How’s Your Heart? … Try This Spiritual ‘Dipstick’

6 Jul

Have you met really good Christians who are bored, frustrated or listless in life?  Sure we have… we might even be one of those persons.  This condition is more prevalent than we’d like to acknowledge.  Ambiguity in life gnaws at our vitality to face life.  So why and how does this happen?  I believe that much of the time it is because there is little understanding of how to truly feed and exercise our hearts.  This requires that we know our unique giftedness and the unique will of God for our lives.

Must know the will of God for our lives!

A poll in a large Christian conference asked how many knew what the unique will of God was for their lives.  About 10% raised their hands.  Those 10% were then asked how many were currently walking in the will of God for their lives.  About 5% of that group raised their hands.  What a sad commentary!!  No wonder the frustration or boredom in life.

Carpe Diem – Seize the day

Even though we may be confused, ambivalent or lethargic, life’s circumstances and pressures are not.  They just keep coming.  Living life well requires consistent attention.  We must be PROACTIVE instead of reactive or complacent; which means that we must plan and mobilize OR we will have to scramble to play ‘catch-up’ later.  This is part of becoming a maturing believer.  As we mature we must be able to make tough choices for ourselves based upon personal revelation and our unique DNA; which means that we become less influenced by others’ mandates and the fear of man.  Life must be apprehended (Phil 3:12).

Two crucial ingredients for healthy growth:

Let’s focus on two inviolable requirements of every living thing; whether plant, animal or human.

1. Intake/nutrition that matches our unique DNA:   Just as a body builder needs a high protein diet to build muscle, so it is in the spiritual.  We must find feeding spots for our heart and spirit.  What makes your heart come alive?   It may come through solitude, worship, reading the word, meditation, prayer, fellowship, listening to teachers, mentors, waiting, nature, etc……  Whatever the case, it’s imperative that we find our own personal ‘on-ramps’ into God and visit them frequently.

Nutrition without output leads to obesity and sluggardliness.  It’s like eating too many high calorie snacks and becoming a ‘couch potato’.  Often this results in poor attitude about life and one’s self.

2. Output/engaging challenge that matches our unique DNA:   Just as a body builder needs to press against specific resistance to build certain muscles, so it is in the spiritual.  Each of us has a unique spiritual ‘DNA’ that needs a uniquely personal opportunity of challenge and resistance.  This challenge should probably be something where if we don’t ‘deliver’ in that area of challenge, then that area will fail.  This ‘the buck stops with me’ principle helps to make us dig deep and thus stay ‘sharp’ and alive in God.  We grow and mature, accordingly.

Output without nutrition leads to exhaustion and a weak immune system.  We become vulnerable to sickness, disease, discouragement, etc.

Just as it is in the physical body, so it is in our spirit man.  We can either be too full, not exercised and sluggish  OR  it can be over-worked, too depleted, anemic and vulnerable to sin and the world.

So how am I doing?

Would you like to be able to know how your heart is really doing… what condition is it in?  It’s unlikely that others can really tell us how we’re doing… and it’s quite possible that we may not able to correctly and honestly asses our own condition.  So how can we measure our own hearts?  We need an unbiased ‘dipstick’.

Hopefully we regularly check the oil dipstick in our auto engine.  If we don’t we’re flirting with a possible major malfunction of our engine.  That dipstick is designed to give a reading on the internal condition of the oil in our engine.  Assessing the dipstick helps us know the appropriate actions necessary to ensure a long engine life.  So in like manner, I’ve put together a ‘dipstick’ that serves to tell us our heart’s status.  Use it regularly and similarly to the auto engine dipstick to ensure a healthy heart and happy life.  If this is meaningful to you, you may want to make a copy of this spiritual health ‘dipstick’ and put it in your Bible or in a handy place for future reference.

A spiritual health ‘dip stick’

The top is ‘healthy’ and degrades toward ‘unhealthy’ at the bottom:

Status            Confession                        Description

Alive……….”This is the best!”………Fully engaged with the unique
…………………………………………………purposes of God active in our lives

Busy………..“Life is OK”……………….Lots of scurrying around ‘doing the
…………………………………………………stuff’… but no ‘edge’

Active………“This feels like work”…Busy but without a sense of the
………………………………………,…………presence of God in it

Bored………..We ask “why”…………..No vibrancy any more – hard to
………………………………………………….drive oneself ahead

Frustrated…“How long”……………..Mind gets filled with oppressive
………………………………………………….thoughts of discouragement

Irritable……“You did it”……………..We begin to find fault and point at
………………………………………………….others as a cause for our discomfort

Angry………“Don’t get in my way”..We’re hard to live with – anger is our
………………………………………………….involuntary weapon of choice

Divisive……“I’m out of here!”………We become easy prey for the devil to
………………………………………………….separate us e.g. church splits,
………………………………………………….relational schisms, divorce, etc

Did you find yourself?

When I evaluate the consistent confessions and symptoms in my life and compare them to this ‘dip stick’, it gives probable evidence of the status of my heart.  Although there may be other reasons, generally speaking, the issue boils down to whether or not we are getting the right kind of ‘intake’ AND ‘output’.  Is one or the other or both, deficient?  As ‘intake’ and ‘output’ are fully engaged, we will have greater potential for our hearts to feel Heaven’s favor in our lives.  When this is functioning properly, it makes us less vulnerable to temptations and pitfalls… and empowered to conquer.  You see, this was our Father’s plan from the start; His favor in and His power out.

Proverbs 4:7 says, “In all your getting get understanding” – may I say, in all your getting, get fed, get ‘hot’ and get going.

— MLH

Audio of Mark speaking on this topic: How’s Your Heart?

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5 Responses to “How’s Your Heart? … Try This Spiritual ‘Dipstick’”

  1. SHARAT BABU July 6, 2013 at 12:23 PM #

    Thank you for the Blessed messages each time and is strengthening my soul and to share with our people in India, we have much idolatry here, please pray for INDIA. In Jesus Love, Evangelist Babu.

    • Mark Hendrickson June 26, 2017 at 2:56 PM #

      The Lord strengthen you and draw your heart into amazing fresh encounters with Him. The Lord make the Kingdom to prosper in mighty ways around you. Amen

  2. preferredrideservices June 24, 2017 at 11:19 PM #

    Thanks

  3. preferredrideservices June 24, 2017 at 11:28 PM #

    I find the “busy” description spoke to me. Im glad to, having been there on the bottom & navigated stages upward. I live knowing I’m just a free choices away from digression. I admit, as I have deeply journaled and exercises myself toward self discipline I found I deal with what might be called purposelessness or meaninglessness in some ways. This is not saying it’s “negative or positive” , per se, but Id rather not deny or ignore a common theme in my spiritual life, even if it is not easy to hear or witness. I have been seeking further pursuits into living with this sense of “meaninglessness or purposelessness”.. it might be called the “God gap” , the part of Gods heart hiding for me not from me. I think I do waiver at times with “feeling” the love of a creator or life energy essence force animating my bodily functions, I don’t know if those are the hints or suggestions to prompt me to keep seeking? I don’t know. I admit I think the best course for me is close to the one I’m on now though…not easiest , or me looking for the easy Street life, but I do want to a good to better life, and I think that drives some important improvements…

    • Mark Hendrickson June 26, 2017 at 3:01 PM #

      I love your phrase, “it might be called the “God gap”, the part of Gods heart hiding for me not from me.” He is good! And like a loving parent hiding Easter eggs for their kids… they can hardly wait until the kids find the eggs. And celebrates with them as they find them. But it does take some ‘looking’… some searching. You’re on a great course. Good job!

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