FFF 13:5 (May 1967)
Every physical examination includes a thorough check of the heart. If the heart is not examined it is not a complete examination.
As surely as everyone needs a physical examination, so surely do we need a spiritual examination. The spiritual examination must start with the heart.
Within the past eighteen months I have had three of these spiritual heart examinations in emergency situations.
The first came on a Friday evening. The telephone rang and in a few brief sentences my wife was told that a brother in the Lord had entered into the presence of the Lord very suddenly.
Immediately a portion of 2 Kings 10:15, came to my mind “— is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?” The last time I had visited with Phil was just a few days before in our living room. After this “examination” I could honestly say, “Phil could go into the actual presence of the Lord and say ‘Our hearts are right one with the other.’ “
Twenty four hours later the phone rang and a dear friend told us that she and her children had “ — a little problem, but all is wonderful for Amos.” Amos was “at home with the Lord.” Again it was necessary for a heart examination. Again 2 Kings 10:15, came to my mind and a careful examination brought the same conclusions I had twenty-four hours earlier.
A year passed, and on a Saturday morning I answered the phone to hear the voice of a close missionary friend in Kentucky tell us that just before midnight, Cliff (a friend we had come to know and love through the missionary) was killed in a mine accident.
Again we had an emergency heart examination. Again we came to the same conclusion as in the other two examinations.
I passed these three examinations, but as I underwent each, I was keenly aware that there were circumstances where I would not have passed. If any of the calls would have mentioned certain other Christians I would have had to hang my head in shame. Maybe it was because the other person and I had a misunderstanding and we parted without straightening out the matter.
Yet if either the other Christian or I had been called to Heaven before we had resolved the problem it would have been forever too late to get our hearts right one with the other. For complete happiness and full fellowship here and now, it is important for believers to get their hearts right one with the other as it is for sinners to be saved NOW! As long as believers’ hearts are not right one with the other there is broken or strained fellowship, saint with the Saviour.
Today with the many means of communication there is no reason to delay contacting our fellow-believer and getting our hearts right. The greatest means of communicating really is Prayer and God will work to bring about right hearts in a hurry. Our hearts need examinations in three aspects. First of all, in our feelings one toward the other. With the three brethren mentioned there was no ill feeling one toward the other. None of us had spoken an unkind word to or about each other, or about anyone else. Looking at it from a different angle, the same examination would have given the same results had we met in our home, a store, or anywhere else.
The second area of examination is in regard to our will or desires. Our mutual desire was to have fellowship with the Lord, with each other, and to see His Word spread, and His work prosper.
Finally, we have to examine our heart regarding the intellect. God does not expect us to know everything, but He certainly does expect us to behave and act according to what He has shown us from the Bible, and from the teaching from His Word by His servants as they open the Scriptures to us.
Someone may raise the question, Do you mean that there was absolutely nothing, nothing at all in your lives that was objectionable? My answer here is simply this, We tried as best we could, and as the Lord gave us the grace, to be at peace with each other. We enjoyed fellowship together in the things of the Lord, our families and friends, and with each other. Each one of us was mindful of the Scriptures, and that we are brethren in the Lord and not judges!
Then I reflected again on the last meetings with the three brethren. Phil was here in our home and as he left, with a smile and a hearty handshake, both of us looked forward to more fellowship in the near future. “I want to see you at home next time” were the words of Amos as the elevator door closed and he went to his home, and I went back to my room in the hospital. Cliff, too, gave us his characteristic broad, cheery smile and hearty handshake as we parted for home after a visit in Kentucky.
We need more frequent heart examinations, and we should not wait for death or an emergency. Doing this, we will find more happiness and closer fellowship with the Lord and fellow believers. Then, too, we will wait with greater anticipation and appreciation for the time when we shall be in the presence of the Saviour.
As we review the findings of these three examinations we are aware that it is possible for us to live one with the other and our hearts be right. We also find that this is not true, sad to say, with every child of God.
Musing on the last words I had with my friends makes me anticipate our Lord’s soon coming and His welcome smile as I join them in HIS presence for eternity.
There is no emergency at this moment, but it is time now, for me at least, to have a thorough heart examination so I can honestly acknowledge that “— my heart is right—.”