Wednesday, 12 March 2014

How strong is your heart?

We seem to hear of more and more of people who suffer heart attacks at quite a young age. At 54 I'm sure that I am not alone in having contemporaries who had endured heart problems. It is never nice to see people of any age suffer in this way, but it is 'heartbreaking' to see children and young people suffer from the effects of having a weakness in their heart. It can affect the whole course of their lives, their opportunities and their potential if not treated effectively.

A strong heart is essential for a fully active life and whilst you can work around heart problems and 'limp on through' it would certainly not be anyone's first choice of lifestyle.

When Paul writes to the Thessalonian Christians he prays that they would experience (and by implication seek) God strengthening their hearts the spiritual equivalents of having a strong physical heart. When our heart is weak in the spiritual realm then our life in that realm is similarly weakened and poverty stricken. 

As in the physical, the spiritual impact of an untreated heart condition can be devastating, reducing the vitality of our walk with God, reducing of active participation with Him, causing us to 'disengage' at critical points in our journey because we simply have not got the heart for it!

Paul outlines a crucial area that is the first to weaken when the heart is not strong:

Yes, we are made holy by Jesus death for us, but the out working of this, the practical holiness, without which we will struggle to even see God, let alone follow Him and be co-workers with Him will be a very poor reflection of what Jesus has won for us. The quality of our lives will suffer, the vitality of our walk will suffer, the brightness of our witness will dim, our feelings of distance from God will deepen.... We will become a weak hearted follower, which will leave us with a broken hearted Father.

But, this need not be any cause for despair provided we realise that Paul isn't saying that we have to fix this, or perform some kind of spiritual open heart surgery, he is simply saying that we. We'd to seek God work on and in our weak heart. 

Approach Him with an admission of our need, identify that need - Lord , I need You to strengthen my heart, then step out in faith and live in the reality of God having done what you asked. In these kinds of areas that's how our faith and His faithfulness work together to a His glory and our benefit.

'May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.' (1 Thessalonians 3:13 NIV)