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February 23, 2014
Your Heart Is Not Right
“You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.” But Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.” (Acts 8:21-24)
Samaritans, including Simon of Samaria, heard the gospel, believed, and were baptized (Acts 8:5-13). The apostles, back in Jerusalem, heard about this and sent Peter and John to them to share with them the miraculous powers of the Spirit by prayer and the laying on of their hands (Acts 8:14-17). When Simon, now a believer, but one who had been astonishing the people of Samaria with his magic and claiming to be someone great, saw that this power which Philip had, which could be imparted to others by the apostles, wanted to buy that power (Acts 8:18,19). Peter told him that because his heart was not right that he had no part nor portion in this (Acts 8:19,20).
There is a fundamental truth here which is often ignored. The fact that Simon’s heart was not right tells us that it is possible for any to have a heart that is not right. His heart was not right because it was focused on material things rather than the spiritual things God intended. Any heart that seeks material above spiritual is not right.
That leads us to ask the question: “Is my heart right and is your heart right?” Recall the statement of Proverbs 23:6-7, “Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Sometimes we sing—“Have thine affections been nailed to the cross; is thy heart right with God?” Is it? It is important for us to know because God knows. Think of God’s words to Asa through the prophet Hanani: “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.” (2Chronicles 16:9).
Let us let God’s word speak to us of hearts that are not right and then also hearts that are His.
What kind of a heart is not right?
A heart that is evil and unbelieving is not right.
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. (Hebrews 3:12)
A heart that is deceived is not right.
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
A heart that is slow is not right.
And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25)
A heart that is trained in greed is not right.
… eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. (2Peter 2:14-15)
A heart that is hard is not right.
Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS …” (Hebrews 3:8)
On the other hand, it is possible to have a good heart.
A heart that is pure is right.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)
A heart that is of a gentle and quiet spirit is right.
Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. (1Peter 3:4)
A good heart is right.
But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. (Luke 8:15)
A believing heart is right.
… if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9,10)
An obedient heart is right.
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18)
A heart that is tender is right.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)
A heart that is not right can be purified by obedient faith (Acts 15:9; Romans 6:17). This is the process of becoming a Christian. Simon had already done this (Acts 8:12,13), so when Simon erred, he was told to repent and pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:22). This is the cleansing of James 4:8-10: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
We all must answer honestly, “Is your heart right with God?”
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.