Is Your Heart Right?
Solemn questions often make deep impressions. Many such questions are found in God's word. And some, not so solemn when literally taken, become so when spiritually applied. The question of Jehu, to Jehonadab, is one of these. "Is your heart right?" 2 Kings 10:15.
Everything is--as the heart is. The heart by nature is wrong--all wrong. In order to its being right--it must be changed. The work of the Holy Spirit must be experienced.
Let us look at its PREPARATION. Life and light are imparted by the Spirit, and the result is--we see its filthiness. Nothing that we have ever seen is so polluted! It must be cleansed, and cleansed thoroughly--before it can be right with God. We feel it to be depraved. Ten thousand evils work in it! All its tendencies are to sin. It is indeed fallen, and fallen very low. We prove it to be wicked. Every promise of amendment, it violates. Every resolution to change for the better, it breaks. It will keep within no bounds. It will walk by no rule, or least of all by God's rule. It loves sin--and after sin it will go. We find it infirm. When at any time a good thought rises or a good purpose is formed--we are unable to carry it out. "When we would do good--evil is present with us." Sin, Satan, and the world are too strong for us! We attempt in vain to produce the desired change.
We are strong to do evil--but weak to do good. We see the need of a change, we even desire a change, we attempt to effect a change--but we are tied and bound by sin and evil habits! "How to perform that which is good, we find not." We despair of ever correcting its evils. It may be long before we come to this--but come to it we must. A very painful and wearisome process may precede it--but here we must be brought, for until we sink into self-despair--the heart is never right. Then we take it to Jesus, and surrender it to him. We are obliged to take it just as it is--lay it at his feet, and beseech him to take it, cleanse it, and make it fit for himself! This he always condescends to do, and when the heart is in Christ's hand, cleansed in his blood, and adorned with the graces of his Spirit--it is right.
Let us glance at, THE PROOF. If the heart is right--we approve of what God requires. We consent unto the law, that it is good. We delight in the law of God after the inward man. We esteem all his precepts, concerning all things to be right, and we hate every false way. To us his commandments are not grievous.
We believe what God reveals. We no longer stumble at doctrines, or object to ordinances. Whatever God says--we believe. Whatever God commands--we do. We admit his wisdom, admire his condescension, and gratefully receive all his communications. We seek what God promises. If we have a need, and God has promised--we make no doubt but he intends to bestow, and we ask of him accordingly. Confidence in the promise arises out of confidence in the character of the promiser, and this confidence takes us to the throne of grace, with the promise in our hands for all we need.
We enjoy whatever God sends. A sense of our unworthiness sweetens God's mercies, and what we receive with gratitude, we enjoy with pleasure. Seeing that our good things flow from God's grace--gives a peculiar relish and sweetness to them all.
We hate what God hates. Drinking into his spirit, we share in his sympathies. God hates only sin--but he hates all sin, and hates all sin everywhere, and at all times. We therefore, when our hearts are right--hate sin too, and all sin, and we always hate sin. We love him most, whom God commends.
The upright, consistent, useful believer is commended of God, and is sure to be beloved by as. But Jesus, as the only begotten Son, who is commended by his Father to us, is especially beloved by us. We love him for his Father's sake, for his own sake, and for the sake of what he has done for us.
THE RESULT. If the heart is right--God will visit it. He says, "To this man will I look--and with him will I dwell." The love-visits of our heavenly Father will be sure to be enjoyed, if our hearts are right with him.
If the heart is right--Christ will dwell in it. The Christian's heart is the Savior's home. He dwells in the heart by faith. He dwells in us as the hope of glory. If our hearts are right, we shall be privileged to say with Paul, "Christ lives in me!"
If the heart is right--the Spirit purifies it. He cleanses it with the word, and the precious blood of Jesus. He purifies it by faith. He implants his grace in it, which brings forth all the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God.
If the heart is right--the love of God is shed abroad in it. This produces love to God in return, and also love to all that are godly. It is our present Heaven, and a foretaste of our future Heaven.
If the heart is right--we mourn over the sins of it. The heart is never right, unless there is godly sorrow for sin. This sorrow works repentance unto life. It produces that brokenness of heart which God so much approves, and which he accepts as a sacrifice.
If the heart is right--then holiness is much prized by it. We cannot rightly mourn over sin, without hating it; and we cannot hate sin--without loving holiness. Love to holiness, proves that the heart is clean, evidences the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and is one invariable result of its being right with God. Heaven is prepared to receive it.
If the heart is right--then God's holy Heaven, is to be the home of all holy hearts. If our hearts are right with God on earth, we shall doubtless dwell forever with God in Heaven. In Heaven, every heart is right with God; and every heart on earth that is right with God, will soon be in Heaven.
Some have the head right--but not the heart. A sound creed--but not a new nature. Clear light--but not holiness of heart.
Some have the conduct right--but not the heart. Correct morals--but no gracious dispositions. Old nature improved--but no new creation.
Some have the heart right--but not the head. Sound experience but not very clear conceptions of gospel truth. A heart panting for holiness and usefulness--with a creed part law and part gospel.
Some have the heart, head, and conduct right! This is the
very best state we can be in--with . . .
Christ in the heart,
truth in the head,
and holiness in the life.
Or, the entire person under the sanctifying, teaching, and guiding operations of the Holy Spirit.
If the heart is right now--then all will turn out right at the last. The heart cannot be right, except the Holy Spirit has begun a good work in it; and if He has, we are "confident of this very thing--that He who has begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."