First Things @ First

We often hear terms that pertain to the heart in church circles. Some biblical examples being, 'David was a man after God's own heart' (1 Samuel 13:14) OR 'the heart of man is desperately wicked, who can know it?' (Jeremiah 17:9)

What is the heart that God mentions in His word? O.S. Hawkins, author of The Believer's Code helps us sort that out. Follow along and permit the Lord to direct your mind on matters of the heart.

Hawkins uses the text in Genesis 6:5 that says, "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

Hawkins writes--"This is the first use of the word heart in the Bible. Here, it is associated with the thought process, the intellect. When the Bible speaks of the heart, it is not referring to the actual physical organ that pumps blood through our circulatory system, but to the thoughts that help shape our being. Therefore, we read, 'As he thinks in his heart, so is he' (Proverbs 23:7). The heart is our intellect, the thinking part of our being.

When we read that the Lord looks upon our hearts, we understand that He is watching how we think; He knows whether our thoughts are pure or not. Man can observe outward appearances only, but the Lord looks at our hearts and knows what we really think. When the Scriptures speak of the heart, they are speaking about our intellect.

You may think no one knows the thoughts you harbor within your own heart. But God does, all of them. Guard your heart today. He is watching.

The second time you see the word heart in Scripture it is a reference to our emotions. Genesis 6:6 says, '(The LORD) was grieved in His heart.' The heart is the seat of our emotions. It is not simply our intellect; it involves our feelings as well.

When the good Samaritan saw the beaten man on the road to Jericho, Jesus said that 'he had compassion' upon him. Another translation says, 'his heart went out to him' (Luke 10:33) The Message). Compassion, grief, sorrow, and happiness are all emotions that emanate from the heart.

The appearance of the word heart refers to the essence of our own will, our volition. Often, we find this volition entwined with the heart. The prodigal son was a long way from home when his heart was changed. He said, 'I will arise and go to my father' (Luke 15:18). Then he got up and turned his heart--his intellect, his emotion, his volition--toward home.

At the point of our conversion, God Himself takes that old heart of ours and gives us a new one that is brand-new. That is what He promised to do: 'I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD' (Jeremiah 24:7).

So, while man may look on the outward appearance, God is looking upon our hearts. He is mindful of our thoughts, our emotions, and our will." end

You no doubt have heard something like, 'that person put their heart and soul into it.' Our heart and soul are one. What we think. What we feel. What we do.

When the Word of God encourages a person to return to Him with all their heart, God desires that we give Him control of everything because He alone knows everything.

By the way, Hawkins adds this in closing a three day emphasis on the heart--"It is easier to act your way into a new way of feeling than to feel your way into a new way of acting."

Sobering thought, indeed!

May our thoughts, yours and mine honor the One who has transformed our heart for His glory continually!

In Christ!

Pstr K

Hebrews 10:35-36