up to, but the voice of God speaking directly to us, enlightening us to see what we could never see on our own. I’m not talking about an audible voice, but I am talking about a living voice! And sometimes, His Spirit will speak to our spirit, and we know it is the voice of God.
When we walk side by side with someone, we generally share conversation as we walk. We stay in step with them, and even in silence we are aware of them beside us. We learn more and more about one another as we spend time together. The more we learn, the safer we feel to share the deeper things. It’s that simple to walk with God. God wants who we really are, not the person on the outside, but the real person on the inside. We have made knowing God and walking with Him so hard that we can never quite grasp it, but it’s not hard. We don’t have to beg God to fellowship with us. He is waiting for us to come and drink.
The bottom line is that God wants us to know Him. He wants our hearts to be one with His, completely undivided. He wants us to love Him as simply and passionately as He loves us.
How about your heart?
Is it right with God?
Whatever it costs, put Jesus on the throne.