God created man in his image spiritually (Genesis 1:26-27) and this means that human beings have the capacity to think and make decisions, to have a will or volition and a disposition or attitude with respect to the will, and to be able to love, repent, and change one’s mind. The seat of the capacity for being able to do all of these things is the heart of man. As one must take care of the physical heart and do that which is beneficial for the body’s heart, so it is with the spiritual part of man that relates to being created in the image of God, the heart, it too must be cared for. This is important because of how the heart of man relates to his relationship with God.
The heart of man can seek God. The Psalmist wrote: “Those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever” (Psalm 22:26). One can see the connection between the heart of man and seeking God. Those that would truly seek God must seek him from the heart and in the manner that is consistent and according to his will. However, during human history those that have forgotten who is the true God, but realize that there is a God, often have sought to seek him through physical or material means, that is to say, making physical things as a representation of God or even the spiritual in order to seek God, and even to the point of immorality (Romans 1:20-32). However, the Bible says that we must seek God with the whole heart.
The heart of man can respond to God. Human beings have responded erroneously to God from many material ways, according to the traditions of men, but it is only when the heart responds to the will of God in the way that God desires that one can truly be pleasing to God (Matthew 15:8-9). The Jews in the city of Jerusalem heard the gospel preached by the Apostles (Acts 2:14) and responded to the message from the heart. They heard the message of the gospel and were profoundly affected by the gospel so that the Bible says; “Now when they heard this they were cut (pricked) to the heart…” (Acts 2:37) “…Then those who gladly received his word were baptized…” (Acts 2:41). With the heart man responds correctly to God. Paul wrote that the Romans had responded in the same manner to the truth from the heart. “…you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Romans 6:17).
The heart of man can rejoice because of God. After hearing, believing, and obeying the gospel by being baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of his sins the Ethiopian “went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). The Ethiopian was rejoicing in his heart because of God and all that God had done for him. The rejoicing of the Christian is not just for the few days after one becomes a Christian, but is for a lifetime because of the continual blessings that are enjoyed in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). For that reason Paul wrote: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Rejoicing takes place in the heart of man.
The heart of man must be taken care of properly. One way to take care of the heart is to continually feed upon the Word of God (Psalm 119:105), to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and to remain in communion with God and the brethren (1 John 1:7). Let’s do what is necessary to have a heart that is seeking God, responding to God, and rejoicing because of God.
by Wayne Brewer