Summary: Just as there are certain indicators that point to an unhealthy physical heart, there are also indicators of an unhealthy spiritual heart. An unhealthy spiritual heart can be determined by asking ourselves three important questions, which this message ask
Healthy Hearts Are Focused Heavenward
Text: Prov.4: 23
Intro: We hear a lot these days about the importance of having a healthy heart. There is a plethora of advice from doctors, dieticians, and exercise specialists for those who want to develop or maintain cardiovascular health. Some people are very conscious of and conscientious about their health in general, and their heart health in particular, while others, myself included, though somewhat concerned about having a properly functioning heart, probably don’t treat it with the respect that is warranted.
Bad habits are easy to make, but extremely hard to break. Most of my life was spent growing up in the country. Eating cornbread, homegrown vegetables, and home-raised pork and beef was a normal part of my upbringing. We didn’t know, or even care much about healthy eating when I was a kid. As a matter of fact, much of what we ate was at that time, considered to be healthy; and whether it was healthy or not, it was what we had. So we thanked God for it, and ate it.
But while the health of our physical heart is important, our spiritual heart is even more important. What we are in our “heart of hearts” says a lot about our relationship with the Lord. While we should not ignore the general health of our physical heart, spiritually, we can ill afford to neglect or take lightly the attitude of our heart toward God.
How important is your relationship with God to you? Let’s get honest. With far too many of us, our walk with God occupies a place somewhere on the tail end of our list of priorities. You say, “But my time is limited. I have a lot of responsibilities: my job, my bills, and my family. I can’t just ignore all of them.” That may be true. The fact is though, when we put God and our relationship with Him first, He gives us the wherewithal to take care of our other responsibilities (Phil.4: 19). But even if that were not true, God’s Word commands us: “…Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl.12: 13b).
I pray you will allow the Holy Spirit to evaluate the condition of your spiritual relationship with God today. If you’re willing to be honest, He’ll show you whether or not you are heart healthy before the Lord.
Theme: In order to determine our spiritual heart health, let’s ask these questions:
I. WHERE ARE YOUR HEART’S DESIRES?
Col.3: 1 “If (the idea here is ‘since’) ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
A. Earthly Things Are Fragile.
1. Our bodies will one day become weak and wasted.
Gen.3: 19c “…for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Ps.39: 4 “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.”
1 Pet.1: 24 “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away.”
2. Our wealth may wither.
Ps.39: 6b “…he (man) heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.”
Ps.49: 16a “Be not thou afraid when one is made rich…
17a For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away…”
Prov.23: 5 “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”
NOTE: Money and things do not equal spiritual peace and contentment. Only Christ can fill the void in a person’s heart. Let me illustrate:
Money and Success
In Success, Motivation, and the Scriptures, William Cook describes a meeting in 1923 of a group of business tycoons. Together these men controlled unthinkable sums of wealth, and for years the media had trumpeted their success stories.
On this day in Chicago they assembled to enjoy their mutual success. Dr. Cook relates what happened to these men in the years that followed: “Charles Schwab, the president of the largest independent steel company, lived on borrowed money the last five years of his life and died penniless. Richard Whitney, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, served time in Sing Sing Prison. Albert Fall, a former member of the President’s cabinet, was pardoned from prison so he could die at home. Jesse Livermore, the greatest bear on Wall Street, committed suicide. Leon Fraser, the president of the Bank of International Settlement, committed suicide. Ivar Krueger, head of the world’s greatest monopoly, committed suicide. The success they celebrated proved illusory.” 1
3. Our power and popularity may wane.