Monday, November 16, 2009

How To Develop Your Christian Heart

Christians should love, serve, minister with head, heart, hands.
Mark 12:28-31

Last week - developing Christian head
Today - developing Christian heart.

Definition of heart: Comes from the Greek word cardia. Literally it's a physical organ, often considered the primary organ by most cultures because it is the primary physical organ for maintaining life.
Question: Why??? why more so than the stomach? liver? kidney? brain?
Answer: probably because: A. it's in the center of our body
and B. it appears alive!! it beats. we can feel it and hear it.
And, when obvious, visible activity ceases... life ceases!!

So... it's a natural, easy transition for "heart" to describe the primary, center and deepest seat of man's being.
"Heart" = the person, real person, the inner person, the hidden person
Therefore: a good heart means a good person and a bad heart means a bad person.
"Heart" blends our mental and moral activity. It combines, melds the rational and emotional
"heart" is feelings but it's more than feelings! It includes the mind but is deeper and more complex than intellect.

The Bible "heart" means the seat of our moral nature, spiritual life/ seat of grief, joy, our desires, affections, thoughts, perceptions, understanding, imagination, conscience, intentions, motives, purposes, our will......

AND it is also the primary seat of God's activity within us!!
God deals with the heart! 2 Cor. 1:21-22 Eph. 3:17
The heart distinguishes us from animals - we have a heart like God.

It is Complex!! Therefore, we need Scripture to aid in the definition and description....
Gen. 6:5-6
Ex. 25:2
Deut. 4:28-29
Deut. 6:5
Deut. 8:5
1 Sam. 13:14 (Samuel to Saul)
1 Sam. 16:7
1 Kings 3:9 (Solomon's prayer)
Job 19:25-27 (Job in his affliction)
Job 29:13 (concerning his goodness to the needy)
Ps. 14:1
Ps. 15:1-2
Prov. 2:2
Prov. 2:10
Prov. 3:5
Isa. 40:11 "the Sovereign Lord...."
Jer. 3:15-16 (the LORD speaking...)
Matt. 15:17-20 (Jesus.....)
Luke 6:45 (Jesus...)
Luke 7:11-13 Incidence showing Jesus heart....
Acts 2:37 - Peter preaches at Pentecost....
Acts 7:39-40 (Stephen's sermon...) "their hearts turned back to Egypt" - (not in physical actuality, geographically, not with feet and hands)
Heb. 10:22 purity, singleness of heart; an "undivided heart"
1 Pet. 1:22 Agape means active love (hands) but not to exclusion of heart!
Rev. 1:2-3 "take to heart" - consider, take it seriously, ponder and therefore prepare...

Word Pictures: Verbal descriptions that go beyond simple definition...
Ex. 28:29-30 - point being: proper heart to help make proper decision (head) so can pursue proper action (hands) blending mental and moral.

Summary verse:
Prov. 4:23 - watch over your heart, keep it with all diligence... for out of it flows all the issues of life!!! (things that affect eternal being come out of the heart)

(remember - we are all born with a tainted heart. But we are called to develop a Christian heart anyway)

SO, How to Develop Your Christian Heart

#1. Define Christian heart (what's a proper heart look like?)
The answer is found in Scripture NOT in your heart!!!
ask anyone on the street "describe a good heart". Answer will match the person being asked!!
Your opinion or description comes from a tainted heart!!! Jer. 17:9
In C. S. Lewis' book "The Great Divorce" he writes that "each occupant of hell is still justifying himself and defining his righteousness accordingly!"

#2. Discipline your heart. (your heart is largely controlled by YOU!)
Some scripture tells us to discipline our own heart.
Deut. 4:9 - guard
Prov. 7:2-3 - program, train
Prov. 23:19 - direct, correct, clean up
Joshua 24:23 - yield

#3. Open Your Heart (to God and to Christ)
(A conscious, deliberate decision and action....
A. initially Rom. 10:8-10
B. Continually 1 Pet. 3:15
C. Relationally Heb. 10:19-22 a

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