Home > Uncategorized > Who has your heart? A Simple Answer to a Seemingly-Complex Question

Who has your heart? A Simple Answer to a Seemingly-Complex Question

By Richard Zowie

(This column originally appeared in www.saworship.com)

There’s a question that had plagued me for years, the answer darting away from me like a frightened rabbit every time I tried to get near it. Some questions, such as whether or not certain celebrity marriages will last longer than the gallon of tea I just brewed, aren’t worth waiting for the answers. But the answer to this particular question was well worth the effort:

Why do so many who grow up in Christian homes forsake God once they reach adulthood? And how can some grow up in the most godless environments but turn out to become stellar Christians?

The answer to such a seemingly-complicated question is actually fairly simple, smaller question: Who has your heart?

I realize the answer now as a 33 year-old, and what truly amazes me is that I had the answer right in front of me 16 years ago. In the summer of 1990, I traveled with my church youth group and attended a youth conference at Lavon Drive Baptist Church in Garland, Texas (a Dallas suburb). On the first night of that year, Pastor Steve Roberson (then a North Carolina youth pastor who now pastors Calvary Baptist Church in Red Bank, Tenn.) preached a message titled “Who Has Your Heart?”

steve-roberson

Several years ago, my pastor gave me a cassette tape of the sermon. The tape was packed away and rediscovered when I went through some boxes during a recent move. One day, while driving and finding nothing good on the radio, I decided to listen to the tape again. When I heard it for the first time as a 17 year-old, I got the basic premise of the sermon and enjoyed the humor; now, after hearing the sermon again, I was floored by the message and how Pastor Roberson used hilarious stories to illustrate eternal truths about who has our hearts.

You spend years and years laboring over a decision, feverishly analyzing the facts and trying desperately to find an answer. The answer seems so distant from us, but sometimes—such as in this case—it really isn’t.

To find out what path a person is going in life and try to determine whether or not they’ll follow God, all we have to ask is this: who has their heart? Their parents? Their minister, youth minister or Sunday school teacher? Perhaps a Christian athlete or a Christian musician? Maybe, unfortunately, it’s a rapper known for violent, profane lyrics or an actor whose box office success is topped only by how many bed partners they’ve had. Whoever has their heart is whom they will try to emulate.

In order to ensure that our children follow faithfully in our footsteps as Christians, we have to lead them in ways where they’ll give us their heart—something I’m learning as the father of three boys and the uncle of many nephews and nieces. And as for the children who grow up in ungodly homes but develop into solid Christians, most likely there was a godly leader at their church that inspired them. Or perhaps it was a godly grandparent, aunt or uncle.

The year before Pastor Roberson had us in stitches as he told a story about playing in a high school basketball game and the sweat mixing with his hair spray and producing hilarious results. This time he told about the adventures of having an overflow of adolescent boys at youth camp one year. One of them woke up from a nightmare, started screaming and soon the entire tent was filled with screeching teens. Why were they all screaming? Because everyone else in the tent was. In life, it’s so easy to be a follower.

Two other stories, one hilarious and one tragic, further illustrated Pastor Roberson’s point. That morning, he had encountered some professional wrestlers at the Atlanta airport. One of them picked up a display sandwich and unwittingly asked a cafeteria attendant to heat it up. Kids raced up to the “rasslers” to ask for autographs and get photos taken. And then, a few weeks before in Winston-Salem, N.C., the rock band Mötley Crüe performed a concert. At the time, two of their biggest songs were “Shout at the Devil” and “Smoking in the Boys’ Room.” The group also made frequent use of the pentagram. The mostly-teenaged audience, sadly, soaked it up and loved it.

Pastor Roberson noted that much crime followed the debauchery of the concert. Even worse, kids who seem to prefer cutting up in the back of a church instead of sitting in the front and listening to the message seem more than willing to give their hearts to wrestlers and rock stars. Why? Probably because those kids feel it’s more “fun” or “cool” to give their hearts to people who ultimately turn out to be spiritual fools instead of spiritual giants.

Conversely, Pastor Roberson mentioned a young lady at his church who, despite having alcoholic parents, grew up to be a fine Christian woman who taught at the church school and—along with her husband—had a Sunday School bus route. The young lady gave her heart to her godly older sister and brother-in-law along with the other godly examples at the Christian school (where she would later teach).

“Why is it,” Pastor Roberson asked at the close of his message, “that a girl can grow up in a chronic alcoholics’ home and, at age 28, be serving God, and another kid can grow up in a preacher’s home or deacon’s home and at the age of 28 be out in the world, not even in church? Let me tell you the difference: the heart. And I beg you, just give us your heart…men who have proven themselves and women who have proven themselves, give them your heart.”

And with that, whether you are young or old, saved or unsaved, I have this question to ask: Who has your heart?

I strongly encourage you to give your heart to God and to a godly parent or to a godly mentor at a good, Bible-believing church.

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