“Let Us Draw Near With A True Heart” (Heb. 10:22)
By Andrew Murray
In man’s nature the heart is the central power. As the heart is, so is the man. The desire and the choice, the love and the hatred of the heart prove what man is already, and decide what he is to become.
The heart gives the real inward man his character; and “the hidden man of the heart” is what God looks to. God has in Christ given us access to the secret place of His dwelling, to the inner sanctuary of His presence and His heart. No wonder that the first thing He asks, as He calls us unto Him, is the heart – a true heart. Our inmost being must in truth be yielded to Him, true to Him.
True religion is a thing of the heart, an inward life. It is only as the desire of the heart is fixed upon God, the whole heart seeking for God, giving its love and finding its joy in God, that a man can draw near to God. The heart of man was expressly planned and created and endowed with all its powers, that it might be capable of receiving and enjoying God and His love. God’s great quarrel with His people is that their heart is turned from Him.
In the new covenant God’s first promise is, “I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts” (Jer. 31:33). As He has given His Son, full of grace and truth, in the power of an endless life, to work all in us as the Mediator of a new covenant, to write His law in our hearts, He calls us to draw nigh with a true heart.
God asks for the heart. Alas, how many Christians serve Him still with the service of the old covenant. Religion is a thing of times and duties. There are seasons for Bible reading and praying and church going. But when one notices how speedily and naturally and happily, as soon as it is freed from restraint, the heart turns to worldly things, one feels how little there is of the heart in it: it is not the worship of a true heart, of the whole heart. The heart, with its life and love and joy, has not yet found in God its highest good. Religion is much more a thing of the head and its activities, than of the heart and its life, of the human will and its power, than of that Spirit which God gives within us.
The invitation comes: “Let us draw near with a true heart.” Let no one hold back for fear, my heart is not true. There is no way for obtaining the true heart, but by acting [on] it. God has given you, as His child, a new heart (Ezek. 36:26) – a wonderful gift, if you but knew it. Through ignorance or unbelief or disobedience it has grown feeble and withered; its beating can, nevertheless, still be felt. The epistle of Hebrews with its solemn warnings and its blessed teaching, has come to bring arousing and healing. Even as Christ said to the man with the withered hand, “Stand forth” (Mark 3:3), He calls to you from His throne in heaven, “Rise, and come and enter in with a true heart.” As you hesitate, and look within to feel and to find out if the heart is true, and in vain to do what is needed to make it true, He calls again, “Stretch forth thy hand” (Mark 3:5). When He spake that to him of the withered arm, whom He had called to rise up and stand before Him, the man felt the power of Jesus’ eye and voice, and he stretched it forth. Do thou, likewise. Stretch forth, lift up, reach out that withered heart of thine, that has so been cherishing its own impotence – stretch forth, and it will be made whole. Yes, in the very act of obeying the call to enter in, it will prove itself a true heart – a heart ready to obey and to trust its blessed Lord, a heart ready to give up all and find its life in the secret of His presence. Yes, Jesus, the great Priest over the house of God, the Mediator of the new covenant, with the new heart secured thee, calls, “Draw nigh with a true heart.”
The true heart is nothing but true consecration, the spirit that longs to live wholly for God, that gladly gives up everything that it may live wholly for Him, and that above all yields up the heart, as the key of the life, into His keeping and rule. True religion is an inward life, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us enter in into the inner sanctuary of God’s love, and the Spirit will enter into the inner sanctuary of our love, into our heart. Let us draw nigh with a true heart – longing, ready, utterly given up to desire and receive the blessing.