“From within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.”
Nancy was concerned about her husband. His lifestyle choices made him a perfect candidate for heart problems. Even Ken’s doctor agreed. Ken was overweight. He got little exercise. He was under a great deal of stress. What was most troubling was his attitude. Every time Nancy encouraged him to change, he replied, “You have to die from something.”
In many ways I can be like Ken, especially when it comes to the spiritual condition of my heart. Jesus wants to claim it as his own, but often I reject that claim and live my life the way I choose. This leads to a struggle between what is good and God-pleasing, and what could lead to my eternal condemnation.
My heart is the problem. Jesus’ warning to his disciples is one I need to take seriously. I may believe my heart is filled with good intentions, but the opposite is true. By nature, it is filled with evil thoughts and desires which result in evil actions. In the end, I either must confess I have a heart problem or deny it.
What a blessing it is that Jesus opens my eyes with the warning he gives. Not only do I need to see the horrible condition of my heart, I must acknowledge it. Once I admit my heart has a problem, my Savior leads me to look to the cure he provides.
In Jesus, I have forgiveness for the evil condition of my heart. In Jesus, I receive the desire and the strength to change. In Jesus, I have his peace which continually guards my heart and life. It is only Jesus’ undeserved love, his sinless life, and his triumph over every evil that replaces what exists by nature, repairs the damage, and renews my heart for a life of loving service.
This new life and new heart is mine only by faith in Jesus. And though I may never be completely free from heart problems in this life, I can live in hope. Jesus continues to call me, change me, and claim my heart as his own.
Prayer: (Psalm 51:10)
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
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