TO CHEW ON: "Jesus said to him, ' "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." ' " Matthew 22:37
Here Jesus quotes the great commandment (from Deuteronomy 6:5). The word "heart" is, of course, a metaphor. We don't love God with the literal physical organ that circulates blood through our bodies. So what is Jesus talking about when He refers to the "heart"?
Easton's Bible Dictionary describes the heart: "…the center not only of spiritual activity but of all the operations of human life" - Easton's Bible Dictionary accessed through Biblegateway.com.
Some things the Bible teaches about the human "heart."
- It is naturally wicked; we're born with sin-diseased hearts (Genesis 8:21).
- Our evil hearts contaminate our thoughts and words (Matthew 12:34; 15:18).
- Our hearts must be changed before we can willingly obey God (Ezekiel 36:26).
- They are changed by repentance, i.e. by turning from our natural sinful tendencies to seek God (Joel 2:12) and accept His way of salvation (Acts 8:36-38).
- The heart's attitude and direction are under our will. David, when he commissioned Solomon to build the temple, summed up all his detailed instructions with "Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God (1 Chronicles 22:19) emphasis added.
- Our changed hearts are characterized by attitudes like belief (Acts 8:36-38), obedience (Psalm 119:2,34), trust (Proverbs 3:5), and loyalty (2 Chronicles 19:9).
The condition of the human heart hasn't changed since Jesus spoke these words. His command to love God and neighbor wholeheartedly are as impossible to fulfill as they ever were, with unchanged hearts. Wherever we are on this continuum of heart change, let's press forward (with all our hearts) in our lifelong quest of a spiritually healthy heart.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to evaluate my heart's condition by Your word, allowing it and Your Spirit to point out areas of heart disease. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.