It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. Hebrews 13:9
The words in the title of this devotional appeared on the front page of a catalog advertising nutritional supplements. The company was trying to convince people to value their heart enough to buys their supplements that supposedly nourished and strengthened the heart. They, of course, were talking about the physical heart. Doctors often encourage us to exercise and even to take baby aspirin to protect and strengthen the heart.
But what about our spiritual heart? We’ve been talking about being holy as God is holy. Do we love our heart enough to have it cleansed from sin and then maintain it so it remains healthy?
Our spiritual heart is very unhealthy by nature. Jeremiah says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We can praise the Lord, however, because He has made a “cleansing agent” available, and that of course, is the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Our own efforts to cleanse our heart and clean up our life are futile. Again in Jeremiah we read, Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign Lord (Jeremiah 2:22). So, we must repent of our heart’s wickedness and believe that God can wash our heart and make it healthy and new, just as David wanted in Psalm 51.
Lest we think that repentance is only a one-time thing we have to do when we first come to Christ, we need to remember that we continue to struggle with a sinful nature. We still stumble and fall from temptation and we need to come back and repent of that, asking God to purify us again. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all righteousness – – again! That’s how much He loves us.
If we really love our heart, we will want it to stay healthy and fit for heaven. We need a spiritually balanced diet, or our heart will revert to its unhealthy condition. The Bible provides that kind of a diet. Jeremiah says, When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight (Jeremiah 15:16). Let’s not be picky eaters when it comes to the Word of God. We need to take in all of God’s Word. We’re not only talking about obedience to what God wants of us, but to set our minds and hearts on God’s promises for us. Then, just as we need to physically exercise to keep our heart strong, we also need to spiritually exercise by putting into practice the truth we receive. This exercise will strengthen our heart.