Thursday, July 31, 2008

Purifying Your Heart

In her book, Spirituality for Dummies, Sharon Janis writes that one’s spiritual journey can be summed up in two phrases, “Purify your heart; follow your heart.” She suggests that exercises like prayer, meditation, yoga, contemplation, scriptural study, and various devotional rituals enable one to purify his/her heart and then follow the guidance of that pure heart.

While Janis’ formula may represent the thinking of many of the world’s religions, it runs strongly counter to the Christian view found in the Bible. Numerous biblical texts warn against the pitfall of “following your heart” because it is infected with sin and by nature will rebel against the holy standards of our Creator God. For example, Proverbs 14:12 declares, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

Psalm 14 presents a rather bleak picture of the human heart: “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside; they have together become corrupt.” No, the human heart is so filled with pride and selfishness that only God Himself can cleanse it.

To all those who come to God in repentance and humility, seeking forgiveness, He offers these promises: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow”; “For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”; “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Janis suggests we should follow our hearts because “dogma can muddy the waters of a spiritual path.” The truth is, the dogma of the Bible represents the only path to a purified heart and peace with God. You know the innate corruption in your own heart. Self-renovation doesn’t work; the grace of God through Jesus Christ is our only hope.