What’s The Heart of the Matter?

On Jason’s first day of school, the class was asked to stand, place their right hand over their heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

The teacher, Mrs Jones, watched the children as they began, “I pledge allegiance to the flag….” when she noticed Jason had his right hand over his left ear.  She stopped and said, “Jason, put your hand over your heart.”

Jason replied, “It is over my heart!”

After repeated attempts failed to get Jason to put his hand over his heart, Mrs Jones asked, “Why do you think that is your heart?”

“Because when my Granny visits,” said Jason, “she picks me up and pats me here and says, “Bless your little heart.”  And then he added with conviction, “And my Granny doesn’t lie!”

A lot of people today are like Jason regarding spiritual matters.  I hear folks talk about “heart felt religion.”  Or say “I feel it right down here in my heart.”  Or “I just follow my heart.” And as Vince Gill and Reba McIntyre sang, “The heart don’t lie!”

What is the heart of the matter?

Just like the physical heart consists of four chambers, so does the spiritual heart.  Each has a specific function.  And play a distinct role.  These four chambers of the heart impact and affect our lives completely.

(1) The heart involves the intellect.  The wise man wrote, “as he thinks in his heart so is he.”  Jesus asked the question of the doubting Pharisees, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?” (Mk. 2:8). And Paul affirmed, “that with the heart man believes unto righteousness….” (Rom 10:9)

So the heart thinks.  Reasons.  Believes.  That is the intellectual chamber.

(2) The heart involves emotion.  It can feel pain.  The Psalmist said, The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart…(PS 34:18).  The heart may be broken by sin.  Separation.  Rejection.  When we say, “that just breaks my heart” we’re not talking about something intellectual, but emotional.  And, of course, the heart can also feel joy (Ps. 33:21; 32:11).

So the heart hurts.  Grieves.  Rejoices. This second chamber of the heart experiences all the emotions known to human beings.

(3) The heart involves the conscience.  In John 3:20-21 the apostle says that our heart “condemns us.”  When we violate our conscience, we have a gnawing sense of being wrong.  Of course, as Peter observed, one can have a “heart trained in covetous practices” (2 Pet. 2:14).  After a period of time of repeatedly sinning, our conscience may become, as Paul put it, “seared with a hot iron.”

This third chamber of the heart, the conscience, is our moral compass.  An internal ethical governor. It can keep you from dangerous and reckless practices.

(4) The heart involves the will of Man.  Will speaks to the volition of a person.  To purpose. To preference.  Barnabas encouraged the Christians that “with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.” (Act 11:23).  This requires a decision.  A choice.  A selection.

This fourth chamber of the heart, the will, involves resolve, intentionality and determination.

Now, how do you apply this to the great commandment?  Jesus said, “to love God with all your heart.”

Intellectually I know God through His Word.  He has given me reasons to believe and love Him.  I can think about Him.  And meditate on His loving kindness.

Emotionally, I feel the joy of God’s love.  I revel in His goodness.  Rejoice in His grace.  And delight in mercy.

Conscientiously, because of what I both know and feel, I have a moral sense of God’s love within me.  My conscience is pricked when I hurt Him.  And it is soothed when I seek Him.

And so, my decision is to obey God. My purpose is to praise Him.  I have chosen to serve Him.  My intention is to draw near to Him.  And I am determined to be discipled after Jesus.

And that my friends is the heart of the matter.  The heart.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Heart

8 responses to “What’s The Heart of the Matter?

  1. Amen to this! I’m very blessed.


  2. Phil Cavender

    Excellent thoughts Ken! Enjoy reading this email every morning to start my day. Hope all is well.


  3. Excellent article! This could be expanded into a really fine sermon lesson! Thanks for the well-expressed and well-developed biblical concepts concerning the heart. I both enjoyed the article and learned some things about the heart that I hadn’t considered before.

    Again, well done!


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