By Vestal Chaffin
“Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:22). These words were spoken to Simon, an erring child of God. They emphasize the fact that our heart must be right in God’s sight in order to be acceptable to him. Many of our problems as Christians can be traced back to “heart trouble.” Our spiritual health depends on the condition of our heart, therefore, we should see that our heart functions properly.
In the physical realm we are constantly reminded to take care of our heart, to keep it healthy by eating the proper kind of food, getting the proper kind of exercise, etc. We have been educated to the degree that we realize that the fleshly heart is very essential to our physical well being; consequently, we try to keep it healthy. It is unfortunate indeed that many who profess to be Christians, give but little attention to their spiritual heart. What is the heart that must be right in God’s sight? It certainly is not that lobe of flesh that pumps the blood through the physical body. It is said that, “Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Sam. 15:6). Certainly he did not steal the physical, fleshly hearts of those men. The Bible heart, the heart that must be right in God’s sight, has to do with our intellect. We think with the heart (Matt. 9:4); we love with the heart (Matt. 22:37); we believe with the heart (Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:9- 10); we purpose with the heart (Acts 11:23; 2 Cor. 9:7); we obey with the heart (Rom. 6:17-18). From this then, we can see that the heart involves our mind, our emotions, our will, and our conscience. This is the heart that so often gives us trouble. The wise man said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. ” The apostle Paul told Timothy, “Now the end of the command ment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (1 Tim. 1:5).
In conversion the heart must be changed, or purified before God will accept us (Acts 15:9; 1 Pet. 1:22). But the heart is not only involved in our conversion, it is involved in all the service we render to God. It is often said when a man commits a sin, “But he is a good man at heart,” but that is not so, for Jesus said, “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” (Matt. 12:35). The heart is right in God’s sight only when the intellect, the emotion, the will, and the conscience are right. Again the wise man said, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). After creating man and placing him upon the earth, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). The apostle Paul speaks of bringing every thought into captivity and to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Some so-called Christians let their thoughts dwell on dome dirty, foul, vulgar, smutty story they have heard; but true Christians should not let their mind dwell on such, but they should be meditating on God’s word (Psa. 1:1-2).
If one’s heart is not right he does not enjoy the Lord’s work. He looks upon Bible study as a boring task that takes time that he had rather spend engaging in some sport or some pleasure. He does not enjoy worshiping the Lord, but he engages in it to please his family or his friends. He gives to the Lord begrudgingly; he does not enjoy serving the Lord in any way, for his heart is not in it. He is not, “doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph. 6:6). He has heart trouble.
The church member that has heart trouble, never renders or gives his best to the Lord. Their service falls far short of his abilities, and far below what the Lord expects of him. But after rendering a half-hearted service, they are so often like the Israelites to whom the prophet Malachi wrote, “Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness it is. and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of host; and Ye brought that which way torn, and the lame, and the sick, thus ye brought an offering. Should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord” (Mal. 1:13). If you do not give the Lord your best, and rejoice in the opportunities to serve the Lord, then you have heart trouble. What we render unto the Lord must be done “heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Col. 3:23).
When members of the church constantly entertain unclean and evil thoughts in their mind, it is because they have heart trouble. Our Lord said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts” (Mk. 7:21-22). This is the reason we need to heed the admonition of wise man when he said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). Since we speak from the abundance of the heart, we hold the key of life and death within our power! “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:37). The apostle Paul said, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
In the language of the poet who wrote the song entitled, “Is Thy Heart Right With God?”, “Have thine affections been nailed to the cross; is thy heart right with God?” (Songs of the Church, p. 226). There is balm for the soul who has heart trouble. The great physician can heal you, if you will only do his will (Mk. 2:17; Matt. 7:21).
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 16, p. 493
August 18, 1988