“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NKJV)
You’re driving along the highway … listening to some good music … maybe just enjoying the quiet and looking at the beautiful scenery. Then it happens … the automobile’s dreaded check engine light comes on … and it just stays on!
You can’t ignore it or you may risk destroying the vehicle. It becomes unnerving, unsettling, and just plain worrisome! You wonder what’s wrong … can it be repaired … and what’s it going to cost?
You will probably pull over to the side of the road or find a parking lot somewhere to gather your thoughts … and then … you open the glove box and find the manual for the vehicle. Then you begin to look … read … analyze.
And if you are like most of us you are already thinking about who you can call for some input and advice. And not just anyone … someone who knows something about vehicles, engines, and such like. You call or talk with someone you feel like you can trust!
In the same way, our lives can flash a ‘check engine’ light and it means we need to stop and look within ourselves to see what the source of the engine light is. Sometimes our hearts are just not right … something needs to be adjusted and maybe even replaced.
- Has sin in your life been working its magic and interfering with the flow and regularity of your prayers?
- Do you find your faith easily winded and weakening in the face of evil, suffering, heartache, sin?
- Perhaps you are experiencing in your own heart and life an almost numbing, insensitivity to discern between what is good and what is evil … what is right and what is wrong!
- Do you catch yourself listening to music or watching programs, movies with profanity-laced throughout and just write it off with “I can just overlook this or that?”
- Can we really afford to just overlook that which is evil?
The fact is, just as the check engine light in your vehicle is warning you something is not working or functioning right … so it is that your heart might be trying to warn you that you are approaching the danger zone of full-blown spiritual cardiac arrest!
The auto manufacturer gives some pretty good advice when the check engine light or other warning lights come on. You might be lucky enough to have friends who won’t rest until they help you solve the problem.
God gives us some specific instructions to heed and apply in order to keep our spiritual hearts healthy. And we may be fortunate enough to have friends who will help us to get better.
Among a number of self-help checkpoints found in the Bible that will determine the health of our hearts would include …
- Our thoughts (Proverbs 23:7). So what do we think about and what are we allowing to make its way into our hearts? As Solomon admonishes us, we must be diligent about “…guarding our heart.” (Proverbs 4:23)
- Our speech (Proverbs 18:21a). Our tongues do much more than just reveal what’s in our hearts … our speech can spark discord, ill-will, negative thoughts about others … and it can certainly discourage those within earshot who hear our words. How can a child of God allow himself or herself to employ the use of profanity … any time! See James 3:5-6; Matthew 12:34-35.
- Our money (Matthew 6:19-21). It is Jesus who speaks to the truth that our hearts (yours and mine) are shaped by how we view and spend our money! The entries in your online checking account are just like the directions on a map that ultimately lead one to find out where one’s treasure really is!
- Our lack of desire to read God’s Word.
- If we are not open to admonitions from God, His Book, and even His people that are honest and true … the check engine light of our heart is on. Don’t be like some who just place a piece of black tape over the light on the dash … because much more serious are the spiritual ramifications and consequences if we do so figuratively with our spiritual heart! James admonishes us to be “easily entreated”… “approachable”… “teachable.” (James 3:17)
The wise man understood, but he didn’t always apply that which he knew to be right, “guard your heart with all diligence.” (Proverbs 4:23). We are to “guard our heart above all else.” (NLT)
My friends … the outcome of your entire life and my entire life depends on just how well we obey this order! As the old hymn teaches, ‘Purer in heart, O God, help me to be…’
When the check engine light comes on, the vehicle is connected to a piece of diagnostic equipment to get the codes for what may be wrong, and we then must consider what the mechanic reveals to us. When we undergo a stress test, our heart is connected to equipment to diagnose how well it is functioning, and then we must consider what the physician reveals to us.
How about spiritually? Is there any spiritual malady that the Great Physician can’t help us with and heal us?
Maybe … just maybe … it’s time for you to undergo a spiritual diagnostic stress test!
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” (Luke 5:31-32, NKJV)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.
Note: Daily Bible study, meditation, reflection will go a long way towards helping our hearts to be spiritually healthy!