Sunday's sermon was on the subject "Developing a Heart for God." Our society is obsessed with physical appearance. But God has another standard. When Samuel was looking for a man to succeed Saul as King of Israel, God said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7). Whereas man places a high price on the externals God examines deep within that man for something more. Man judges one on the basis of one's appearance, but God critiques the heart.
In Biblical thought, the heart was the central organ that controlled all activities thus determining one's character of living. The heart housed the place where qualities worth having in our lives were first formed. The heart embodied the womb of character.
I. What will destroy a heart for God?
Our physical heart is positioned by God to provide protection from destructive external forces. Not so with the spiritual heart. It is susceptible to all kinds of harmful diseases and influences that might jeopardize its integrity.
A. Success. Success crowds our heart with things and the signs of accomplishments. It tends to puff up our heart with counterfeit accolades causing us to say "look what I have done."
B. Selfishness. Selfishness shrinks our heart to where there is room for only three - me, myself, and mine. It becomes grotesque and unable to face life because it alienates the needed life support of others.
C. Sloth. Sloth dries up the heart with inactivity, laziness, and lack of service. The heart is like love, it functions to maximum capacity as it pumps out service to others.
D. Sin. Sin hardens the heart to the things that really matter in life. The heart becomes blackened like a chain-smoker's lungs as it is separated from its life source, God Himself.
E. Stress. Stress breaks the heart by placing unnecessary demands on it. The heart crumbles under the pressure. It fails to recognize the power that has been made available to prevent anxiety.
Each destructive force is a disease that must be held in check.
Watch for another post later in the week on how to develop a heart for God.