A Gospel Heart
DON'T we often consider that our heart represents our deepest affection and feelings? Then, we want to watch closely just what occupies our hearts. Sometimes it seems that we give careful attention to externals in our lives while giving little care to what is really occupying the heart. Yet it is what's in the heart that counts, as the Bible makes clear in Proverbs, where we read, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.In the New Testament, Christ Jesus tells us of the necessity of giving careful attention to what our hearts contain. Matthew's Gospel records Jesus as saying, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. In order to cherish and cultivate "the good treasure of the heart we need to know just what is in the heart. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "We should examine ourselves and learn what is the affection and purpose of the heart, for in this way only can we learn what we honestly are. Yet many find it not so easy to know how to occupy the heart with good. In the life of Jesus, we find a model that is unfailing. The gospel words and works of this man interpret the eternal, rocklike truths of God and man in ways understandable and meaningful to us in our lives today. We've made a good start when we occupy our hearts with Jesus' teachings and example. Indeed, didn't Christ Jesus come to leave on record the true story of God and of His powerful, healing presence with man? Think for a moment what an accurate understanding of God means to us, as opposed to not really knowing what God is like. Knowing, for example, that God is Love itself can provide us with an anchor for our own inner man. Since God is the real origin of goodness and love, our own efforts to be loving and kind have a strong foundation. Our own patient, considerate treatment of ourselves and others evidences a heart that is moving in the right direction. On the other hand, a heart absorbed in self-seeking and material gain is on the wrong track. Understanding that God is infinite Spirit enables us to let unselfishness and spirituality dominate our affections. The Bible, especially the New Testament, overflows with values drawn directly from the nature of God. These are what we want to give ground to in our hearts. When Jesus taught such things as forgiveness, charity, meekness, humility, unselfishness, and gratitude, he was doing much more than laying out some niceties of human behavior. This man was the Way-shower, or the Messiah. He was teaching us the perfection of man's natural, spiritual sonship with God. Mary Baker Eddy's discovery of Christian Science grew out of her heart's conviction that the gospel message left by Jesus was founded on divine law, on the eternal realities of God's creating and caring for man. She proved that the gospel values, accepted wholeheartedly, protect us morally and physically. The nature of God and the sureness of the moral values coming from His nature never change. So, although human circumstances vary greatly, the values within the gospel will guide our hearts in any circumstance, in any age. It's not possible to go halfway in our efforts to live with a gospel heart, but when we apply ourselves wholeheartedly to understanding and living more of what Jesus said and did, we'll make the message our own. This makes for the strongest heart!