The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart! Michael Green
What is the purpose of the heart of man? Other than sustaining life by providing the source of life, the blood, it is also the center of our spiritual formation. The heart is the battle ground for the search for truth, meaning, value and worth. But life seems to wear us down, wounding and compressing our hearts. Culture has redrafted the normality of life, telling us what we should be like, as Christians, as successful males, as “real” men. We compare ourselves to our neighbor, our competitor, our associates. We strive to meet the expectations of others, our bosses, our wives, our fathers, ourselves. The heart is in a constant battle for what is truth and what is not, threatened with disbelief, uncertainty, dullness. The heart is compressed and weakened by the challenges of life. And, it harbors the hurts and holds us hostage to the heaviness of past discretions and future concerns. Over time, our heart becomes hardened.
In Matthew 13:14-17, Jesus identified the “callousness” of the heart, a symptom of the waywardness of the leaders of the Jewish tradition. In Romans 1:21-24, Paul states that the people who know God have “exchanged” His glory and His truth for the worship and service of man-made gods. The new believers have traded the worship of the Creator for the worship of His creation. And, lastly, in Mark 7:20-23, Jesus clearly states the condition of the heart, from which “come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make the man ‘unclean’.
As disciples, we believe that the death of Jesus on the cross was sufficient to cleanse us of our sins, our transgressions against God. He was the ultimate sacrifice that was necessary for our communion with God. How do we experience this? By placing our sins, even the heavy, convicting issues that reside in the depth of the calloused, hardened heart. The area of the heart that we have apparently forgotten hoping the feelings and the guilt associated with the action would just go away! Or be subdued by some other agent, an idol we have created to help us handle the reality of our sin. Our objective is to become comfortably numb with the condition of the heart.
Guys, Jesus has done all the work necessary for relief on the cross. That is why the Friday before Easter is called “Good Friday”. Because His death and the shedding of His blood was a gift for us to relieve the pain and anguish of our sin…and for our eternal salvation. But we need to acknowledge this every day, not just once a year. We must learn that continually going to the cross with our deceit, our covetousness, our guilt, our envy, etc is necessary for the health of our hearts.
Hear the words of noted the noted 19th century theologian, Charles Spurgeon, in the sermon The Voice of the Blood of Christ :
My hearers, have you come to the blood of Christ? I do not ask you whether you have come to a knowledge of doctrine, or an observance of ceremonies, or of a certain form of experience; but I ask you if you have come to the blood of Christ. If you have, I know how you come. You must come to the blood of Christ with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you must come to that blood, and to that blood alone, for your hopes; you come to the cross of Christ and to that blood too, I know, with a trembling and an aching heart.
Do not let the history of a heavy heart hold you hostage to past sins. Allow the blood of Jesus, dripping at the foot of the cross, to heal the hurt, the hostility, the hatred, and the harassment of your wicked ways. Come to the cross for the help and the hope that nothing else can offer (…i.e. idols).
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
He (Jesus Christ) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only our sins but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2