“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm” (Joel 2:12-13).
The Holy Bible is filled with countless references to the heart and I believe there are many good reasons for it. The heart is where the Spirit and Word of God takes up residence within a person, out a man’s heart comes the affections of life and the heart is one of the most powerful yet fragile of human organs. The heart is the center of our being!
All too often the heart defines who we are spiritually and as physical beings. It has been the source of gladness that has allowed many to be lifted to unbelievable heights and driven other to the depths of despair. The heart is what you make it, it maybe hardened, softened, stirred, tender, kind or mean it is up to you. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
The prophet Joel extols the Children of Israel to stop their half-hearted service to the God of their fathers and turn to Him with all of their heart. Fast-deny yourself the everyday comforts of life, repent and show contrition for your evil ways and practices. He says to
tear your heart and not your clothing, and this is where today’s Christians meet yesterday’s worshipers. The common behavior of physical displays of repentance without spiritual repentance is an empty sacrifice in the eyes of God. When we tear our hearts we are placing everything that is on the inside, within our hearts, on the altar as a sacrifice to God.
King David says; “Trust in Him at all times, O’people, pour out your heart before Him,
God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8). Do not hold back anything; pour it all out as a drink offering to the Lord. Pride and an unwillingness to let go of the material world binds us to a hope and misguided belief that the physical can deliver us. It is here in our heart where physical and spiritual submission must take place before we can present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto the Lord.
The world is full of prideful hearts standing on legs of arrogance and self-deception that are insufficient for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his ministry. To present oneself to God is costly in the extreme, to offer oneself holy and acceptable means you have passed through the afflictions of arrogance and pride that are driving countless hearts to tears
and fear. The Apostle Paul’s student Clement writes; “Miserable are the double-minded, and those that are doubtful in their hearts” (Clement 11:11). Until the knees of the heart are bowed and the heart itself is rendered unto God we are deprived of the righteousness and holiness that God commands of us.
God searches our heart and test our minds to bless us according our ways and actions. It is our prayerful wish when God has complete His examination of our hearts He will say; “Nevertheless there are good things found in thee” (II-Chronicles 19:3). There are things we must do to prepare our hearts to seek God, we can begin by turning with all of our heart keeping nothing for ourselves, anyone or anything else. Why? Because God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness. Furthermore, “The good Lord pardons everyone that prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers” (II-Chronicles 30:18-19).
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- Accountability: It Starts With the Heart (menofredemption.wordpress.com)