Jan 23, 2020, 3:05 PM
The condition of your heart whether you realise it or not determines the kind of relationship you have with people in general. In particular, it defines your character and personality, leaving a tag or brand name on you. You are even classified in the eyes of your family members, close friends and school mates as one who has a proud, loving or pure heart. Your heart is a true reflection of you; mirroring every aspect of you to the public eye despite all efforts at dissimulating the real person in you.
A proud heart God condemns a proud heart; someone who elevates him or herself to the rank of a godhead. There are many proud hearts in our world but God's verdict is clear. "The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: they will not go unpunished." (Proverbs 16:5) Pride is the recipe for precipitated downfall, it leads to destruction. (Proverbs 16:18)
The Syrian army commander named Naaman is a perfect example of what pride can do. Afflicted with leprosy, he had travelled all the way to Jerusalem on the prompting of his housemaid (taken into slavery from Israel on one of his escapades) in order to receive healing from a renowned man of God, the prophet Elisha. Unfortunately for him, on arrival at the prophet's doorstep, the latter did not give him a welcome befitting his military rank nor did he step out to even talk to him. He simply sent word through a messenger instructing the commander to go and dip himself in the River Jordan seven times if he wanted to get healed. "Go, wash yourself seven times in the
Naaman felt slighted first by the kind of welcome he received and second by the choice of the river. He could not understand why the prophet would ask him to go and bathe in one of the dirtiest rivers of
Typical of a proud heart he wanted to dictate the terms of his healing. It would take Naaman's servants to get him to see reason and comply. "My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, '
A loving heart Real love demands some sacrifice, it means giving all that one has for the benefit of the other – self-sacrificing friendship. Nothing compares to the love Jonathan had for his friend David. "Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself." (1 Samuel 18:1) As a symbol of his love, Jonathan lovingly "took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt." (1 Samuel 8:4) When out of jealousy king Saul wanted to kill David, Jonathan, his son, warned David of the danger. Jonathan was so fond of David that he did not make claims to his father's throne. He found in David a better and more able successor to him, and he readily eclipsed himself.
A pure heart Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ once preached to a crowd on the mountainside and said: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5.8) He had observed that the religious leaders of his day were a whole bunch of hypocrites robed in sheep's clothing and making life difficult for the poor. How he wished that their hearts were pure like his! All those who have a pure heart therefore, who hold no grudge against anyone; who are frank, genuine and sincere in their dealings with people God welcomes them into his kingdom for they would have met the criterion for entry - pureness of heart. Purity of the heart cannot be faked; it is like pure water -spotless and clean.
A sincere heart "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrew 10:22) Sincerity of heart is like looking through a fish bowl, you can see right through it - with its contents and all - even to the tiny particles floating around. You cannot miss it; it is like daylight with no shadows. Paul emphasises that "Love must be sincere." (Romans 12:9) Anything short of a relationship that is sincere will one day crash in broad daylight - it will be revealed. I remember the first time I heard that water never gets stale; it would though if there are foreign elements in it. It was for me a simple lesson in sincerity.
Prophet Samuel was assigned the task of anointing one of Jesse's sons as king to succeed Saul. Upon arrival at Jesse's residence, he met with the eldest son and in his heart he was convinced this should be the one. But God said to him. "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7) Of the seven sons paraded, not one qualified. It was the eighth son, David - in the fields at the time tending sheep, who later God called "the man after his own heart" that was anointed king. "God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." (1 John 3:20)
God will deal with each of us according to our hearts. "Forgive, and deal with each heart according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of men.)" (2 Chronicles 6:30) Some have hardened their hearts to his Word, rejecting it. But salvation comes only from his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Acts 4:12)Whatever the brand of your heart however, God can transform it, recondition or remould it to suit his purposes - for his own good. You need only to submit and surrender your heart condition for a major transformation.