entire Bible is about God and the individual human. More than length of life, status, money, or other measurement, God cares about your heart. With God it is always about the heart. Within in the heart there is a little part that acts much like a battery. The medical term for this little part is the Sinoatrial node or SA node.
The SA node is the part that sends out a small but powerful electrical impulse that spreads throughout the heart muscle which keeps the heart pumping blood throughout the body. Without the SA node doing its job the heart could not do its job. Likewise, without love in one’s heart, one cannot interact or respond properly to circumstances and people.
In the Bible there are many verses that deal with the human heart but three passages continue to challenge and guide me. I would hope that by this time in my life I would be a better person and Christian, but too often I identify with what the apostle Paul wrote, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1 Timothy 1:15).
According to God, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his way, According to the results of his deeds” (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
The heart can make us explain away and justify wrong feelings and actions in our lives. The heart can deceive our mind into bargaining with God. But with God there is no bargaining. His grace covers our multitude of sin, but God’s grace will come to an end with the soon return of Jesus.
One must guard his heart because the heart is the doorway to one’s soul and spirit. It is true that God placed needs, feelings, and emotions into His human creation, God said, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet …” (Proverbs 4:23-26). Somedays, I do not guard my heart very well. Do you?
Another passage that deals with the heart was written by the apostle Paul, “What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing unless I loved others. What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing unless I loved others. Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It does not keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails!” (1 Corinthians 13:1-8).
My reaction to people regardless of how they treat me is to treat them with love (often I fall very short in my response and I must ask forgiveness for an ill word or a lack of patience). I remember a saying I heard by an old pastor who said, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I always want to be motivated by true love and according to these verses, I must not be selfish, quick tempered, do not keep a record of who does what wrong to me. My goal is to always be supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting to individuals and for whomever I work with or for.
Sometimes my love fails, but I ask God to forgive me and move on with some painful lessons learned and hopefully a better person and Christian.
The last passage is the most challenging. Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth comes from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man” (Matthew 15:16-20).
Want to know the heart of a person? Listen to what they say, because what is in their heart is going to come out of their mouth. But before we listen to others, we should listen to ourselves. If we change ourselves, the world will change.
Clayton P. Adams, West Memphis, AR email: claytonpadams firstname.lastname@example.org.