Today’s Reading: Mark 7:1-23 (additional reading: Psalm 40:11-17 & Proverbs 10:13-14)

The life of holiness is a battleground. It starts in the heart. Henry Ward Beecher said “The world’s battlefields have been in the heart chiefly; more heroism has been displayed in the household and the closet, than on the most memorable battlefields in history.”  YOUR heart and everything else is a reflection of our heart. Heart in Scripture is used in various ways. Sometimes it means our reason or understanding, sometimes our affections and emotion, and sometimes our will. Generally it denotes the whole soul of man and all its faculties, not individually, but as they all work together in doing good or evil. The mind as it reasons, discerns, and judges; the emotions as they like or dislike; the conscience as it determines and warns; and the will as it chooses or refuses – are all together called the heart.  Mark 7:21-23 “21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,

22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’”  You see? It doesn’t get much clearer than that. But Paul adds another dimension when he describes the struggle for holiness in our hearts in Romans chapter 7.

Listen to Jeremiah 17:9-10. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”

The heart must be the principal point to which we attend in all the relations between God and our souls. What is the first thing we need, in order to be Christians? A new heart. What is the sacrifice God asks us to bring to him? A broken and a contrite heart. What is the true circumcision? The circumcision of the heart. What is genuine obedience? To obey from the heart. What is saving faith? To believe with the heart. Where ought Christ to dwell? To dwell in our hearts by faith.

C.H. Spurgeon wrote: “You must keep all earthy treasures out of your heart, and let Christ be your treasure, and let Him have your heart.” God doesn’t value the service of men if the heart be not in it: The Lord sees and judges the heart; He has no regard for outward forms of worship, if there be no inward adoration, if no devout affection be employed. It is therefore a matter of infinite importance, to have the whole heart engaged steadfastly for God.

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