From the verse Proverbs 4:23 it’s easy to grasp that the heart is preeminently important.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for from it flow all the issues of life“
The heart is a hard thing to put into words and is surely mysterious. While the heart muscle in our chest cavity is easy to describe, the other heart, our ‘inner self’, is significantly harder to capture. Since we lead lives filled with desires, emotions, intentions, willful action, rational thoughts and whispering dreams, we might want to better know our heart.
While too big of a topic for an 940 word blog, I’ll do my best to at least scratch the surface of this journey into the heart.
There are 771 verses in the Bible related to the heart. The word heart is used far more than verses on money, sin, forgiveness or even love. In fact, aside from God, Father and Jesus, heart is the 4th most used word in the Bible. It’s the most used word related to mankind.
Perhaps that’s as it should be….as the verse says, “from the heart flows ALL the issues of life”….love, forgiveness, sin, money, pride, etc. Love, the highest of all gifts and laws, also flows from the heart.
A Disconnect from the Heart
Living in this broken hyper-commercial-driven world makes it harder for us to stay in touch with our heart.
As well, there’s always been a stigma that men shouldn’t be in touch with their heart or feelings. Most men are more comfortable rationalizing things, planning, strategizing, making intellectual-based decisions…decisions and plans from our mind. Indeed, we go to school to sharpen our mind.
Women can sometimes over-protect their heart often as a reaction to experiencing a broken heart. Both men and women can easily disconnect from their heart.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The good news is that God made us in His image and our heart’s are very special to Him. He wants to richly and tenderly commune with our hearts….that’s the loving God we want to come to know more.
As the heart is the center of our being, I want to encourage you to learn to listen to and be sensitive to your heart – for when your heart is given fully to God, it’s a beautiful, marvelous thing to behold.
Since words matter, the Greek word in the New Testament for heart is kardia, which is where we get our word cardiac. It means heart, inner life or intention and also refers to the mind, your character, the inner self, will, and your center. The Old Testament word for heart is leb. It means inner man, mind, will, heart.
Somewhat related, the word ‘soul’ in the Bible is psuche where we get our word psyche and psychology. It refers to “breath, life, self, the vital breath, breath of life, the soul as the seat of affections and will, a human person, an individual. The Old Testament word of soul is phago, meaning “the direct aftermath of God breathing (blowing) His gift of life into a person, making them an ensouled being.”
So, you can see, the heart encompasses a large part of our inner being. But, perhaps this is all Greek to both you and me…let’s move on. 😉
Heart / Mind Distinction
Author John Eldridge, when defining the heart and mind, says “The mind takes in and processes information. But it remains, for the most part, indifferent. It is your mind that tells you it is now 2:00 A.M. and your daughter has not returned, for the car is not in the driveway. Your heart wrestles with whether or not this is cause for worry. The heart lives in the far more bloody and magnificent realities of living and dying and loving and hating.”
The Heart of the Point
The point is that our hearts are really important and that we need to be more aware of it and sensitive to its “voice”. In the Bible, God speaks more to the “heart” than He does to the “mind”.
The Bible talks about an extremely wide range of topics related to the heart – a heart that seeks, that can be discouraged, a heart that speaks, a heart that carries evil, a heart that is good, a heart that is hardened, humble, prideful, hate-filled, willing, a heart that remembers, that trusts, that yearns, that has integrity and has unbelief just to name a few. And this is just a taste of the themes inside the 771 verses.
In the coming weeks and months I’ll share more about the heart and how we can live richer fuller lives from the center of our being – fuller lives toward each other and toward God.
‘Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever! – Deuteronomy 5:29
Oh Lord of Heaven, help us all to live more fully from our hearts. To listen to Your voice in our hearts…to the sweet song you place in our hearts…our very being. Help us so that our affections, desires, will and emotions are in alignment with Yours, yield to Yours and under Your authority. Place Your heart fully in our heart. Let us have the riches of Your holy heart. May we allow to fall all the thorns and snags of this world and let subside the limitations of the mind. Let us wander into your love, a love we know rests in Your heart for us. May we get lost in your heart oh God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.