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Spiritually speaking, we are all born with a serious heart condition. Jeremiah 17:9 declares, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” Now here’s the good news. At the moment of your salvation that old sinful heart was crucified—put to death. Your hardened, calloused, and rebellious heart of stone was removed, and God gave you a new heart. You’ve had a total heart transplant.
Now that you have been given that new heart—you must “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Welcome to today’s episode of the Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. In this episode we dive into God’s Word to discover how to prevent a Spiritual Heart Attack.
When I think about a massive heart attack, I usually imagine someone suddenly clutching their chest and collapsing. I’m sure you know that a heart attack of any proportion is not something to play around with; every second matters in getting the proper treatment and saving a life.
I am told that a heart attack occurs because the circulation of blood to the heart muscle is blocked. If that blockage is not rapidly opened, heart tissue will die from a lack of oxygen, resulting in permanent heart damage and life-threatening problems.
I am also told that the prevention of a heart attack is fairly straightforward. Don’t smoke, don’t use tobacco, exercise regularly, eat a heart-healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, get enough quality sleep, and see your doctor for regular health screenings.
OK, so in a podcast about sexual purity, why open with a dialogue on heart attacks?
Spiritually speaking, we are all born with a serious heart condition. Jeremiah declared (Jeremiah 17:9), “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” When God looked at man’s condition (in Gen 6:5 we read), “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Jesus said (Mark 7:21-22) that it is “from within, out of the heart of man come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride (and) foolishness.”
Solomon, in all of his God-given wisdom acknowledged that “as (a man) thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). In other words, the condition of your heart determines the condition of your life. This is evidenced by the fact that (as Psalm 53:1 says) “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’... as a result (the verse goes on to say), he is “corrupt, doing abominable iniquity.” You see, the condition of your heart determines the condition of your life.
If you have come to a point in your life where you have acknowledged your heart condition—your state of sinful rebellion against God—and you have confessed your sinfulness before God, believing in your heart that Jesus died on the cross of Calvary to pay the price for your sinful and rebellious heart, then God Himself says you are saved (Acts 16:31)!
Now here’s the exciting news: At the moment of your salvation that old sinful heart was crucified—put to death (Galatians 2:20). Your hardened, calloused, and rebellious heart of stone was removed, and God gave you a brand-new heart (Ezekiel 11:19). You’ve had a total heart transplant. Isn’t that fantastic?
Not too long ago, a friend of ours went through a heart transplant. Since having this new heart, she has had to permanently change some aspects of her life. For the rest of her life there are certain things she has to stay away from. Things that can do severe damage to her new heart. As a result, she has to eat a proper diet, she must do certain exercises, she must take periods of rest, she must also take certain medications, and she must see her doctor regularly.
In a similar way, once you have become a born-again believer—once you have been given that new heart, that spiritual heart transplant—you must (Proverbs 4:23) “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Let me repeat that: you must “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
OK, so let’s dive into God’s Word and discover how to maintain a healthy “heart” so we can live a “healthy” life that glorifies God in everything we think, say, and do.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about Sunday’s. Specifically, about going to church on Sunday’s. Why am I there? What is the purpose? What is my goal? How do I know and measure whether or not I achieved that goal? As I walk through the doors and join others at church in corporate worship of God, I understand that my physical body is here to worship – I mean, that’s quite obvious - but is my heart?
In Isaiah 29:13 God says, “This people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men.” Does that describe you, my friend? Are you drawing near to God with your mouth and honoring Him with you lips (singing the songs, reading the Scriptures, listening to the message) while your heart is far from Him? Are you “worshipping God” simply because that’s what a good Christian is supposed to do?
James urges you to “draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8) Is your heart pure as you draw near to God Almighty?
If you listened to Episode 28 of our podcast, you heard me remind you that every day is to be a day of worship. The Psalmist declares, “This is the day that the Lord has made.” (Psalm 118:24) Today – this day, this moment - we are to rejoice and be glad in it. Today – right here and right now - we are to make every moment, every thought, every word, every action all about glorifying God (1 Corinthians 10:31). So, today – right here and right now, no matter what day of the week it is, no matter what time of day it is, as you worship, your purpose – your goal, in that worship, must be to draw near to God.
You see, the intention of “worship” is not for you to “go and get” but to “come and give.” It’s not about you going to God so you can get something from God; but rather to come boldly before God’s throne of grace to give of yourself and all you are to the One who gave it all for you. We should be able (and willing) to say along with David, (Psalm 73:28) “For me, it is good to be near God!”
Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace.” How are you doing with that? In fact, we are given the promise in James 4:8 that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. This is what worship is all about my friend —glorifying Him “in the splendor of (His) holiness” (Psalm 29:2). Understand though, that will happen only as you seek first His kingdom in your heart and His righteousness in every aspect of your life (Matthew 6:33).
However, God also made it abundantly clear in Leviticus 21:18 that “no one who has a blemish shall draw near” (to God). In other words, when I hold on to sin in my heart, when I refuse to remove King Me from the throne of my heart, when I choose not to submit to the Lordship and Leadership of my Heavenly Father in every part of my life ... drawing near to God means nothing—my praise and my worship are worthless (Psalm 66:18). I must first cleanse my hands and purify my heart (James 4:8). Otherwise, I am just another person who pretends to draw near to God on the outside, while on the inside my heart is far from Him. Does that describe you?
Consider this: If “the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart” are going to “be acceptable in (God’s) sight” (Psalm 19:14), then I must begin by crying out: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10)!
So, I ask you: What is the condition of your heart right now? Do you have unconfessed sin? Have you been sexually impure this past week with your mind? Have you done things that were even slightly improper sexually? Is there (as Ephesians 5:3 says) “even a hint of sexual impurity”? Drawing near to God always requires us to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean.” (Hebrews 10:22)
So again, I ask, as you choose to worship God today, as you choose to worship your Creator in this moment, are you drawing near with your mouth and honoring Him with your lips, yet your heart is not right with Him?
Consider this as you worship God throughout the day today: You must draw near to your Heavenly Father specifically to listen to what He wants to say to you rather than to offer Him your thoughts, your desires, and your requests. Ecclesiastes 5:1 says, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools.” As Psalm 46:10 puts it, “Be still and know that I am God.” Why? Because (Habakkuk 2:20) “the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” God is not here for you, my friend, no – quite the opposite. “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) And Colossians 1:16 reminds us that “all things were created through him and for him.”
So, I strongly urge you, I challenge you, don’t be like the men described in Ezekiel 33:31-32. Men who “Come to (God), as they usually do, and sit before (God) to listen to (His) words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them (God is) nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear (God’s) words but do not put them into practice.” (Ezekiel 33:31-32)
Our attention for this episode (and the next) is focused on how to prevent a spiritual heart attack. A person who physically has had a heart transplant is instructed by their doctor to stay away from certain things if they want their heart to be (and remain) healthy.
As a born-again believer you have been given a heart transplant. Jeremiah 24:7 says that God has given you a heart to know Him. Ezekiel 11:19 says God has removed your stony, stubborn heart and given you a tender, responsive heart. As your Great Physician, God Himself, has given you a similar instruction—if you want your spiritual heart to remain healthy, there are certain things you must always stay away from. For example, (1 Thessalonians 4:3) “This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.” Could the Savior of your soul be any clearer? To protect your spiritual heart, totally abstain from what Peter called the “passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11)
When you look at porn, when you lust in your heart, when you fantasize and masturbate, when you look with your eyes and linger, and when you allow your thoughts to dwell on sexual impurity - you are injecting your new heart with a terrible poison. You are training your heart to focus on and yield to the sinful desires of the flesh instead of the godly desires of the Spirit.
To abstain from something means you are restraining yourself from indulging in that which—although giving the appearance of being good for you—can be harmful to your well-being. Think about that for a moment. To abstain from something requires effort. To abstain means you are forcibly holding yourself back from doing something your flesh wants. Paul describes it as an ongoing battle that made him absolutely miserable (Romans 7:15-25). That battle is a battle that you and I also fight—one to which we must never give in.
The reality is: your flesh will always crave pleasure. This is because your flesh is still governed by sin. Paul said, (Romans 7:18) “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” In fact, when you listen to what the flesh wants, when you choose to give in to the sinful desires of the flesh, you will always yield to “sexual immorality, impurity, (and) sensuality” (Galatians 5:19).
Jesus described the flesh as being weak (Matthew 26:41) and warns that the flesh is of no help at all (John 6:63). Romans 8:5 warns, when you live according to the flesh, your mind will be focused on what the flesh wants. When your mind is set on getting what the flesh wants, you are going against God. Romans 8:7 says you are hostile to God. And verse 8 warns that nothing you do will please him. In short, you are damaging your new heart.
Oh, my friend, take care of the new heart God has given you! Stay away—far, far away from lust, pornography, self-gratification, and all the other areas and aspects of sexual impurity. Don’t even let a hint of it into your life. The only way to ensure a healthy heart is to totally, unreservedly, and at all times abstain from sexual immorality, refusing to follow any form of the passions of the flesh.
If you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about our ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com (repeat)
One of those resources I would like to highlight for you here is my book entitled “Extreme Mind Makeover: How to transform sinful thoughts and habits into patterns of life pleasing to God.” This book takes you on a journey through the Bible to examine what God has to say about how your thoughts, words, and actions influence and impact your heart.
Jesus said, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33) Your thoughts bear fruit: your behavior. When you train your mind to think godly thoughts, the fruit of your life – the things you do day in and day out – will be godly. On the flip side, when you allow your mind to think sinful, fleshly, ungodly thoughts, the fruit of your life (your daily attitudes and actions) will be ungodly. So, how do I change the way I think? How do I change the things I do? How do I successfully and effectively guard my heart? This book, “Extreme Mind Makeover” takes you into God’s Word to help you answer those questions.
So go to our website, ThePurityCoach.com, and check out our resources page, or go directly to Amazon.com and purchase your copy of “Extreme Mind Makeover” today.
Thank you so much for listening to today’s podcast. If this has ministered to you, if this has blessed you, challenged you, or encouraged you I ask you to do two things. First of all – would you please let your friends know about The Point of Purity Podcast. Help us help men and women across the globe win their war for sexual purity and live in freedom.
Then second, and this is so important, please take a few seconds right now to go over to your favorite Podcast Player and rate our program and this episode – why? because every time you do, your rating lets them know this podcast is important, it is valuable, and your ratings helps us get this program and this ministry into the ears and hearts of people just like you. So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.