Translated by Allan Liang
People fear the novel coronavirus as it threatens to take away life, but there is a worse disease that is capable of taking away life forever. The coronavirus is capable of infiltrating cells, although it may be dealt with through medicine from extensive research. However, there is a disease that enters into the very “nucleus” of one’s being, deeper than one’s cells; furthermore, there is no cure to this disease! This disease is sin.
The “heart” mentioned by Jesus in verse 19 is not referring to the organ responsible for pumping blood through our body, it refers to one’s essential nature, the agency which exerts control over the person. Proverbs 4:23 says likewise; “guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Our hearts determine our thoughts, speech and actions, our opinions towards reality and our spontaneous judgements and decisions. The course of our lives is determined by our hearts. Consequently, what springs from our hearts is a good indicator of the condition of our hearts; the quality of water that flows from the spring is sufficient to tell whether the source contains good or poor water. Jesus said, “ for from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.” The prophet Jeremiah says, “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” (Jeremiah, 17:9) If we are to know our own hearts, we will know how sinful we are. If the source is unclean, how can the outpourings of it be clean? Let us examine what comes out of our hearts and we will understand the extent of its depravity.
“Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. (Psalms 24:3-4) God wills for man to have clean hearts, for only those with pure hearts will see the face of God (Mathew 5:8). How can we purify our hearts? The sin that has invaded the innermost layers of our beings cannot be expelled by any medicine or by any man made cure. Science has its boundaries. Only Jesus can cure our hearts! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Believe that Christ Jesus is your saviour, repent of your sins and Jesus will become the physician of your soul - he will remove the disease of sin, and purify your heart. He will give you a new heart, a pure heart.
For Christians, how can we, on the basis of Christ’s work, “guard our hearts”, so that it will not be infected? Firstly, we must be ever vigilant and flee from all evil. If we drink iniquities like water (Job 15:16), what we look at and what we listen to will surely have a devastating impact on us. Our ears and eyes are the gates to our hearts; all filthy, worldly, and counter-scriptural things will enter us through our ears and eyes and defile us. Even what we do and say will affect our hearts. The more we sin, the more unclean our hearts will become. Consequently, we must first place great distances between ourselves and anything that is impure. Secondly, we must actively and unceasingly use God’s Word to wash our hearts. We must spend time reading and familiarizing ourselves with God’s Word. We must use God’s Word to reflect upon our lives, and examine to see if there is anything in our life that is not consistent with Scripture. We must resolve for our lives to be transformed by God’s Word. This way, our hearts can always be sanctified and made pure.
Please meditate with prayer: What are you like as a person, what is your heart like? How can you be purified? How can you guard your heart against defilement?