The heart is a wonderfully complicated and mysterious thing. Yes, the biological heart, too. But I'm talking about the center of your being. Where your emotions, desires, and longings reside. Where you experience joy and pain, delight and suffering, and even those ever-so-deceiving desires, beliefs, and thoughts.
Remember what God said about the human heart (cf. Jeremiah 17:9)?
It's something Jesus addressed on the occasion when the religious leaders of his day angrily questioned why his disciples wouldn't wash their hands in accordance with their rituals, rules, and traditions (Which were not Scriptural, by the way). They thought that if they spent time in the marketplace, they might have touched a Gentile, and that touch would defile them. Hence, ceremonial handwashing. But as Jesus explained that external things don't defile a person (Mark 7:15, 18), he also clarified, "What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person" (Mark 7:20-23).
For Jesus, the matter was simple. Our hearts need renewal. Our hearts need transformation. Our hearts need him. Why? Because evil breeds within our very own hearts. Thankfully, Jesus does give us himself and he does give us new hearts -- promises he's fulfilled for us through the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). But even with new hearts, we still struggle. So, our ever-patient Jesus encourages us to continually examine our own hearts, just as Paul encourages us in 2 Corinthians 13:5.
How's your heart doing? Be encouraged this week to examine it introspectively. Is there anything within that needs the grace of your merciful God? Invite him into the process, confess to him, ask him to make you more like Christ, and enjoy his gentle embrace.
Scripture for Meditation
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).
Dear God, search my heart, and help me see the areas that need your gracious touch. Help me to be honest with you and with myself. Bring change where change is needed and shepherd me toward the way everlasting. Amen.