It astonished me when I realised that the word “heart” is used in the bible over 750 times, and yet, most people would probably struggle to give a definition for the heart, and I personally can’t ever remember it being explained in church.
Apart from the obvious heart in our physical bodies, What is the Heart? What is Jesus talking about when he speaks of the heart? I’ve talked to many people who either have no real concept of the heart, think that I’m talking about feelings, or maybe think it’s a little deeper but not really have any words to explain it. While I don’t have a clean, simple definition of the heart I have come to realise that it is central to authentic Christianity. But before we get into that further, what do I mean when I talk about the heart?
The heart is deeper than my mind, the heart is deeper than my feelings and emotions, the heart is also deeper than my will. The heart is where what I truly believe is revealed. I can think and say that I believe God is good, but when all my plans that I had to do God’s work fall apart, and nothing has gone as I had expected, hoped or dreamt. I find that the dispair and anger within me tells me that in my heart I don’t really believe that God is good. To put it simply, when the shit hits the fan, what I truly believe is revealed in my heart.
My heart is what drives my mind, will and emotions. It is the core of who I am.
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.Matthew 12:34-35 (NKJV)
For so long I struggled to make myself clean and be a better Christian by trying to control and restrict what I did to stop myself sinning (doing something wrong), so that my heart would be pure. But no matter how hard I tried there were some things that I just could not stop. As I mentioned before, people within church would give me advice on how to minimise my failures but only when I sought the advice of a good counsellor did someone tell me that my actions were just the fruit of of the tree of what was happening in my heart. And even if I did succeed in pruning the fruit in one place the fruit would undoubtedly grow elsewhere and the tree would be stronger.
So if my heart is the core of who I am, and the wrong that I do comes from my heart, how do I change my heart?