Dec 3, 2010, 1:14 PM
"For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, …" (Romans 10:10)
You no doubt would have identified with one or more of these heart conditions. If you haven't then you ought to look more closely in order to determine which condition fits your temperament or character. Thereafter endeavour to embark on definite steps at getting rid of the negative aspects that could hinder progress on our part. The diversity of our heart condition could be a source of strife, anger, frustration and misunderstanding which need not taint our relationship with others. Conscious of our weaknesses in this field, each of us should make efforts at cultivating a better heart condition.
A conceited heart 'Conceited' in the English dictionary means having a high opinion of oneself. Thus someone who has a conceited heart is one who has placed him/herself way above his or her rank. Have you met someone like that before - haughty, status conscious, takes offence easily, often feels slighted, ready to ride rough-shod over any and everybody on his/her way? They usually end up hurting themselves because they are constantly putting up a show. The apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans admonishes: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has given you." (Romans 12:3)
When we look closely at the Apostle Peter's heart condition we are stunned at the number of times he had messed up. Though he had taken some deliberate steps to play a leadership role among his peers he had very often fallen far short. Acting out of fear, he was the first to jump ship during a stormy ride across the
He was the one who refused to have the Master wash his feet. "No, you shall never wash my feet." (John 13:8) He challenged Jesus when the latter revealed to his disciples that he would be killed and would rise again after three days. "Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him." (Mark 8:32) Peter was literally telling his Master Jesus to hush this business of dying, when that was the purpose for which he came.
He boasted he would never leave Jesus in times of trouble and would stick by him whatever the circumstances. "Even if all fall away, I will not... Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." (Mark 14:29, 31) He did not wink a moment in denying he knew Jesus when one of the servant girls identified him as being with him. "You also were with that Nazarene Jesus." (Mark 14:67)
Two other disciples James and John, the sons of Zebedee, displayed this heart condition when they formulated a near impossible request to Jesus - backed by their mother. "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." (Mark 10:35)
An insensitive heart Like the word itself depicts nothing moves an insensitive heart. Compassion, tears or sympathy are not part of their vocabulary. Such a person has a hard heart. A group of people that fit this prescription were the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes of Jesus' day. They were insensitive to the spiritual needs of the people they had authority over. On one occasion Jesus told them to the face: "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight." (Luke 16:15) As if that was not enough, Jesus on another occasion lashed at them with these words: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites...you have neglected the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness." (Matthew 22:23)
Their insensitive hearts would prompt them to eliminate Jesus with trumped-up charges to the Roman authorities because he dared to tell them the truth bluntly and because they feared his popularity was rising fast and overshadowing their authority.
A contrite heart/a humble heart Nothing pleases God like a contrite heart, one that has realised s/he has offended God by sinning and seeks to repent of it. God delights in a heart that is full of remorse for wrong deeds. David sums it up in Psalm 51 verse 17 when he wrote: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Recognising where we have gone wrong and confessing our sins before God restores us. Humility is one of the greatest attributes in our relationship with the Father. In the parable of the prodigal son, he humbled himself after he realised he had drifted from the right path even to the extent of considering eating food being fed to pigs. He said to himself: "I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men." (Luke 15:18-19)
A joyful heart "Be joyful always..." (1 Thessalonians 5.16) Christians should be full of joy because the Lord Jesus said: "I have come that they (you) may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10) Don't let Satan steal that joy; neither should depression, frustrations and self-pity deprive you of the fullness of joy in Christ Jesus. A joyful heart is the manifestation of a healthy relationship that we have with God who is a God of love. Closely knit ties with the Word and with his son, Jesus Christ would never make us morose and despondent persons.
A dedicated heart Dedication is a rare attribute in our day; we rather do things half-heartedly and would make fun of the zeal and enthusiasm of the dedicated few. A dedicated heart is considered set apart and consecrated to some sacred purpose. That should be our mission here in this world. We should surrender our hearts, minds and souls to the work and purpose for which God created us in the first instance.
The worst case scenario with regard to one's heart condition is when that person is heartless. Heartlessness ranks such a person outside the norm. Hear these words: "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45)
To God be the glory, great things he has done!