Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Heart of the Human Problem is the...

... problem of the human heart” -J. John.

For the man who is widely acclaimed to be the wisest ever (save Jesus), certainly in Biblical tradition, King Solomon certainly proved the above saying correct. The Bible tells us that though he sought wisdom initially, Solomon turned from God towards the idols that his 700 wives and 300 concubines had brought before him (1 Kings 11:3-4) and so God became angry with Solomon as his heart had turned away (11:9).

How is that someone who started out so well, having been gifted a wish from God in a dream--and having chosen to ask for “a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong,” which revealed a true fear of the LORD--would turn aside to the superficial and transitory? (See 1 Kings 3:1-15.) The affair with Bathsheba and the sin that followed was another example (2 Samuel 11).

The trappings of life on earth and our own desires; that’s what deceives us. Imagine having 1,000 women... mmm, blessing or curse? Sure would make life terribly complicated. Solomon, it’s said, had more riches than anyone had ever had before. This too would have made his life more complicated and would have given him over to more temptation.

When we look to the Bible to guide us on these things, we find Proverbs. One of the more literal translations of Proverbs 4:23[1] goes like this:

“More than all else you guard, watch your heart, for out of it, [come] the surges of life.”
Moreover, “from it (the heart) [are] the goings of life.”[2] The heart is our life source. Whatever is present in our speech and behaviour, and in the representation of our body language, and use of our eyes, ears, mouths, and lips etc, all stems from our hearts.

The general message of Proverbs 4 is to “get wisdom” and to seek it with all one’s heart--as if nothing else were more valuable--to protect and preserve one’s spiritual life. We’re to have ‘tunnel’ vision in this way, not swerving to the right or left on our way.

I am Christian like so many others. And yet I know my heart--apart from God--is rotten through. Paul said in Romans 7:15-16 he cannot help himself, at times, in doing the wrong things, whilst striving earnestly to do what is right.

We are not saved from sinning but we’re made right in our dependence upon God, to gain practical wisdom and discernment, through relationship with the Saviour, Jesus--the author and perfector of our faith. It is with him and only with him that we can think and act with pure hearts.

People who are captive to sin (and cannot surrender to God) betray their own hearts and defeat themselves. And this is an absolute fact for all of us. Salvation is a continual process.

We must always continue to grow in our journey with God, by daily surrendering our hearts to him, or we delude ourselves. Fortunately, surrender is a process learned and mastered better the more we do it.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

[1] Roland E. Murphy, Proverbs - Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998), p. 26.
[2] Ibid, p. 28.
[3] Ibid, p. 28.

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