The Measure of a True Heart

By Jim Allen

We know the pulsating heart within is not really where the spirit abides or the source of true love and happiness. Nor is the heart the real you. Pulsating at sixty beats per minute, the heart is the dynamo driving us through day and from day-to-day. Need I say its health is central to one's long life?

Nevertheless, the human heart is a wondrous symbol for describing another heart that is occasionally broken and often tested by the trials of life. We know this heart is the center of the soul where one decides the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23); it is from there we find direction to live and move, making moment-by-moment decisions about every thought, word, and deed.

The Bible speaks about the heart where every thought is judged worthy or unworthy of entering our presence. This is where one's beliefs about the issues of life are fashioned and guarded. What a person says and does is a window into the heart. Words and actions matter and from the heart blessing or defilement flow (Matthew 15:18-20)

James Hodgkinsonthe shooter at the congressional baseball practice, opened his heart for all to see. What they saw was a heart defiled with political abhorrence, filled with appalling speech on social media that eventually led to an unthinkable act. What comes from the heart not only defiles the person but can lead to ruin.

But then there is the redeemed heart (Ezekiel 36:26). From it flows the desire to beat in rhythm with the Savior's heart. One man with such a heart was Oswald J. Smith, a Canadian pastor and author popular for his writings and sermons between 1910 and 1989. He lived a long life. He had a good heart. One day recognizing his heart was not true, he prayed:
"Lord, here are my hands; I consecrate them to Thee. May they never touch anything that would dishonor Thee. May they never go where Thou wouldst not be seen. Lord, here are my eyes; may they never look upon anything that would grieve the Holy Spirit. May my ears never listen to anything dishonoring to Thy name. May my mouth never be opened to speak a word that I would not want Thee to hear. May my mind never retain a thought nor an imaginaČtion that would dim the sense of Thy presence." [1]
What came from Smith's heart blessed one and all and gave glory to God. There was no hatred, no vile words, and no unkind acts. He had no political agenda; he had a heart transformed to serve within the Kingdom of God. Oswald went on to have a very successful ministry. His many writings and unforgettable sermons led many away from wandering away from the God they loved. His readers and listeners were moved to cultivate hearts steadfast to their true love, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Another story, equally compelling, took place in Europe around 1720.

As a young man, Count Von Zinzendorf visited an art gallery in Germany. Admiring the various, priceless paintings, he was suddenly transfixed by one. As the curator of the art gallery made his rounds, he noticed this young man gazing intently at that painting hour after hour. Finally, when it came time to close the gallery, the young Count was still there.

At last the curator went to him and put his hand on his shoulder. He was about to tell him that he must leave when he saw tears streaming down the young man's cheeks. There in front of von Zinzendorf was a magnified painting of the slain Lamb of God, beneath which were the words, "All this I did for thee. What hast thou done for Me?" Before that painting of the crucified Christ, the Holy Spirit spoke; and Nicolaus von Zinzendorf from that day had a broken heart. [2]

The Bible teaches a true heart is a broken heart. It is good soil because it is broken ground, prepared to receive the seed of life. Humility comes from the root word humus, meaning a dark and cultivated soil ideal for planting seed. I like the picture because in Matthew 13 Jesus talks about the good (broken) soil of the heart enabling it to hear and receive the good seed of God's Word (Matthew 13:23).

How do you receive a broken heart? It is a work of God every true person born again endures for a season. Got Question writes,
David reminds us that the only path to forgiveness is a broken heart and a humble spirit (Matthew 5:3). When we throw ourselves on the mercy of God, He delights to lift us up (Luke 18:13-14). When we openly acknowledge our sin against God, turn from it, and cry out for cleansing, God promises that He will hear us and forgive (1 John 1:9). (Source)
In closing and for the believer, the struggle to keep the heart undefiled is real; but when the heart is true our reward is rest, peace and joy in Christ (Colossians 1:27). To stay true, we are led daily to drink freely from the deep pool of never-ending grace and forgiveness, and then walk the path of righteousness for His name sake (Psalm 23).

What is a true heart? It is a heart that is broken, broken from self, and offered up to God. [3]

1. Oswald J. Smith; "Make me a Man after thine Own Heart."
2., 3. Joseph S. Carroll; "A True Heart."

Image Credit: Modman; untitled; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Salvation  |  Biblical-Truth  |  God-Father

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Published 6-26-17