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The (Straight From the Bible) Heart of the Matter

Did you know that Heart is mentioned over 800 times in Scripture? 

But it never refers to the literal physical pump that drives the blood. That is, "heart" is only used figuratively, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

"Heart" is All Over the Bible

There are references to a clean heart, a deceptive heart, a glad hart, a wicked heart, a merry heart, a heart of stone, a heart of flesh, a stubborn heart, a new heart, a wise heart, a pure heart...

a circumcized heart? What does all of that mean?

We're told that our old heart is deceptive and wicked, but our heart can also be pure and clean. How do we tell the difference? How do you know which heart you have? Especially if it's deceitful above all things! What if it's deceiving you?

Your Heart is Where God is Looking

We'll get into all those questions in future blog posts, but here's the verse I want to focus on right now:

"But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

As Samuel was meeting David's brothers to see which one had been chosen as the future king of Israel, the Lord cautioned Samuel to not be taken in by outward appearances. Samuel was prone to do like we all do: judge someone's value by their outward appearance. But God, who had formed the physical bodies of each of Jesse's sons, said that their outward appearance was secondary and irrelevant to what God wanted. God said He focused on the heart. The implication is that we should be more concerned for our heart’s condition than our outward appearance. 

Make a Priority of Your Heart

So here's something to think about today: 

How much time, attention, and money do you put into your outward appearance compared to what you put into your heart's condition? 

  • How much time spent at the gym compared to time in God's Word? 

  • How much money spent on clothes and cosmetics compared to money invested in books or courses designed to help you grow as a disciple of Jesus? 

  • How much fretting over wrinkles or excess weight compared to fretting over spiritual apathy in my life? 

Now, I'm not saying we should ignore our outward appearance and let ourselves go to pieces. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, so we should practice temple maintenance and present ourselves as well loved daughters of the King. But we should never get side tracked into only focusing on the outside and ignoring the condition of our hearts. 

1 Peter 3:3-4 emphasizes, 

"Don't let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, but rather what is inside the heart - the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.”

Here again God is telling us that His gaze goes straight through the latest fashion looks and the salon trends and the cool jewelry choices to look directly at your heart. 

So here's the challenge: commit to focus your attention on your heart. Ask God to show you how it works, what's there, and what needs to change. 

You can buy my devotional workbook “From Heart to Walk: How God Wants to Radically Transform Your Life” here.

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