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Volume 32 - Page 62 of 246 Index | Zoom | |
The Opened Heart, the Most Important of All.
pp. 81, 82
We saw at the close of our last article (page 52) that the opened mouth was valueless
apart from abundant treasure stored up in the opened heart. Let us now look more
carefully into this matter.
The expression "opened heart" is used only once in the Scriptures, where it is found in
the story of Lydia (Acts 16: 14). In response to a vision the Apostle had left the shores
of Asia Minor and for the first time had set foot in Europe. To present-day readers this is
an epoch-making event, but there were then no evidences of it that would appeal to sense.
Indeed, the Apostle's reception at Philippi was as poor as could well be. There was no
synagogue in the city, the Jewish population was small and their practice was to worship
by the riverside where "prayer was wont to be made" (Acts 16: 13). To this spot Paul
and his companions resorted and spoke to the women there, and the Lord opened the
heart of one of them, named Lydia, so that she attended to the things of which Paul
spoke. An opened heart is necessary if the word of God be not only heard, but given
attention. When Paul admonished Timothy "to give attendance to the reading", he added,
"give thyself wholly to them", as though he would say, "This is a matter of heart more
than anything else".
Lydia's "opened heart" soon led to an open house, for she said: "If ye have judged me
to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us"
(Acts 16: 15). A hardened heart does not attend to the word of God: "And he hardened
Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not" (Exod. 7: 13).
In Psalm 119: the Psalmist refers many times to the necessity for "seeking" (2, 10),
"observing" (34), "entreating" (58), "keeping" (69), and "crying" (145), with the whole
heart, in connection with the Lord and His Word.
The word used of Lydia in Acts 16: is not anoigo, "to open up", but dianoigo, "to
open up thoroughly". This is the word used by the Lord in Mark 7: 34, when He said
Ephphatha, "Be opened!" It is the words used of the disciples in Luke 24: 13 when
"their eyes were opened" and they recognized the Lord. It is the word used in the same
chapter for the opening of the Scriptures and of the understanding.
The heart thus opened is characteristic of the Bereans, who received the word with all
readiness of mind (Acts 17: 11). The heart thus opened is, in the language of Paul,
"enlarged" (II Cor. 6: 11), for indeed he declared to the Corinthians in the third verse of
the next chapter, "Ye are in our hearts to die and live with you". The opened heart is one
into which the love of God has poured like an overwhelming flood (Rom. 5: 5), and will
manifest, in tender-heartedness, something of that love to others (Eph. 4: 32).