A large pane of glass intended for a window had fallen and shattered into thousands of splinters. One moment it was a thing of usefulness, and the next it was being swept up and dumped as useless. Human lives become shattered by sin just as easily and quickly; but we must never underestimate the Lord's ability to renew those lives. Christians sometimes have a tendency to regard their failing fellows as hopeless, but it is not so with the Lord.A most encouraging illustration is given by Isaiah for us as well as for Israel in the earthly days of Messiah. "A bruised reed He will not break, and the smoking flax He will not quench" (Isaiah 42:1-3). Many who fit into these two categories would have met the Lord Jesus in Palestine, but He did not consign them to the scrap heap. He was in their midst as Jehovah Ropheka, the Lord who restores. David rejoiced in this when he wrote in his shepherd psalm, "He restores my soul" (Psalm 23:3).The word "bruised" indicates a fragile reed, one which cracks into pieces. Isn't this what happened to Peter in his denial of the Lord Jesus? And it may be so with us too. "I just fell to pieces" is an oft-quoted confession. We thank God that Peter was restored to strengthen his brethren; and the same has been true with us so that we can be used to restore others. When did I last pray for, or seek out, my brother or sister who had been overtaken in a sin? (See Galatians 6:1). Incidentally, the reed was often made into a pen for writing, or a flute for music. When it became worn or cracked it was thrown away and replaced by another. No attempt was made to restore it. But God's ways are not man's ways, and the divine Restorer is able to make a failing Christian a useful, happy instrument again. Onesimus and John Mark are two who were restored and learned to "burn again" for Him and the testimony.
In many Western countries heart attacks are still considered by doctors to be the number one killer of people. Without our knowing, our hearts can be diseased, failing, or otherwise unsound. On the other hand, symptoms can indicate heart weakness, and a variety of medical tests will quickly reveal the extent of the problem. Advice or treatment is then outlined for the patient's benefit. Heart examination, therefore, can prove to be a good thing from a physical, and likewise a spiritual, standpoint.The longest psalm in the Bible is the one hundred and nineteenth, and it consists of a wonderful variety of prayers by a sensitive, godly man. One of his requests is for a sound heart. "Let my heart be sound in Thy statutes", he cries (v.80, Authorized Version). He was asking for a heart that was clean, full of integrity, truth, sincerity, and entire: a spiritually-healthy heart indeed, and is in contrast to the "fat as grease" heart of the proud (v.70). From a spiritual viewpoint this psalmist would instruct us that to maintain a healthy heart we should avoid pride, mischief, and unbelief.Our hearts are the seat of our affections, the very centre of things. The Hebrew word for heart is "leb", meaning the centre of everything. Our hearts must have spiritual protection; that is why the breastplate is mentioned as part of the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6). The helmet of salvation is to protect the mind; the breastplate of righteousness is for the heart. In Israel an ephod of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen was made for the high priest. Made from the same five materials, which might speak of Christ in His divine glory, His heavenly character, His majesty, His humiliation, and His pure life, was the breastplate.
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you - guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
2 Timothy 1:13-14