What Your Heart and God Have to Do With Each Other
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13
When you have heart pains, you should go to a cardiologist. The word comes from two Greek words cardia and logia. The first word is translated, "heart"; the second means the study of something. Hence, a cardiologist is one who has studied the heart, a heart-doctor.
The word itself is fascinating. It's been around for a long time. Used as far back as Aristophanes and Homer, the word not only referred to that part of your anatomy which pumps blood through your veins, arteries, and capillaries, but was also applied to the inner you, or the control center of your life.
The writers of the Scripture, however, were the ones who popularized the word. They used it in a variety of different contexts. Actually, the first mention of the word itself referred to God's heart which had been filled with pain because of the sins of the people immediately before the flood.
Moses talked about Pharaoh, who hardened his heart repeatedly when Moses, as God's spokesman, said, "Let my people go!" The text also tells us that as Pharaoh hardened his heart, God also hardened the same--a synergism of difficulty.
On the door of every religious Jewish family you will find a mezúzah or a tiny box with a scroll within. It bears the message of Deuteronomy 6:4,5 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." The Mosaic Law ordered a king not to multiply horses, wives, or wealth lest these should lead his heart astray (Deuteronomy 17:17).
When someone gets into trouble, the press almost always talks to the person's mother, who says, "He has such a good heart," or "He is a good boy at heart." Well, Jeremiah the prophet would have disagreed. Jeremiah, who was often on the receiving end of punishment meted out by his brethren, said that "the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure" (Jeremiah 17:9) – which didn't leave much room for optimism. Jonathan Edwards, the early preacher in America, in the spirit of the Puritans, agreed with Jeremiah. He said, "The heart is like a viper, hissing, and spitting poison at God."
Most of the time the image we project to others is different from the one we know is within. In the darkness of the night when we look deep into our hearts, we often see gremlins that are frightening at best. When God chose to destroy humankind at the flood, he assessed man's goodness, saying that "every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time" (Genesis 6:5) --not very good marks!
But there is good news regarding the heart, and it's encouraging to end on a positive note. When we whose hearts are sometimes darkened turn to God and really mean business, God responds because He knows when we are sincere, something which may be obscured to others.
Jeremiah 29:12, 13, records God's invitation, saying, "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Notice that phrase, "all your heart!" Only you know when the needle on the meter hits the peg meaning your heart is completely committed to something. God knows, and you know as well.
"I love you with all my heart," we often tell our wives and kids. Yes, that's possible, and that's also the way you can love and know God, too--with an undivided heart and singularity of purpose. Your heart is you! And you alone know what's within your heart. Guard it well.
Resource reading: Jeremiah 29:1-14