What forms the heart of a believer?

gracetidings with Dr Doug Mamvura

Let me start by defining what we mean by the heart because different people have different definitions of the word heart speaking from a biblical perspective. When we talk about the heart, we are not referring to that organ that pumps the blood in your body.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).” This is the heart we want to examine in this article.

Where exactly is that heart? When some preachers talk about your heart, they talk about it being in the inward parts of your belly. What does it mean? Is it near your spleen or by your liver?

I used to hear other preachers talk about the importance of getting the Word of God from your head into your heart and this used to confuse me. I thought I was supposed to renew my mind, but now you are telling me that is not as good as getting it in my heart. How does that relate to my spirit or soul? If I am spirit soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23), then where does that fit?

Many people who taught on spirit soul and body taught that the spirit was the heart and that is what I used to think for years. My confusion got worse as I looked at the scriptures as a baby Christian for example: Mark 7:21 says “From within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts. How can my heart have evil thoughts?

Furthermore Mark 11:23 says that it is possible to doubt in my heart. So, if my heart is my spirit, then is there something wrong with my spirit? Is my spirit not complete and made new? (2 Corinthians 5:17). These are some of the questions that used to flood my mind.

When we look at the new Covenant, when the Bible speaks of the inner man, it is speaking of the heart, which includes the spirit and the soul.

Present day psychiatry only recognises man as dualistic. The best they can come up with is soul and body. Most professional treatment can only treat the symptoms instead of the root causes.

Unfortunately, many in the body of Christ have become conformed to this worldly way of thinking, and as a result live life with this limited understanding.

Jesus didn’t come to help us manage our brokenness or help us with pain management. He came to give us a whole new life (John 10:10). He became sin and sickness. He literally became the curse for us (Galatians 3:13). He came to give us “a new heart” (Ezekiel 36: 26 -27).

Most of us have been hurt before and so we normally want to guard our hearts and avoid any further hurts from other people. We become very protective of ourselves. Self-protection, is about you building walls around your heart, to keep people from hurting you. God has given us a better way to protect us, if you will let Him.

In Philippians 4:7, the Bible states that “and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We need to heed these words by understanding that everything in our lives flows from the heart. As already stated, the heart is made up of the spirit and soul and it is the entire inner man. Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intends of the heart”.

Only the extreme sharpness of God’s Word can separate between soul and spirit. Our souls and spirits comprise our hearts, and they function as one. Only under the intense scrutiny of the Word of God can we distinguish between them. The relationship between soul and spirit is like the relationship between joints and marrow.

The marrow of the bone is where blood (the life-giving force) is produced. But all the bones of the body are joined together by joints. Without joints, our bodies would not be able to function the way they do.

Likewise, our born-again spirits are the life-giving parts of us. But our spirits are connected to our bodies by our souls. The life that is in our born-again spirits cannot reach our bodies except through our souls. Consequently, the renewing of our minds, will enable the release of life that is in our spirit.

Our heart is like a rewriteable CD in that whatever we think and meditate on is written on our hearts. It becomes a belief. It is possible to have your heart become so corrupted, you can’t even see reality or the truth, you actually believe the lie. You believe something but it is a negative belief system. This is why some people are so set in their negative belief systems and it is very difficult for them to change. Unforgiveness, bad habits, anger, bitterness are some of the causes of this kind of behaviour.

It is also possible to have two different desires at the same time and this is an avenue for instability in one’s life. James 1:8, “he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” and James 4:8, “purify your hearts, you double minded”.

Your journey as a believer is all about you allowing Spirit and truth to fill your soul and cause your heart to be single again, but this time towards God and the things of His kingdom — “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).

Psalm 37:4, “Delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”. When you allow the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to fill your soul, your soul becomes more and more in line with your redeemed spirit. When your new spirit and your changing soul start lining up, or literally filling up, the life of God within you is able to flow from you like rivers of living water.

When Jesus was teaching about the Holy Spirit, this is the analogy that He used. He described the Holy Spirit as filling you to the point of flowing out of your heart and that it would be like rivers of living water. The condition of your heart is a matter of life and death — “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

We have to worship in spirit and in truth yet we have so much worship today that is completely activated by the soul instead of the Spirit. This is caused by a heart that is not aligned to the spirit.

Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: drdoug@corporatemomentum.biz or Twitter @dougmamvura

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