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Look to Your Heart

It's the heart of the matter.

Our Heavenly Calling (5)

“Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’”  Hebrews 3.10, quoting Psalm 95.10

The heart of the matter
How can we tell whether, in all our efforts to be faithful, we’re really on the path of that heavenly calling? Might we not be simply deceiving ourselves?

In fact, I suspect that a good many people who think they’ve begun to partake of that heavenly calling have never really considered Jesus or started being faithful to God through Him at all. They are indeed deceiving themselves if this is the case in their lives. So is there some place we can look, some reliable measure we can observe that will indicate whether we’re being truly faithful in this heavenly calling?

There is: Look to your heart.

In our passage, the writer contrasts people with two different hearts—two very different sets of attitudes and affections.

We’ve already begun to look at one of these. Those who partake of the heavenly calling are full of confidence and exuberance and rejoicing in boasting about the Lord. They demonstrate great eagerness in seeking the Lord, and they rejoice in the hope of glory He gives them. Those who partake of the heavenly calling are firm in their resolve and persistent in their path. They have pliable hearts, hearts that are being shaped and molded by God from within, and they are acquiring new affections that create in them a longing to please God and a growing desire to know and share in His ways.

This is the heart of those who partake of the heavenly calling. But what is the heart like of those who do not?

Hearts astray
Our writer mentions those whose hearts “go astray.” He is careful to note that these people were traveling along the same path with those who had good hearts and right attitudes. Forty years they had wandered together in the wilderness (v. 9), some with pliable hearts, and some with hearts that were hard (v. 8).

While for all intents and purposes, they looked like one journeying people of God, in fact they were not. And the difference was in the heart—the affections.

Those whose hearts had gone astray were complainers. They grumbled about everything. They didn’t want to do the hard work of learning God’s ways; they just wanted God to do for them whatever they needed.

Our writer says these people had evil and unbelieving hearts (v. 12). All that grumbling and grousing, and that indifference to God and His ways, revealed that they had never begun to partake of the heavenly calling; they were too busy pursuing whatever seemed best for them, and impatient with God for not meeting their needs on their schedule.

Our writer says that God was angry with those who had hard, complaining hearts, and who did not seek to know Him or His works as He had revealed them. These people, while still present among the people of Israel, sinned against God, and He allowed them to come to their deaths in the wilderness, without ever realizing the precious and very great promises of God in the land of Canaan.

The writer, quoting Psalm 95, urgently pleads with his readers to guard against the attitude of sin, unbelief, self-serving, and rebellion that characterized those who died in the wilderness.

We are not on the path that pleases God, and we have not begun to partake of His heavenly calling, if our attitudes reveal that we’re really more interested in ourselves and what we can get for ourselves, than in God and His promises, purposes, and will.

Those whose attitudes are not what they should be tend to justify themselves. They have plenty of good reasons why they’re always complaining or talking about themselves or finding fault with others—and with God. Those who have begun to partake of God’s heavenly calling, yet who find themselves from time to time slipping back or going astray into those old attitudes and ways, recognize their error at once, and repent of it immediately. They keep a close watch on their hearts (v. 12) and listen as the Spirit of God searches their attitudes and thoughts to expose and eliminate anything that should not be there (Ps. 139.23, 24). When they are shown to be straying from the Lord and His path, they quickly repent, amend their ways, and return to the Lord’s calling (Ps. 119.59, 60).

Look to your heart
Look to your own heart. Consider the kinds of attitudes you harbor throughout the day—toward your situation, the people around you, and God Himself. Are you all about yourself and your needs? Do you expect others to conform to your will and whims? Or are you all about the Lord, confident in Him, boasting about His goodness, and rejoicing in the hope of glory in which you stand?

Your heart will tell you whether you have truly begun to partake of the heavenly calling of God. And if you have not, it’s never too late to begin considering Jesus and getting on course with Him.

For reflection
1.  To what does the “heart” refer, and why does it matter so much?

2.  How does the heart function in the soul, say, in relation to the mind and the conscience?

3.  Meditate on Proverbs 4.23. How would you counsel a new believer to practice what Solomon advises?

Next steps—Preparation: Suggest some ways to monitor your attitudes and the condition of your heart throughout the day. Run these by some Christian friends for their response. Then, find a friend who’ll join you in practicing these disciplines. Meet regularly together to share and pray.

T. M. Moore

Two books can help you gain a better sense of what this heavenly calling entails. The first, What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth?, considers the work Jesus continues doing at the Father’s right hand. Order the book by clicking here or download the PDF here. The second book, The Landscape of Unseen Things, offers a detailed study of the teaching of Scripture on the unseen realm and why it matters for our heavenly calling. Order your copy of this workbook by clicking here.

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ReVision comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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