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How "Heart" in the Bible Means So Much More Than You Think!

When the Bible mentions “heart,” it is talking about much more than just your deep emotions.

The fact is it’s broader than that.  References in the Bible to the heart refer to

  • your desires and emotions 

  • your thoughts

  • your intentions

The Hebrew word that is translated "heart" is “LEB”, the Greek word in the New Testament is "KARDIA." Both of these words refer not only to the physical heart, but to the center or the middle of a person, -that is, the down deep real person. It’s the invisible genuine part of you that drives every single outward thing that you do and every single word that you say. How do I know that? Look at this verse: Luke 6:45 "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."  

Your Desires and Emotions

Sometimes references to the heart are focused on desire. These desires can be good or bad. It’s just what you really, really want.

"Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity..." (Romans 1:24)  This is an example of a bad desire.

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4).  This is an example of good desires that come from the Lord Himself.

So chamber 1 of your heart contains what you genuinely desire in your hidden self. 

Your Thoughts and Beliefs

"But Jesus, knowing the thoughts of their hearts, had a little child stand beside Him." (Luke 9:47) 

Here you can see this second facet of the heart focused on - what you think in your hidden self. The true things that go on in your mind. Jesus looked straight through the arguing disciples and saw their thoughts. Here are a couple more verses about the thoughts of the heart: 

Chamber 2 of the heart is the mind, your thoughts or beliefs. 

Your Will and Intent

There's one more facet or chamber of the heart that I have seen, and that's the will or the intent of the heart. 

Proverbs 19:21 tells us "Many plans are in a man's heart, but the purpose of the Lord will prevail.”

You can see how what someone actually desires and what someone actually believes can direct their will and intentions toward what they do and say. 

Here's the heart diagram that you will be continually seeing throughout this course. I'm visualizing the heart as the intersection of our desires, our beliefs, and our wills. 

(A note about emotions…You may disagree and that's fine - this is just the way I have worked it out - but I think all emotions fit in the desire circle of the heart. Because it seems to me that all of our emotions are a result of getting or not getting what we truly desire. Joy comes when my desire is fulfilled, sadness when it isn't. Anger or disappointment results when my desire is thwarted. I think that everything begins with what I truly desire, and then the emotions that manifest in my life are a result of getting that desire met or not.)

So here’s an exercise for you:  try being super honest with yourself about what you desire, what you believe, and what you intend.  Look deeply at your heart, because that's where God is looking.

“Do not consider his appearance or height, for I have rejected him; the LORD does not see as man does. For man sees the outward appearance, but the LORD sees the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

You can get a copy of my interactive devotional workbook “From Heart to Walk:  How God Wants to Radically Transform Your Life” here. Look for info soon about my online course to go with the workbook!

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