According to the American Heart Association, “71,300,000
American adults [have] one or more types of cardiovascular
In fact, coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in
America. In like manner, the number one destroyer of Christians
today is spiritual heart disease. As we fight our battle against
Satan, he is taking aim for our hearts. Sadly, it is easy to get
distracted by symptoms and work solely on band-aid solutions when
the real problem is in the heart (Acts
8:21). Sin is almost always a manifestation of spiritual
heart disease and until the heart is fixed, nothing else will
Seven deadly diseases of the heart.
3:12, the Israelites lacked faith in God’s power and
promises. Because of their doubt, they tested God, complained
against God and turned to idolatry. Moses could have taught
against murmuring, rebellion and idolatry, but the root problem
was a heart problem. They had doubting hearts. How many of our
sins are caused because of doubt?
23:27-28 shows that the Pharisees tried to clean up their
actions enough to look righteous. However, they allowed all manner
of impurity to remain in their hearts. As Peter taught, they had
hearts trained in evil practices (II
Peter 2:14). As Paul taught in Ephesians
2:1-3, when we were in the world, we were trained in evil.
Jesus could simply have listed the actions of the Pharisees and
taught against them, like devouring widows’ houses. But, the
real problem was a heart problem. They had dirty, unclean hearts.
How many of our sins come because we allow uncleanness in our
5:5 rebukes the wealthy oppressors because their hearts
had been fattened by pleasure and luxury. Their hearts were
distracted from God because they were focused on material goods.
Jesus described this in Matthew
6:19-21. Those who are distracted by material goods will
find their hearts bound up in this world. James could have
condemned those men for being oppressive. But, he pointed out that
the real problem was a heart problem. They had distracted hearts.
How many of our sins are based out of a distracted heart?
15:3-9, Jesus said these people honored God with their
lips, but their hearts were far from Him. Their hearts were
distant from God because they were stuck on themselves, doing what
they wanted to do. Amazingly, they did not say, “Who cares about
God’s law?” Instead, they looked at the law of God, read it to
go along with what they wanted and then acted as if they were
serving God. They deceived themselves. Jesus could have simply
condemned the Pharisees for not honoring their parents. But the
root issue was a heart issue. They had distant hearts. How many of
our sins come because we deceive ourselves into believing we are
following God, when really our hearts are distant from Him?
speaks of this disease twice in II
Corinthians 4:1, 16, saying that he and his companions had
avoided it. It is also mentioned in Galatians
6:9, when Paul said we should not grow weary of doing
good. The discouraged heart is one that simply gets tired of
fighting the good fight and keeping the faith. It sees the pain we
endure, the rejection we face, the injustice with which we are
treated and simply wants to back off and blend in. Paul could
rebuke these Christians for being like the world. But the real
problem was a heart problem. These people had discouraged hearts.
How many of our sins are caused by discouragement?
speaks of this disease in I
John 3:17. One brother sees another in need, but closes
off his heart against him. His heart is without feeling and
compassion—it is dead. This disease is different from the others
in that it more directly relates to our relationship with one
another. But it also impacts our relationship with God. As John
further reveals in I
John 4:20-21, we cannot claim to love the Lord, if we do
not love our brethren. John could simply rebuke these Christians
for being materialistic. But the real problem is a heart problem.
These Christians had dead hearts. How many of our sins come
because we have closed our hearts?
disease is spoken of more than any other. It is called the
uncircumcised heart, the impenitent heart, the blind heart, the
hardened heart. When any of the other heart diseases are allowed
to continue for any length of time, this disease will creep in. It
is the heart that has become so affected by disease that it is not
to be penetrated by the Word of God. In fact, the preaching of the
word, instead of curing this disease makes it even more diseased.
Jesus spoke specifically of this in Matthew
13:14-15. When you read the original context of this quote
6:9-10, you find that the preaching of God’s truth was
actually dulling the people’s eyes, ears and hearts. Because
they were erecting their defenses, they learned how to ignore the
heart prick of God’s word. The more it was preached, the more
they defended themselves, dulling their hearts to God’s pleas.
These people could be rebuked for so many sins. But the root
problem is a heart problem. They had dull hearts. How many of our
sins continue because we have dulled our hearts to God’s
Overcoming these diseases.
must ask God to cleanse our hearts.
51:10, David sought God’s cleansing. The reality is,
without God we are destined to die of heart failure. But God will
work in us and with us to cleanse, purify and heal our hearts.
Further, we must constantly seek God’s strength and help to
maintain that purity asking God to incline our hearts away from
evil and to His will (Psalm
141:4; I Kings 8:58).
must start with the heart.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they did not concern
themselves with cleansing the heart. The extent of their work was
on making the outside look good (Matthew
23:25-26). But before the outer man will truly be pure, we
must purify the inward man.
must have purpose of heart.
11:23, Paul encouraged the brethren to have “purpose of
heart” (NKJV). We must purpose in our hearts to do what is
right. We must make plans to do what is right. Too often, heart
disease continues because people never make plans about how to
live, they simply live in the moment and do whatever they feel
like doing right then.
must have singleness of heart.
2:46, the early disciples were described as having
singleness (KJV) of heart. We cannot serve both God and mammon (Matthew
6:24). We cannot serve both God and anything. We must not
let our hearts be divided between two masters, but devote our
hearts wholly, singly, simply and sincerely to God (Matthew
must spend time in the Word of God.
According to Ephesians
6:14, the breastplate of righteousness protects our
hearts. But righteousness comes from the discipline of God’s
Timothy 3:16-17). Further, faith, which overcomes doubt
and discouragement, comes by hearing God’s word (Romans
10:17). We will never cure heart disorders separate from
the Bible. Colossians
1:9-12 demonstrates that God strengthens us through
must renew our hearts.
Instead of having a heart that is fashioned after and trained by
the world, we are to be different, transformed by the renewing of
our minds (Romans
12:1-2; Ephesians 4:20-24). Acts
13:22 describes David, providing the picture of what we
need to do with our hearts. We must fashion our hearts after
God’s. We must think as God thinks, view things as God views
things and maintain the standards that God maintains.
must filter what goes into our hearts.
7:18-23 said that the foods people eat do not matter
because they enter the stomach, not the heart. This demonstrates
that we do need to be concerned regarding what goes into our
hearts, because what goes into our heart will come out (Proverbs
4:8 provides great advice for what we should allow to
enter our hearts—things that are true, lovely, virtuous,
must open our hearts to one another.
Corinthians 7:2, Paul directed the Corinthians to open
their hearts to them. We are to accept one another (Romans
15:5-7). That is we should have feeling for one another,
compassion for one another, comforting one another. We should be
looking out for one another. As Paul said in Philippians
2:3-4, we should view others as more important than
ourselves, looking out for their interests. Further we need to be
encouraging each other, helping each other overcome the diseases
of the heart (Hebrews
Heart disease is the number one killer in America—but
spiritual heart disease is the number one killer in Christ’s
church. May God strengthen us to overcome, making our hearts
whole. May we incline our hearts to God and grab hold of His
promises without doubting.
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ