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Christians Having the Right Heart

The term heart as it is commonly used in the Bible is very much related to this discussion. God is not interested in our outward appearances, but rather the inner man and woman. (1 Sam. 16:7) God’s Word tells its reader, “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace is for gold, and Jehovah tests hearts.” (Pro. 17:3) If we want to be clean in the eyes of the one who examines our heart; then, we must guard against what we take into our heart. Proverbs also say, “If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” (Pro. 24:12) God can examine our hearts, and he can read our minds, as he knows our very thoughts, and he will know if we are indifferent toward him. The Scriptures also counsels, “Keep your heart [inner person] with all diligence, for out of it flow the springs of life.” (Pro. 4:23) The feelings of love, hate, and everything in between, flow from the human heart, which is the inner person, meaning it is about “life” and death. In other words, how we develop our heart, will be indicative of whether we receive eternal life or not.

The Bible also uses the word “heart” in such a context that it is referring to our mental power.  Moses pressed the Israelites, “Lay it to your heart [your mind] that Jehovah is God.” In addition, later he told them, “Jehovah has not given you a heart [mind] to know.” (Deut. 4:39; 29:4) Whether we are talking about the Hebrew Old Testament or the Greek New Testament, the heart is associated with our intellect and thinking. Speaking to some of the scribes, “Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?’” (Matt 9:4) We are told at Mark 2:6, “some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts.” Mark 6:52 says, “For they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.”

An overview of Scripture would reveal that God in the Old Testament was searching for right-hearted ones (Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Jeremiah, etc.), and in the New Testament he has his disciples searching for right-hearted ones, ones with a receptive heart (Cornelius, Lydia, Onesimus, etc.). He is very much interested in our intentions of the heart, love, reasons, steadfast-faith and affection. When we feed our minds on the Word of God, in serious personal Bible study, of the deeper things of God, as we are doing now, we are planting seeds in the soil of our heart (Matt 13:23). This strengthens us against our own imperfect flesh, the world that caters to that flesh, and against Satan and his horde of demons. When the Spirit inspired, inerrant Word of God grows in our heart, it develops the fruitage of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). What may be grown in our hearts in personal Bible study, in preparation for our meetings, and the attendance of meetings, will grow twentyfold if we are actively sharing Bible truths with others. Seeds of truth are reinforced and planted even deeper, so doubt cannot get at them (Jude 1:3, 22). The Psalmist tells us, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in Jehovah.” (Psa. 31:24, ASV) Spiritual strength and maturity are not instantaneous, like being born again; rather they are based on our buying out the time to develop them.–Proverbs 2:1-6

Those who allow themselves to remain spiritual babes (Heb. 5:12-6:1), are (1) making themselves vulnerable to Satanic attacks, (2) deviation from the faith by way of human weaknesses, and (3) doubt, i.e., spiritual sickness. While it is true that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,” he also has the ability to close the mind of believers (1 Pet. 5:8), if he is given entry through the wall that protects us, a wall of protection, which exists only through the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Job 1:10-12) We ‘were once alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,’ have now been reconciled to God (Col. 1:21), “to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” (Col. 1:22) Remember Adam and Eve, who were perfect in mind and body, and had the natural desire toward good. Yes, we do well to heed the words of Paul to the Corinthians and the Ephesians,

2 Corinthians 11:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from a sincerity and pure devotion to Christ.

Ephesians 6:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 Stand firm, therefore, with your loins girded[1] about with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

Ephesians 6:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

11:3. As determined as he was to fulfill this promise, Paul was also afraid that the Corinthians might be led astray from … sincere and pure devotion to Christ. Prior to Christ’s return, the church is betrothed to him, but the possibility of infidelity and annulment still exist. Paul’s responsibility was to help the church remain sincere and pure in its devotion so the marriage would eventually be consummated.

Once again, Paul drew from the prophecies of Hosea, who spoke of Israel’s apostasy as sexual infidelity (Hos. 2:2–13). This analogy was appropriate in the days of Hosea because many Israelites expressed their apostasy by joining fertility rituals. In a similar way, the Corinthians were tempted by the immoral practices of Corinthian culture.[2]

6:14. After instructions to put on the full armor of God and the promise of the power of God in victory over the devil, Paul specifically describes the various pieces of armor. The belt of truth pictures the large leather belt the Roman soldier wore. It held other weapons and kept his outer garments in place. To put on the belt of truth can be understood as accepting the truth of the Bible and choosing to follow it with integrity.

The breastplate of righteousness pictures the metal armor in the shape of a human torso common to the Roman uniform. To put on the breastplate can be understood as choosing not to harbor and nurture known sin. It is striving to be like Christ and live according to his ways of righteousness.

6:15. Feet fitted with the readiness pictures the hobnailed shoes which kept the soldiers footing sure in battle. To put on these shoes could be understood as believing the promises of God in the gospel and counting on them to be true for you. Faith in these promises yields peace in the Christian’s life.

6:16. The shield of faith pictures the small, round shield the Roman soldier used to deflect blows from the sword, arrow, or spear of the enemy. To take up this shield can be understood as rejecting temptations to doubt, sin or quit, telling yourself the truth and choosing on the basis of the truth to do the right thing.

6:17. The helmet of salvation pictures the Roman soldier’s metal protective headgear. It does not refer to our salvation in Christ. First Thessalonians speaks of the helmet of the “hope of salvation,” which is probably a parallel idea. That being the case, taking the helmet of salvation could be understood as resting our hope in the future and living in this world according to the value system of the next.

The sword of the Spirit pictures the soldier’s weapon sheathed to his belt and used both for offensive and defensive purposes. Taking the sword of the Spirit—defined for us as the Word of God—can be understood as using Scripture specifically in life’s situations to fend off attacks of the enemy and put him to flight. We see the example of Jesus using the Scripture this way in Matthew 4:1–11.[3]

Notice the words of the Psalmist as well,

Psalm 139:23-24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Examine me, and know my anxious[4] thoughts;
24 And see whether there is in me any painful way,[5]
And lead me in the everlasting way

139:23–24 We have come to the conclusion of the psalm. The psalmist has come full circle (see vv. 1–3), only this time he will petition the Almighty God whom he has described throughout the psalm. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. The word “thoughts” in verse 2 (רֵעַ, rēa˓, “want, purpose, thought”) is quite different from this word “anxious thoughts” (שַׂרְעַפִּים, śar˓appîm, “disturbing, disquieting thoughts,” cp. Ps 94:19). The psalmist is petitioning God for something he knows God already knows! (see vv. 1–2). He wants the truth to be known. See if there is any offensive way in me (v. 24a; cp. v. 3). The term “offensive” is a translation of עֶצֶב (˓eeb, “hurt, pain”). But the word in the Hebrew text is עֹצֶב, ˓ōṣeb, which can mean “false god” or “agony.” If it is the “way of an idol or false god” (some form of pagan cult practice; cp. Jer 2:23; Isa 48:5), then Holladay’s view (Kraus et al.) is probably correct. Labeling the psalm as a “hymnic declaration of innocence” would correspond with other claims of innocence in the psalms (see Ps 7:3–5; 18:20–24; 101:1–8). The only way to go is God’s way—and lead me in the way everlasting (v. 24b). For the psalmist the doctrines of the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence of God are not just a teaching, it is a lifestyle as one walks with a holy and righteous God. Indeed, it can be fearful, and fleeing or hiding may on occasion be an instinctive desire or impulse, but ultimately “the everlasting way” can only be found with God. Paul wrote: “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Cor 13:12b). God knows my name.[6]

[1] (an idiom, literally ‘to gird up the loins’) to cause oneself to be in a state of readiness–‘to get ready, to prepare oneself.’

[2] Richard L. Pratt Jr, I & II Corinthians, vol. 7, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 420–421.

[3] Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 190–191.

[4] Or disquieting

[5] Or hurtful way

[6] S. Edward Tesh and Walter D. Zorn, Psalms, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1999), 483–484.

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Bible Doctrines

WHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHERE ARE THE DEAD? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What is the Bible’s viewpoint? Without delving into an endless stream of what man has said, Andrews looks at what the Bible says about death and the like. Why do we grow old and die? What happens at death? Is there life after death, or is this all there is? Do we have an immortal soul? …

IDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast RevealedIDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast Revealed

Herein Andrews will give the reader exactly what the Bible offers on exposing who the Antichrist and the Man of Lawlessness are. If we look at the texts that refer to the antichrist and the man of lawlessness, we will have lines of evidence that will enable us to identify them. Why is it …

UNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithUNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Throughout the Scriptures, God is identified as the Creator. He is the One “who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it.” [Isa 45:18] He is the One “who forms mountains and creates the wind” (Am 4:13) and is the One “who made the heaven and …

The SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithThe SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

The information herein is based on the disciples coming to Jesus privately, saying, “Tell us, (1) when will these things be, and (2) what will be the sign of your coming, and (3) of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) What will end? When will the end come? What comes after the end? Who …

WHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithWHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

What Really Is Hell? What Kind of Place is Hell? What Really Happens at Death? What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? How Does Learning the Truth About Hell Affect You? Who Goes to Hell? What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment? Does God Punish People in Hellfire? Do the Wicked Suffer in …

Miracles? - Do They Still Happen Today?: God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith HealingMIRACLES – DO THEY STILL HAPPEN TODAY? God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith Healing 

Miracles were certainly a part of certain periods in Bible times. What about today? Are miracles still taking place. There are some very important subjects that surround this area of discussion that are often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve …

HOMOSEXUALITY - The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian FaithHOMOSEXUALITY – The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Today there are many questions about homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and Christians. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences justify homosexuality? What is God’s will for people with same-sex attractions? Does the …

Christian Fiction

THE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm's LengthTHE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm’s Length

…desert but none of such significance as a handful of scrolls retrieved from a buried Roman satchel (presumed stolen) at this site. The discovery has since come to be known as ‘The Diary of Judas Iscariot.’ In The Diary of JudasIscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings …

THE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed WrathTHE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed Wrath

Kevin Trill struggles with the notion that he may have missed the Rapture. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a solid gold pocket watch, he sets off towards Garbor, a safe haven for those who haven’t yet taken the mark of thebeast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up …

SEEKERS AND DECEIVERS: Which One are You? It Is Time to Join the Fight!

There grew an element in the valley that did not want to be ruled by the Light of the Word. Over time, they convinced the people to reject it. As they started to reject this Light, the valley grew dim and the fog rolled in. The people craved the darkness rather than the Light because they were evil. They did not want to  …

The Shadow Flames of Uluru: Book ONE in the CHAOS DOWN UNDER 

When an ancestor saddles them with the responsibility to purge Australia of a demon threatening to wipe our humanity with black flames, fraternal siblings Amber and Michael Hauksby lay their lives on the line. As the world crumbles around them into chaos, and ancient marsupials wreak havoc in their hometown, they must journey into …

WRITE PLACE, RIGHT TIME: The Pre-Apocalyptic Misadventure of a Freelance Journalist 

“Write Place, Right Time” follows the pre-apocalyptic misadventures of freelance journalist Don Lamplighter. While on what he expects to be a routine Monday night trip to a village board meeting, Lamplighter’s good nature compels him to help a stranded vehicle. Little does he know that by saving one of the car’s occupants, he sets forth a chain of what to him seem to be unrelated events where he must use his physical and social skills to save himself and others from precarious situations.

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