A sound heart is life to the body (Proverbs 14:30).
Without a beating heart, there is no life. People experiencing cardiac arrest can occasionally be revived, but when the heartbeat cannot be reinstated, all is over.
An imperfect heart – a diseased heart of any kind – is a serious issue. My father had a hole in his heart for fifty years and didn’t know it. After the hole was discovered, then closed through surgery, an amazing thing happened. He suddenly had energy he never knew he was missing. It literally changed his life.
No one should take a heart attack lightly. It can be a wake-up call for some life style adjustments: changing diet, increasing exercise, or reducing stress.
A common sympathetic expression in the southern U.S. is “bless your heart.” Recently I heard a journalist ask an international figure, “What does your heart tell you about this situation?” When someone wants to get serious about something, they talk about getting to “heart of the matter.” When one puts his all into a project, he does it “heartily.” Obviously, there is a broader definition of heart that goes beyond the organ that beats in our chests.
I’m intrigued with how the Bible refers to the heart. Your spiritual state is changed when you give your heart to God. Knowing about God does not bring you into a right relationship with Him. The demons know God is real and tremble at His presence. Giving Him your heart, the core of your being, is what makes the difference. Without a trusting heart, there is no salvation (John 7:38, Romans 10:9,10, 2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 3:17, Hebrews 10:22, 13:9). The heart is seen as the center of a person: who he is, what he thinks, how he processes life.
Even taking food to renew physical strength is referred to as “refreshing your heart.” See Judges 19:5, 8. However, most of the references about the heart in Scripture have a spiritual application.
Near to the Heart of God
For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is truly His (2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB).
God knows, searches and tests the heart of man. He delights in those whose hearts truly belong to Him. To Jesus, the entire law was summed up in the commandments to love God completely and your neighbor as yourself. He said that love is expressed first in the heart. Love originates from the heart.
See 1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Kings 8:39, 1 Chronicles 28:9, 29:17, Psalm 7:9, 17:3, 26:2, Psalm 44:21, 139:23, Proverbs 21:2, 24:12, Jeremiah 17:10, Matthew 22: 36-40, Acts 15:8, Romans 8:27, 1 Thessalonians 2:4, Revelation 2:23.
Self-Talk: in Your Heart
When God told Abraham He would give him a son by Sarah, Abraham didn’t dare say out loud to God (although God knew what he was thinking), but he “said in his heart” that he couldn’t imagine a child being born to him (Abraham) as he was already one hundred years old and to Sarah, who was ninety years old and past her child bearing years.
Spoken or unspoken, God knows what is in our hearts as He knows what is in our minds. What we dwell on in our minds lives in our hearts. Our hearts serve as a tablet of our desires, our ponderings, and our mediations. What we speak from our mouths originated in our hearts.
See Genesis 17:17, Deuteronomy 8:5, 9:4, 18:21, Psalm 19:14, 77:6, Proverbs 7:3, 23:7, Matthew 15:18, Mark 2:6,8
Evil Thoughts of the Heart
Satan places a temptation in the mind of men, but there is an opportunity to reject that temptation (like Jesus did in His wilderness experience and throughout His life) or let it germinate in the heart, thus giving in to the temptation and committing sin. Hatred, iniquity, pride and deception grow in the heart (Leviticus 19:17, Psalm 66:18, Psalm 101:5, James 1:26). The father of lies, Satan, is an expert at deception to turn one’s heart away from God (Deuteronomy 11:16, 1 Kings 11:2, 3, 4, 9).
What caused God to send the flood on the earth and instruct Noah to build an ark to save himself and his family was that the “thoughts of man’s heart” were continually evil. Ordinarily, thoughts are associated with the mind, but God’s point was that man’s wickedness had become internalized. That very thought made God sorry He had made man and His own heart was grieved. After the flood had receded and Noah built an altar to God, the Lord declared that He would not again destroy every living thing even though the “imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”
One must guard his heart (Philippians 4:7) against evil and becoming hardened like flint (Zechariah 7:12, Mark 16:14, Hebrews 3:8).
See Genesis 6:5—6, 8:21, Psalm 28:3, Proverbs 6:14, 18, 11:20, 12:8, 12:23, 24:2, 26:25, Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:19, Acts 5:3,4, Hebrews 3:12
Righteous Thoughts of the Heart
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
Removing the temptations of the flesh from the heart involves presenting a willing heart (Exodus 35:5, 35:29) to God and letting Him preform whatever surgery is necessary. The Bible describes this as “circumcising your heart” (Leviticus 26:41, Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6, Romans 2:29).
The heart that seeks after God (Deuteronomy 4:29, 39, 6:5), serves and walks with Him (Deuteronomy 10:12, 11:13, 26:16, 30:2, Joshua 22:5, 1 Samuel 12:20, 24, 1 Kings 2:4, 8:58, 61) will become steadfast and pure (Psalm 73:1, 112:7, 8, 1 Timothy 1:5, 2 Timothy 2:22). One whose heart is prepared for God (2 Chronicles 30:19, Ezra 7:10) will be touched by Him (1 Samuel 10:26) and have a tender heart (2 Kings 22:19), following the example of Jesus’ humility (Matthew 11:29). Those whose heart God stirs receive His wisdom (Exodus 31:6, 35:26, 36:2, 1 Kings 3:9, 12, 10:24, Psalm 90:12, Proverbs 2:2, 10) and are delighted in Him (2 Chronicles 17:6).
See Genesis 20:5,6, 1 Kings 3:6, 9:4, Psalm 64:10, Psalm 94:15, Psalm 97:11, 125:4
The Heart: Seat of the Emotions
What is in your heart can be evidenced in your emotions. Your heart reveals :
- when you are afraid (also referred to as faint hearted). See Deuteronomy 20:3, 8, Joshua 2:11, 5:1, 7:5, 14:8, 1 Samuel 28:5, 2 Samuel 17:10, Isaiah 35:4. The remedy is a courageous heart. See Psalm 27:3, John 14:27.
- When you are discouraged (also described as losing heart). See Numbers 32:7,9, Deuteronomy 1:28, Galatians 6:9, Ephesians 3:13, Colossians 3:21. The discouraged heart can be strengthened (Psalm 27:13, 14, 31:24, Psalm 73:26, 2 Corinthians 4:16).
- when you are sad or are in need of comfort (Psalm 73:21). The grieving or sad heart can be refreshed and renewed (Ezekiel 36:26, Philemon 20) and comforted (Ephesians 6:22, Colossians 2:2, 4:8, 2 Thessalonians 2:17).
- when you are convicted of sin and cleansed from sin through God’s forgiveness (2 Samuel 24:10, Psalm 51:10, 17, Acts 15:9, 1 John 3:19-21).
- when you are rejoicing (Psalm 13:5, 16:9, 19:8, 28:7, 105:3, 119:111, Proverbs 15:30, 17:22, Jeremiah 15:16).
The Living Heart: Planted in and Growing in God for Eternity
He put eternity in their hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). You who seek God, your hearts shall live (Psalm 69:32).
Eternity with God begins the moment you are adopted as a child of God into His family. While still residing here on earth, He supplies all that is needed to mold the heart of His children into one whose heart is truly His.
- Prayer: the ability to talk with Him at all times (2 Samuel 7:27).
- His Word can be planted in the heart of His children (Jeremiah 20:9, Hebrews 4:12, 8:10, 10:16).
- Ability to do what God calls you to do (Exodus 35:34).
With a heart wholly dedicated to God (Psalm 86:12, 111:1, 119:10, 58, 69, Matthew 22:37), you will be able to build treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:21, 12:35).
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
© Stephanie B. Blake
Scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are from the NKJV.