“Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” ~ Act 8:21
Much might have been said about the heart of man, its biological and spiritual importance, the necessity to guard it with all diligence and many more.
But I discovered the matter of the heart is yet inexhaustible and the more we look, the clearer we see. The importance of the heart to human survival and living cannot be overemphasized and when it stops breathing the life of a man has come to an end. Hence, it is medically advised that the heart be taken care of especially by carefully watching what goes into it.
In the same manner, we must be careful with what goes into our heart (the center of reasoning and decision making) it determines our spiritual status and what our lives can contain.
In this context, I want to consider the heart as a container.
A container is a box, bottle, can or an enclosure for holding products used in storage. It is used to secure something in such a way that it can be accessed any time such a thing is needed.
There are containers of various sizes and various materials, however, the function of these containers are similar. To preserve the content of a container, contents of similar nature are supposed to be kept in the same container. It could be dangerous to pour kerosene in a container meant for petrol and it may be poisonous to pour drinking water in a container used for keeping liquids like concentrated acid.
The Heart Condition Matters
In the same vein, God always want to pour out His Spirit, gifts and substances upon every soul but what usually makes this impossible is the condition of the heart of men. We are as good and pure as our heart. A man with the right heart can never be wrong before God. Man may pretend but the heart cannot be pretentious because the leopard cannot change its skin.
The content that is pure cannot be pour into dirty container because the content becomes contaminated as well and a contaminated thing is not good for use, hence it has been devalued. It is also possible that it poses threat to anyone using it.
In the considered passage (Acts 8:5-24), the promise of God of pouring His spirit upon all flesh is being fulfilled in that people who are not Jews are being baptized with Holy Spirit as long as they confessed Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, indeed God is not a respecter of person and anyone that calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
As matter of truth, God still want to pour His spirit upon all flesh (Joel 2:28) but the matter of the heart is supreme in making this to happen.
Simon made a right request but with a wrong heart. He desires a good thing but such cannot stay in a heart that is filled with all sort of impurity. Simon was still carrying about the old, perverse and desperately wicked heart (Jer. 19:9) and he wants the outpouring of the new wine that God is giving.
No wonder the Bible said, neither do men put new wine into old bottles, else the bottles break and the wine runneth out and the bottles perish…(Mat. 9:17). The heart of Simon is filled with wickedness, gall of bitterness and iniquities (vs. 23). Such cannot contain the Spirit of Truth and Righteosuness.
A heart that is not aligned with God cannot have what the Lord wants to release because of the nature of the container
It is true that you have been drawing frequent in church and your attendance in meetings has drastically increased, but God knows how distant you are to Him. You have been asking God for power, blessings, gifts, grace and favour but the Lord knows what you will use them for if you were given.
He is not careful about given what you are asking to you but He is conscious of your heart. You have also been asking God for more revelation about Him but the state of your heart has denied you because the standards of God cannot be compromised. You are asking God to put new wine inside the old wine skin.
How to keep the container clean
It is obvious that old things cannot stay in the new wine bottle as pure content cannot stay in the dirty and impure container without being contaminated. Hence, God has made provision for keeping our heart constantly clean so that new things could be allowed into it on regular basis.
- Washing in the word of God: that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, Eph. 5:26. Every container is bound to be dirty by the reason of being used or if left unused for a long period. For every dirty container to be cleaned after it has been dirty, water is applicable here. The Word of God serves as water that can be used for cleaning and sanctification. Jesus knew the efficacy of the Word while praying for the disciple: sanctify them through thy truth: for thy word is truth, John 17:17. He was seeking the disciple be constantly purified and cleansed, consecrated and be made holy by the word. We are meant to read, study and meditate in the word on a regular basis to enjoy this cleansing power of the Word of God.
- Taking conscious effort: that ye put off concerning the former conversation… and be renewed, Eph 4:22,23. It takes a conscious effort and personal determination to make a vessel clean and keep it clean. There is possibility of things getting dirty due to the environments they are exposed to, but conscious efforts make them retain their newness. It is a personal discipline to carefully scrutinize what is allowed into the heart. A heart that is exposed to dirty cannot be clean. Therefore, determine to clean your heart clean by what is allowed into it. Be careful about what you watch, read, see and the environment your heart is exposed to.
- Renew the mind: … but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind… Rom 12:2.
The heart can always be clean and new if it is constantly renewed. The renewing of the mind has to do with constant purging of whatever is old. We must never be complacent with the revelation that we have had in times past. We must not settle for the period and moments of quiet time that we have had rather we make it new every day. Renew the mind by constantly exposing it to the presence of God, the Revealer of truth, mystery and the intents of the heart, watching and reading what is expedient and edifies.
It is impossible for God to pour His Spirit upon Simon and his likes but He is has interest in the heart. The Spirit of God is Holy and cannot be contained in dirty containers. The revelation, gifts and miracles of God are only available to those who keep their heart clean on regular basis, this is what made the David, the Psalmist cried in a loud voice to the Lord saying: Create in me a clean heart and put a new and right spirit within me, Psalm 51:10.