In Scripture, the heart refers to a person’s intellectual, moral, and emotional responses. There are over a thousand references to heart in the Bible. The intensity of matters of the heart finds sharp contrasts, from divided to devoted. While negative attributes depict the heart as proud, greedy, stubborn, hardened, deceitful, and backsliding, the positive characteristics of the heart portray cleanliness, reverence, brokenness, tenderness, repentance, joy, and “a heart after God’s own heart”. Unlike today’s use of heart which is usually all about feelings, in ancient writings to include the Bible, the heart represents the center of one’s being, the inner person, frequently interchanging heart and mind and will.
Henry David Thoreau writes, “The more we know about the ancients, the more we find that they are like the moderns.” Frequently I hear folks say that America is more and more like the Romans of ancient times. The adage that ‘history repeats itself’ plays out in many ways, century after century, decade after decade. Oh, each one does it better or with more sophistication or at least more technology. The greatest deception of the heart thrives within the self-focused, self-willed certainty of our own abilities.
Humanity is naturally prone to deceit. A deceitful heart is dishonest, fraudulent, and willfully turns from truth. This is the very reason we need God, because on our own we are simply unable to keep a pure, faithful, honest heart. God sees each heart and knows its truest motivations and deepest emotions. The flaws within the human heart will always need rescuing! Warren Wiersbe writes, “It is a mark of true spirituality when God’s glory is what motivates a servant’s heart.” Our everlasting hope rests in trusting the Lord with our whole heart, and Christ brings us the grace we so desperately need. -dho