My Heart Problem

I have a heart problem and no prescription or physical exercise is going to remedy the situation.

I am, of course, speaking spiritually, not physically.  Physically I probably actually have a heart flutter now.  But whatever issue I have been experiencing with my physical heart isn’t as concerning to me as to what has been happening  with my spiritual heart.

Is my transparency making you feel uncomfortable?  Be glad you are not walking in my shoes.  But maybe you are.  And maybe this admission will help you in your spiritual journey.

When did you lose some of your passion?  Can your pin point the event or series of events which led to your zeal for Christ and the things of Christ beginning to diminish?  I think I can. My heat was first dampened while we still lived in Las Vegas.  A couple of years ago another experience caused me again to walk two steps backwards for every one step forward.  The day-in-day-out reality of living paycheck to paycheck has taken a toll. Part of my issue is surely related to the health issues I have had over the past several years.  On this side of  glory, there is definitely a connection between the physical and the spiritual.

But aren’t these simply excuses for spiritual slothfulness?

Perhaps.

Or, is it possible to experience declension in your spiritual life while still trying to  pursue both an objective and subjective relationship with the Lord?

Honestly, I think both are probably true of me.  I’ve been a bit slothful.  And, I have also been striving to renew my mind through times in God’s Word and by listening to sermons by men who  are faithfully serving Christ.  In other words, while I have not chosen to personally pursue my relationship with Jesus with fervor I once had, I have labored to set my mind on things above.  Furthermore, I have attempted to honor Him in my private and public life.  I even still pray, believing that God both hears and answers the prayers of His people.

You might ask: So, why are you concerned?

I know my heart.

I remember the heat.  My mind recalls the vigor I had as a young believer while I was at Bryan College.  Then I think back to how I sought the Lord with energy during my first several years of pastoral ministry.

“For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival” (Ps. 42:4).

If those words are not familiar to you, allow me to describe the context.  The author is experiencing a form of spiritual despair.  He is discouraged when he considers both the internal and external.  In the verse above, he is admitting his internal struggle.  Later, he will recount the external situation causing him distress.  In short, it was a difficult time.  He was not where he once was. He was not where he wanted to be.

And that’s when he began to talk to himself.

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence” (Ps. 42:5).

I love how he isn’t afraid to admit that he is struggling.  I also appreciate the fact that he actually knows the cure for what ails him.  That is true of me.  It’s probably true of you.

Hope is medicinal.

The events of life which come sifted through the hands of Providence can wear us down.  The challenges we face and the failures we experience can leave us exhausted on every level.  Hope fades. Joy flees.  We lose the will to fight. But fight is what we must do.  We must fight the good fight.

“Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6:12).

In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul equates the good fight with keeping the faith.  He fought.  He believed.  He kept fighting.  He kept believing.  He fought to the end.  He believed to the end.  Victory!

Do you envision the Apostle Paul facing his execution with hope?  Do you imagine that he possessed joy as he transitioned from life on earth to life in glory!  You know that he did!

Isn’t that what you want to do as well?  I sure do!  So the fight continues.  Faith continues.  Hope continues.  And when it fades, I, too, preach to myself.  If you are struggling a bit at this particular period of your life as I am, join me in the preaching:

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence” (Ps. 42:5).

 

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