Healthy Hearts Are Focused Heavenward

Bible Book: Proverbs  4 : 23
Subject: Heart; Heaven, Focused on

We hear a lot these days about the importance of having a healthy heart. There is a plethora of advice from doctors, dieticians, and exercise specialists for those who want to develop or maintain cardiovascular health. Some people are very conscious of and conscientious about their health in general, and their heart health in particular, while others, myself included, though somewhat concerned about having a properly functioning heart, probably don’t treat it with the respect that is warranted.

Bad habits are easy to make, but extremely hard to break. Most of my life was spent growing up in the country. Eating cornbread, homegrown vegetables, and home-raised pork and beef was a normal part of my upbringing. We didn’t know, or even care much about healthy eating when I was a kid. As a matter of fact, much of what we ate was at that time, considered to be healthy; and whether it was healthy or not, it was what we had. So we thanked God for it, and ate it.

But while the health of our physical heart is important, our spiritual heart is even more important. What we are in our “heart of hearts” says a lot about our relationship with the Lord. While we should not ignore the general health of our physical heart, spiritually, we can ill afford to neglect or take lightly the attitude of our heart toward God.

How important is your relationship with God to you? Let’s get honest. With far too many of us, our walk with God occupies a place somewhere on the tail end of our list of priorities. You say, “But my time is limited. I have a lot of responsibilities: my job, my bills, and my family. I can’t just ignore all of them.” That may be true. The fact is though, when we put God and our relationship with Him first, He gives us the wherewithal to take care of our other responsibilities (Phil.4: 19). But even if that were not true, God’s Word commands us: “…Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl.12: 13b).

I pray you will allow the Holy Spirit to evaluate the condition of your spiritual relationship with God today. If you’re willing to be honest, He’ll show you whether or not you are heart healthy before the Lord.

Theme - order to determine our spiritual heart health, let’s ask these questions:

I. Where Are Your Heart’s Desires

Colossians 3:1-2, “If (the idea here is ‘since’) ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

A. Earthly Things Are Fragile

1. Our Bodies Will One Day Become Weak And Wasted

Genesis 3:19c, “…for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Psalm 39:4, “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.”

Peter 1:24, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away.”

2. Our Wealth May Wither

Psalm 39:6b, “…he (man) heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.”

Psalm 49:16a, 17a, “Be not thou afraid when one is made rich… 17a For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away…”

Proverbs 23:5, “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”

Money and things do not equal spiritual peace and contentment. Only Christ can fill the void in a person’s heart. Let me illustrate:

Money and Success

In Success, Motivation, and the Scriptures, William Cook describes a meeting in 1923 of a group of business tycoons. Together these men controlled unthinkable sums of wealth, and for years the media had trumpeted their success stories.

On this day in Chicago they assembled to enjoy their mutual success. Dr. Cook relates what happened to these men in the years that followed: “Charles Schwab, the president of the largest independent steel company, lived on borrowed money the last five years of his life and died penniless. Richard Whitney, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, served time in Sing Sing Prison. Albert Fall, a former member of the President’s cabinet, was pardoned from prison so he could die at home. Jesse Livermore, the greatest bear on Wall Street, committed suicide. Leon Fraser, the president of the Bank of International Settlement, committed suicide. Ivar Krueger, head of the world’s greatest monopoly, committed suicide. The success they celebrated proved illusory.”1

3. Our Power And Popularity May Wane

Psalm 49:12, “Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.”

B. Heavenly Things Are Forever

Corinthians 4:18b, “…for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Matthew 6:19-21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also.”

1. Christians Will Abide Forever

1 John 2:17b, “…but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” John 3:,36a, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life…”

2. Christ-Honoring Service Will Abide Forever

1 Corinthians 3:13-15, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

3. Christ-Like Characteristics Will Abide Forever

1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”


The chorus of the song “Only One Life” says: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last!”2 Have you set your heart on things of this world? They will not last. They will not satisfy. Set your heart on the Lord and things above.

II. Is Your Heart Divided

Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

A. You Must Make A Choice

Joshua 24:15, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of  the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

1 Samuel 7:3-4, “And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. 4 Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only.”

Child of God, you can’t be neutral in the matter of commitment to Christ. No decision at all is in itself a decision—the wrong decision. Which will it be?

“When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song,” tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates. “He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’”

“‘Luciano,’ my father replied, 'if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.’ I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book—whatever we choose—we should give ourselves to it.

Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair.”3

B. Double-Mindedness Makes Unstable Christians

1 Corinthians 10:21, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”

James 1:8, “A double minded man is unstable in all his way.”

James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

A double-minded Christian can’t be counted upon to be faithful to the Lord or to remain steady in their allegiance to Him. Dear child of God make up your mind. Don’t try to play both sides of the fence.

After his victory over Antony at Actuim, Augustus Caesar came back to Rome in triumph. Among the huge crowd who greeted him was a man who had a bird that he had taught to say, “Hail, Caesar victorious!” Caesar was impressed and bought the bird for a large sum. Then someone got Caesar aside and whispered to him that the man had another bird that was just as talented. The man was summoned and Caesar asked for a demonstration of what the other bird could do. The man demurred, but Caesar insisted. When the bird was produced, it said, “Hail, Antony victorious!”4

C. Worldliness Is Nothing But Spiritual Adultery Against Christ

James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity (in opposition) with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

Folks, if ever there was a day in which Christians needed to stand out from the world, it is now. But the sad truth is that in many cases, Christians are often as worldly-minded as the unbelievers. If you don’t believe me, listen to this:

Addressing a national seminar of Southern Baptist leaders, George Gallup said, “We find there is very little difference in ethical behavior between churchgoers and those who are not active religiously…The levels of lying, cheating, and stealing are remarkably similar in both grouPsalm

Eight out of ten Americans consider themselves Christians,” Gallup said, “yet only about half of them could identify the person who gave the Sermon on the Mount, and fewer still could recall five of the Ten Commandments. Only two in ten said they would be willing to suffer for their faith.”5

III. Is Your Heart Distressed

A. Worry Is Wrong

1. Worriers Are Fueled By Fear

Matthew 6:25, 31-32, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”

Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Please understand that in Matthew 6: 25, Jesus wasn’t merely talking about a brief moment of concern or a temporary disturbance over one’s present difficulties. He was referring to a settled disposition and perspective of mind, in which one is constantly fretting, agitated and fearful about their well-being (consumed with worry). Explaining the words “take no thought” (Matt.6: 25a), Adam Clarke says, “Take no thought - Be not anxiously careful…anxious solicitude…dividing or distracting the mind.6 In v. 32a, the words “for after all these things do the Gentiles seek” is “a reference to the attention of Gentiles to material things because they know not God as a heavenly Father (cf. 6:7,8).”7

In Philippians 4: 6, Paul said that the child of God isn’t to live a life controlled and dominated by fear and anxiety (“be careful for nothing”—v. 6a). We are to live in such communion with God that we feel free to petition Him for our needs (“prayer and supplication”—v. 6b), and to thank Him for His supply.

2. Worriers Fail To Trust God’s Faithfulness

Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

3. Worriers Fall Short, Due To Lack Of Faith

Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Romans 14:23b, “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”

James 1:6-7, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”

If your faith in God can’t take you through tough times, it isn’t worth much. Spurgeon, that great old preacher of years gone by, had this to say about faith:

Believe or Reject

I would recommend you either believe God up to the hilt, or else not to believe at all. Believe this book of God, every letter of it, or else reject it. There is no logical standing place between the two. Be satisfied with nothing less than a faith that swims in the deeps of divine revelation; a faith that paddles about the edge of the water is poor faith at best. It is little better than a dry-land faith, and is not good for much.8

B. Worry Is Worthless

Matthew 6:27, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”

The NLT renders this verse as follows: “Can all your worries add a single moment to you life?”9 The following poem gives us a good approach for dealing with the tendency to worry:

An unknown poet has written: “I heard a voice at evening softly say, / ‘Bear not your yesterdays into tomorrow, / Nor load this week with last week’s load of sorrow. / Lift all your burdens as they come, nor try/ To weigh the present with the by-and-by. / One step and then another, take your way; / Live day by day!’”10

For those of us who simply must have something to worry about, here are some ways you can know you’re going to have a bad day.

How you can tell when it’s going to be a rotten day:

  • You wake up face down on the pavement.
  • You call Suicide Prevention and they put you on hold.
  • You see a “60 Minutes” news team waiting in your office.
  • Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
  • You turn on the news and they’re showing emergency routes out of the city.
  • Your twin sister forgot your birthday.
  • Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell’s Angels on the freeway.
  • Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat.
  • The bird singing outside your window is a buzzard.
  • You wake up and your braces are locked together.
  • You call your answering service and they tell you it’s none of your business.
  • Your income tax check bounces.
  • You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
  • Your wife says, “Good morning, Bill,” and your name is George.11
C. Worriers Ignore Their Worth

Matthew 6:26, 28-30, “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”

Why do we worry when we’re worth so much to our Heavenly Father that He gave His Son to redeem us? God cares about you.

George Mueller

George Mueller (1805-1898) built many orphanages at Ashley Down, England. Without a personal salary, he relied only on God to supply the money and food needed to support the hundreds of homeless children he befriended in the name of Christ.

A man of radiant faith, he kept a motto on his desk for many years that brought comfort, strength, and uplifting confidence to his heart. It read, “It matters to Him about you.” Mueller believed that those words captured the meaning of 1 Peter 5:7, and he rested his claim for divine help on that truth. He testified at the end of his life that the Lord had never failed to supply all his needs.

Audrey Mien has expressed the truth of today’s text in these words: Be not troubled with thoughts of the morrow,

Of duties you surely must do.

On the Lord cast your burden of sorrow; It matters to Him about you!

Be not weary when trials are given, But trust Him to carry you through.

He will make all a pathway to heaven; It matters to Him about you!

Then be patient until His appearing, ‘Tis dawn almost now on your view;

For the mists of this dark age are clearing. In love He is planning for you!12


1. Leadership, Fall 1991. Page 45.
2. Author unknown. Acquired from
3. Guideposts.
4. Bits & Pieces, July 1990, p. 2.
5. Erwin Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor, p. 76.
6. Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary On The Bible, as found in e-Sword software.
7. Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison, Editors, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Copyright © 1962 by The Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois; pg. 940.
8. C. H. Spurgeon.
9. Holy Bible, New Living Translation, Copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust, Wheaton, Illinois; All rights reserved, pg. 1128.
10. Our Daily Bread.
11. Source unknown. Acquired from
12. Acquired from