The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?Jeremiah 17:9
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.Psalm 51:10
“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.” –Jesus (Matthew 15:18-19)
I could go on, but you get the idea. Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, and much of what we see around this holiday, will be depictions of hearts, as we express our love to those most important to us with flowers, candy, and extravagant gestures. For centuries in romantic literature of popular culture, the desires of the heart are considered something to follow, that the heart is often depicted as pure, or that the good intentions of the heart justify misguided actions.
As we can see from the above verses, the Bible has something different to say about it. The heart, according to scripture, can get us into trouble, and if we really think about it, this is borne out through experience. Murder mysteries in real life are a rarity, as the most frequent culprits are those who are close to the victim, and the offenses could be described as “crimes of passion”. Often, it is following the unchecked heart that leads one to break marital covenants, acts of greed, and violent crime.
Ok, before I bring you too low right before the big celebration of love, let me remind you that for the believer there is hope for your troubled heart. In Christ, we receive a “heart transplant” of sorts. When we decide to let go of our own desires, and put Christ’s desires first in our lives, there is an opportunity for something different. When we love Jesus first, we love every one else in our lives better than we would have without Him. But that is not to say that once we’ve accepted Christ, all our troubles are over – not even the troubles we get ourselves into by following our own hearts. That’s why I said that we’ve received a heart transplant “of sorts.” You see, this new heart we receive – the heart of Christ – is a spiritual heart that then goes to war with our physical heart (and not just the organ of the heart, but our entire body of flesh) and begins to redeem it. (1 Peter 2:11, Galatians 5:17, Romans 7:21-23, etc)
So, we need to check on our hearts regularly – like a patient who has had heart surgery, we need to check our spiritual health, and the motives behind our love and our desires. Is our direction in life a simple function of what we want to satisfy our desires, or are we seriously considering what God’s Word says He desires for us? Is love a desire, or is it a choice we make on behalf of the ones we say we love? We need to check our heart’s desire against the desire of God’s heart, and that’s not something we do on our own. We invite sisters and brothers of the faith into our lives in relationships of trusting accountability to help us check our warring hearts. “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)
Reverend Jason TeagueSenior Pastor