From Contributing Writer Richele from Under the Golden Apple Tree:
The Bible (KJV) uses the word heart 762 times. In the plural form it is used 114 times. The term is used in different contexts and throughout both Testaments. The Hebrews did not have a separate word for mind so often “heart” is used to indicate intellect or thought. While “heart” has been referred to the physical organ in the Old Testament it is more often used to indicate personality, will, emotion, and intellect.
I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
As the Jeremiah 17:10 teaches, God looks to the heart. The heart reveals our true nature. While man may look on the outward and praise for actions or reject persons, God looks to the inward and sees the motivation behind all our feeble or deceitful ways.
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In the above verses we are told to love and trust the Lord with ALL our hearts. Given that our hearts indicates our mind, intellect, will and emotions you can easily understand the weight of these verses. Our hearts cannot be divided and please an all powerful God. If our hearts are fully trusting and loving the Lord it will be revealed in our thoughts and actions.
And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
Here we see the Lord wants our hearts not our possessions or empty church attendance or giving. It was customary for a Jew to tear his outer garment as a sign of grief. However, this action did not necessarily indicate an internal change. It is the heart that reveals such change. Without a heart broken for repentance an action taken is meaningless.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Man’s natural disposition is deceitful. When man accepts the grace and salvation offered through the blood of Jesus Christ his heart is changed. Yet, man must always guard his heart and lean not on his understanding but that of a perfect and loving God to fill his heart with the proper desires and motivations.
We briefly see how important our hearts are to God. The condition of the heart is what we should most concern ourselves with as we walk with the Lord. Guarding our hearts from evil is essential to our spiritual well being. Examine your heart and pray that the Lord reveals to you un-confessed sin or ways in which you are failing to trust or love with all your heart. What does your heart reveal about you? Jesus explains in Matthew 6:21 that our hearts can be revealed by our treasure. As we examine what the Lord wants to teach us about the heart, I challenge you to examine your own hearts.
Richele is a homeschooling mom to four children and author of Under the Golden Apple Tree. Daily she cleans up Play Doh, teaches the three “R’s”, and praises the Lord for the blessings. Her goal is to encourage moms to grow in the Lord and feel the privilege of their role.