9/2 What is ‘the Heart’ and how does it apply to Hearing God?

In our first post on this series ‘Calling Your Heart to Follow the Lord’, we presented an introduction to the important concepts we plan to cover during this time.  To start we, we need to investigate the fact ….that we have a heart!

A.  There are pages and pages of verses in the Bible about the heart. 

1.  The bible simply states that ‘everything comes out of the heart’ and it is the called ‘the wellspring of life’. 

The Heart is the Source of our whole being. We live out of what is in our heart.  It is the source of our actions, thoughts, motives, judgements, expectations, dreams and hopes, Romans 10:6, Hebrews 3:12, 2 Peter 2:14, Matthew 2:8, John 2:25, Proverbs. 51:10, Matt. 12:34b, Proverbs 18:21. The heart is an unconscious, hidden part of us.

2.  All of Life’s Issues come out of the Heart

We can use the word ‘heart’ both to describe the inner, physical organ, as well as the whole being.  The Old Testament talks about the Heart as ‘the governing centre of all the responses of our life’, Proverbs 4:23, Luke 6:45.

The word ‘heart’ in the New Testament is used in a similar way, meaning our ‘inner man’.  All the issues and essential motivations of our life are found in here.  The heart has judgements, expectations and its own way of looking at things. We actually live out of what is in our heart.

3.  However, our heart can be in different ‘conditions’

It can be rebellious, fearful, callous, darkened, anxious, hardened and so on.  It also can be touched by God, cleanses, wise, glad, loves the Lord, sincere and taught to seek God.

As a Counsellor and Mentor, I have sat with people whose heart has been shattered, crushed, stabbed, torn apart or rested in intensive care.  Then there are those who’s Heart has walls of concrete barriers or barbed wire to keep people out.

B.  We cannot see what is in our Heart.

1.  Sigmund Freud talked about the unconscious, subconscious. 

 The Heart has layers of our awareness.  Like the iceburg, only our conscious is seen.  There is much more to our Heart than just the surface part we see.

The psychiatrist Sigmund Freud talked about the ‘unconscious’, an area of personality we don’t know about consciously.  Freud maintained that the unconscious caused us to do things that we may not understand.  When Sigmund Freud talked about the unconscious, subconscious, I believe he was talking about ‘the heart’, that inner part of us that is buried, hidden and easily swayed by desires we allow to control us.

I think he was referring to the Heart but he wouldn’t have used those terms.  It’s an area that is hidden from us, just under the surface of our motivations, dream, hopes, desires and what we think about others.

2.  The Heart is also similar to a treasure house or a mansion

The Heart is the place that stores our pains and pleasures, our childhood memories and all our past events.  The heart is also like a sponge; whatever it is exposed to, it will soak up as store as a treasure.  We have to learn to see what’s in there and then begin to protect it, Philippians 4:7.

3.  The Bible also tells us that we don’t even know what is buried in our heart.

“The Heart is deceitful above all things, who can know it?” Oh, dear we are in trouble?  Jeremiah 17:9, Psalm. 4:23, Luke 5:45, Mark 7:21, Hebrews 3:12, 2 Peter 2:14.  Our Creator is to only One who sees the depths of our Heart and knows fully what is hidden there…and we are still loved!

4.  The heart is not particularly moral or ‘Christian’. 

The heart has its own ways of thinking and handling the pains and pleasures of life, Hebrews 4:12.  It has its own ‘logic’ when dealing with life, usually different from the logic the brain uses.

So we live with a Heart that is hidden from us ….yet contains all the issues of our life.  How are we to discover and bring peace to this area of our life then?  Continue with us as we go into our next post on the different ways our Heart already copes with this hidden and often painful reality.  What can we do about it is included in our following posts.

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author

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