Vol.IX No.II Pg.5
April 1972

Keep Thy Heart

Robert F. Turner

It is a rare thing indeed for any man to admit (honestly) that his heart is not "good" or "right:". We may acknowledge all sorts of wrong doing -- even say, "I'm just no good"; when the admission itself is supposed to prove (?) that "deep down" we are really a fairly decent fellow. But sins "of the heart" -- "I am a covetous man" etc. -- are rarely confessed.

Yet, every test the scriptures offer for knowing the heart, have to do with words, actions and conscious thoughts. MAT.7:20 -"by their fruits ye shall know them", is followed by "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". And that section is followed by the lesson of the wise and foolish builders, who "did" and "did not" the "sayings" of Christ. Luke's record has, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man colt of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." (Luk.6:45)

The primary, initial approach to God is the development of basic faith in His "eternal power and deity"; a faith that, given the reins, will impose certain fundamental obligations upon man -- to "glorify" God and "be thankful" or recognize our dependence on Him. (ROM.1:18-f) This faith is possible for all of mankind who have the capacity to consider and evaluate the created world about them. But, because it humbles man before his Maker, many reject it. The capacity to accept Him is in us, but being free agents, we must "give our hearts" to Him -- and here is the rub. "Professing themselves to be wise -- " (we contend that our heart is "good") "they became fools". (ROM. 1:22)

Each individual is a microcosm of Paul's universal truth. Each is a "little world" to which God presents Himself. Only those who bow their hearts are then in position to objectively approach His revelation, and be governed thereby. Woe unto those whose "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". (MAT.13:10-16)

It follows, therefore, that both an overtly sinful life and/or persistent disrespect for divine authority, is evidence of a bad heart. One who manifests a hateful attitude toward his brother has a bad heart -- God is not there. (1JO.3:10-f) Why hesitate to say what John plainly wrote? It was a bad heart that kept people from heeding Jesus during His earthly sojourn; and that keeps others from considering His words today. No wonder we are exhorted to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart" and to believe "with all shine heart".(MAT.22:37 ACT.8:37)

Paul wrote, "The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (ITI.1:5, NAS, emph. mine)