Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.
Guile is 'skillful deceit' (American Heritage Dictionary). Judging from Jesus' comment upon meeting the disciple, Nathanael, skillful deceit was common in Israel. Surely, it's common today. Guile begins in the heart.
In 1982, a man named Barney Clark received an artificial heart. It was the first successful surgery of its kind, and he lived 112 days after the operation. Technology has evolved, but artificial hearts remain a temporary fix to a permanent problem.
Spiritually speaking, artificial hearts have existed for millennia. Unlike Barney Clark's publicized procedure, millions of heart replacements were done secretly--and slowly. Perhaps the owners didn't even know it was happening--until the fake hearts took control of their lives.
How do living hearts become artificial hearts? Deals and compromises with 'The tempter' (Matthew 4:3) and 'The father of lies' (John 8:44), who is 'The deceiver of the whole world' (Revelation 12:9). Tragically, we give our hearts away.
You probably know some phonies. They're the people who talk about loving and helping others, but the ones they're really loving and helping are themselves. Jesus called them hypocrites:
'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness' (Matthew 23:27-28).
Back then, they were Jewish leaders. Today, some are Christian leaders. Their artificial hearts have done more to harm the cause of Christ than atheists, agnostics, rebels and every other religion's practitioners all added together.
What can you do if you feel an artificial heart growing in yourself? Repent! Get real. Get in touch with the Truth, Who is Jesus. Get into a church with people of sincere faith. Ask for God's forgiveness and help. He will give it!
What can you do if you see artificial hearts around you? Pray for them! Get in touch with the Holy Spirit, Who is your Guidance System. Make sure your church is led by people of sincere faith. Ask for God's help. He will give it.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Heart Conditions series.