– Joseph Rozario (Bangalore, India)
One of the most precious commodities God has placed to achieve His purposes and to complete His agenda for us on this earth is “a heart within us”. As much as when he created the fish and the birds, the potential to swim and to fly was placed within the fish and the birds, so much the latent power was placed within man, within his heart to accomplish His intended goal. To make or mar one’s life, the crucial factor is not to be searched and seen outside but within our own selves. That is why the Bible exhorts every child of God to, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23. The antithesis for this is, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” – Jeremiah 17:9. It is believed that God governs human destiny. But there is a human responsibility of guarding our hearts with all diligence.
Apostle Paul, having described elaborately what God has done “IN” us in the first three chapters of Ephesians, and before proceeding to tell us what He plans to do “THROUGH” us, writes in his concluding verses (Eph.3:20), “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh IN us ”. THAT power to accomplish more than what we ask or think is placed within our hearts. Oh , what a power packed promise is this !
Our arch enemy, Satan, however wants to render us powerless, making us fall short of our full potential, by corrupting that fountain with sin, a divided heart , an unforgiving nature, etc. Many a times, we try to concentrate on our works. But our primary emphasis has to be the root, the source, the heart. When a pure and perfect heart is the origin, God can bless the following action: makes it easier and complete. A married life is only as good as a complete unreserved heart which was irrevocably surrendered at the time of pledging marital vows. Otherwise, al throughout, it is on a shaky foundation, leading to a lot of discontentment and disharmony. There is always hope, when a penitent prodigal son returns to the Father with a whole heart, no matter how often he has failed.
The principles of the Kingdom of God spoken on the mount, say much about the condition of our hearts before it deals with our actions. Jesus said, “ Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” – Mathew 5: 3 to 8. God is primarily concerned about our hearts before our actions.
God is looking for hearts which are complete and singular in purpose, deflated and depleted of all uncrucified ambitions and motives, disputes and controversies. We cannot surrender our heart in instalments and in parts to God.
In the midst of countless people all around you, God singles you out, earmarks you to discharge his power and promises towards you, because he finds in you a heart that is perfect towards him . “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him….II Chronicles 16:9.
To pull us down from that full potential life and level, the enemy does not use sin necessarily in our lives. Even a single thought is good enough to defile and deplete us. That is why when we come in the presence of God, God wants us to ensure that there are no dispute or quarrel with our brethren. “….if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” – Mt.5:23 & 24.
Apostle Paul warns us in this spiritual battle to “…Casting down imaginations and every thigh thinking…and to bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”. – II Corinthians 10:5.
Knowing fully well, that the contaminated thought life can defile that fountain, Paul writes, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”- Philippians 4:8. That state of mind emboldened him to write about the inerrant power within him, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.” – Philippians 4:13. Despite all the surrounding painful adversities in the Roman jail, it was this attitude that helped him to “Rejoice and tells us to rejoice “.
Before we engage ourselves in the Armageddon outside, we need to win this war within us. Before Daniel could be tested in a lion’s den, he was tested with the King’s delicacies. He voluntarily purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself (Daniel 1:8). And Daniel al throughout maintained his heart and as a result the fountain of life flowed from him. It became God’s business to preserve, protect, provide and empower him. God singled him out because of his heart that was perfect towards him. May our hearts, perfect towards Him, draw his attention to exhibit and exalt his name on high through us.