A Clean Heart

We are all aware and concerned that heart disease is the #1 killer in the USA, physically. But are we aware and concerned that spiritual heart disease is the #1 killer throughout the world?

We commonly use words like sweetheart, tender, open, big, kind, whole, warm, and soft-hearted, in a positive light.  Adjectives such as cold, empty, half, weak, and hard-hearted are viewed negatively. 

To maintain physical health, I consult a doctor. If there is any indication of a problem with my heart, I consult a cardiologist and am subjected to a variety of tests and prescribed treatment (such as medication and surgery) which may or may not have a positive result.

To maintain spiritual health, I consult God’s Word to see if there might be a spiritual problem. The following words from the Bible are meant to help us detect any spiritual heart problem and also to reveal the correct treatment. Fortunately, unlike physical heart problems, there is a completely trustworthy and unfailing treatment: a complete heart transplant.

 If you check out a concordance you will find well over 200 references to the heart in the Bible. 

The two descriptions of the spiritual heart we will focus on are the clean heart and the heart of stone or the hard heart. 

You are probably familiar with the verse “Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right Spirit within me.” To determine why the Psalmist felt the need to ask God for a clean heart and the direction of God’s Spirit, let us look at these two verses:

• The unclean heart:

Jesus says in Matthew 15:18-19: The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things make a man unclean.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder (hatred), adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony (lies), and slander.’ 

• The hard heart (the rejection of God’s Spirit)

The hard heart is described in Zechariah 7:12 as a rejection of God’s directions, resulting in God’s anger: This is what the LORD of Hosts says: “Administer true justice. Show loving devotion and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. And do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.” But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder; they stopped up their ears from hearing. They made their hearts like flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD of Hosts had sent by His Spirit through the earlier prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of Hosts.

As God reveals areas in our lives in which our hearts are unclean and hard, we look to the cross and the assurance that 1 John 1:9 gives us, “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” And as 1 John 2:1-2 explains “If you do sin, there is someone to plead with you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who pleases God completely. He is the sacrifice for our sins, not only ours but also for those of the whole world.” 

The clean heart is described as the fruit of God’s Spirit in Galatians 5:22-26: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we are living now by the Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

The good news is that a clean, loving heart is available to all, for Romans 5:5 says, “God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”

This fulfils God’s promise in Ezekiel 36:26: “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart, and give you a tender (soft), responsive heart.” NLT

The following are three prayers asking God to work in us and give us this kind of heart:

Ps  86:11-12: “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to Your truth. Grant me purity of heart that I may honor You. With all my heart I will thank and praise You, O Lord.”

Ps 19:12b-14: “Cleanse me from hidden faults.  Keep me from deliberate sins … May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. “

Psalm 51:10-15: “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right Spirit within me … Restore to me again the joy of Your salvation and make me willing to obey You.  Then I will teach Your ways to sinners, and they will return to You.  Forgive me … then I will joyfully declare Your righteousness.  Open my lips that my mouth may declare Your praise.”

Sue Found 2024.

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