Having The Same Heart
In my previous post entitled "The Above Things" I taught why Christians should be mindful of their every thought and what kinds of thoughts the Scripture instructs believers to focus upon. Then in the next installment called "Of His Mind", I rallied around the idea of the captive mind of Christ with the analogies of the Roman soldier holding a captive at spear-tip and the remodeling of our homes as visual aides.
Today's word will be shifting to the other part of the anatomy that needs alignment with Christ - the heart. Whereas the brain is the organ that houses the mind, the heart is mentioned as a center piece or core-holding-term for where all of our emotions and spiritual experiences occur, are interpreted and flow.
Ever heard the phrase - "My heart is bursting with joy!"? The physical heart might be feeling that way due to an emotional overload, but chances are it will not burst. Acts 2:26 sites the same kind of experience.
Ever heard the phrase - "Cut to the core."? Usually these words do not mean that someone took a knife and filleted you open to the middle. This saying refers to words or actions that really hit home or touched a sensitive spot with the individual. Acts 2:37 uses the phrase "cut to the heart" to communicate this.
Acts 4:32 states, "All believers were one in heart and mind." Now all the Christians at that time did not take the hearts out of their chest and make one, big, physical community heart. This verse and many more like it refers to common ground - they all had the same compassion, same desires - they were all on the same page across the board, especially spiritually and emotionally.
Also in Ephesians 1:18, Paul says, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened...". The last time I checked, only potatoes and faces have eyes, not hearts. So this phrase, "the eyes of your heart" obviously means one's perception which is connected to our core make-up.
Again, the writer of Hebrews states, "do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness." (Hebrews 3:8) This does not mean the Israelites purposefully calcified their physical hearts. The verse speaks to being stubborn beyond approach in your person.
Hebrews also says the Word of God judges "the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Heb. 4:12). This is a verse that confirms to me that my "heart" has potential differing opinions than my mind on matters.
However, according to Scripture the heart is considered paramount because it is symbolically the starting line from which we operate. Proverbs 4:23 says this plainly - "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
How interesting the thought that anybody can hide anything from God. Proverbs 15:11 says, "Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord, how much more do human hearts!" Then, even when we acknowledge God's all-knowingness and omnipresence, many of us deny His ways and follow our own heart. Proverbs 21:2 says, "A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart."
Unfortunately our default heart condition is absolutely terrible. Jeremiah 17:9-10 states,
"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 'I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.'”
Matthew 15:19 records Jesus saying, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander."
How do those terrible thoughts get released - words and actions. Matthew 12:34 and Matthew 15:18 say, "The mouth speaks what the heart is full of." So is it any wonder Proverbs 4:23 warns us to guard our heart? In addition, Matthew contributes "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt. 6:21) In the tone of the commercial "What is in your wallet?"- What/who do you cherish? What/who is your treasure?
Hopefully, for my Christian sisters and brothers, the most precious treasure you have is your relationship with Christ Jesus. Nothing should trump that relationship. Acts 13:22 reminds us that David was a man after God's own heart. We should eagerly pursue this goal also.
Some helps toward this end of aligning the believer's heart, core, center or personality to and with Christ are -
- "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6
- "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." - Proverbs 4:23
- Do you want The King for a friend? Do you desire to see God? Pursue a pure heart. Prov. 22:11 and Matt. 5:8
- Set your heart on things above. Eternal perspective. Colossians 3:1
Since God's Holy Spirit is in the believer as a seal, a deposit - He promises to help us "stand firm in Christ". With His Majesty's presence inside our hearts, accompanying our personality, the Christian can take comfort in Christ, the Prince of Peace as one of many benefits. Philippians 4:6-7 recalls this truth -"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."