Heart trouble is something of which we hear a lot. Researchers unanimously agree that heart problems are the leading cause of death in North America. The physical condition of the heart is very serious thing.
But what about the spiritual condition of our hearts? The Bible has a lot to say about our hearts and the importance of keeping them in the right condition.
Let’s look at three “heart problems” in the Bible. The paradox is that while no one wants them physically, every Christian should have them spiritually.
An Enlarged Heart
An enlarged heart is a very serious problem. Every year, it accounts for thousands of sudden deaths all over the world. What is a “curse” physically is a great blessing spiritually! Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:11, “Our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.”
What are the symptoms of a spiritually enlarged heart? We find here that an enlarged heart is characterized by love for others.
Love is essential to the Christian life. It is what characterizes God Himself and therefore, as “godly” people, it must characterize us. The Bible teaches that love is the Mark of the Divine life within us (I John 3:19; 4:8), the Mark of our Development in Spiritual Things (2 Pet 1:4-8), and the Mark of our Discipleship (John 13:34, 35).
In 1 Kings 4:29, we read that “God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart.”
Another symptom of an enlarged heart is that it is characterized by wisdom from God. If I have an enlarged heart I will display godly wisdom in my day-to-day interactions with others.
Where did Solomon acquire this amazing wisdom? The Bible tells us that he asked God for it. If you pay close attention, you’ll soon notice that it is always God that gives an enlarged heart. We cannot enlarge our own hearts. It must be a divine work or it will never be done.
We find that God gave Solomon this enlarged heart when he desired it more than wealth or fame. If you and I are to have enlarged hearts, it must be our desire above all else and it must come from God alone.
This world is full of problems with people looking for answers. Sadly, the tendency of human nature is to rely on logic; but we don’t find our answers in logic alone. We should not be illogical, but we are to find our answers in the Word of God. True wisdom can only come from God. He alone enlarges hearts.
In Psalm 119:32, David stresses again that it is God who gives this enlarged heart. He says, “I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart.”
We do not usually think of a person with an enlarged heart running. Yet, this is the sign of a spiritually healthy Christian (1 Cor 9:24, 26; Gal 5:7; Phi 2:16; Heb 12:1). I can’t help but link this verse with Isaiah 40:31, “They that wait upon the Lord . . . shall run, and not be weary.” There is the secret of an enlarged heart. It is waiting on God.
But what further symptoms are there of an enlarged heart? This verse tells me that if I have an enlarged heart, it will be characterized by obedience to God’s Word. In turn, this obedience to God’s Word will cause me to act toward others as Christ would.
He doesn’t just say, “I will run the way of Thy commandments.” He says, “I will run the way of Thy commandments when Thou has enlarged my heart.” Before you or I can ever run the way of His commandments, we must know what it is to have our hearts enlarged by Him.
I’ll be the first to admit that the standards in our Bible are high. They are the standards by which our Lord lived and are unattainable to us. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who has ever attained these standards.
Truly, He had an enlarged heart. I say reverently that His “big heart” was evident as He touched the leper, took a child in His arms, or wept over Jerusalem. It was a heart large enough for all. There was none that He did not love.
In John 3:16, we learn something that is stated only once in the Bible: “God so loved the world.” There has never been a soul whom God has not loved. We see this so clearly in the life of our Lord. He not only loved His friends (John 11:5) and disciples (John 13:23), but also those whom He knew would refuse Him (Mark 10:21). His heart was perfect. He could say, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Mat 11:29).
One of today’s best-selling Christian books tells us that we need to cry like Jabez for enlarged coasts and enlarged borders. The Bestseller of all time encourages us to cry for enlarged hearts. We need hearts that are open to His Word, obedient to His Will, and occupied with His Work. Then the world will know that we are truly His disciples.
To be continued.