Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From the Heart to the Mind

We often think that we need to take what is in our head and put it into our heart. It is much easier to let the heart convince the head than to get the head to convince the heart.

Think of falling in love. Your heart's desire to be with the other person will cause your mind to think of anything you can do to be with them. Now imagine you have no heart's desire for a person but you logically see how they would be good to marry. You have to put a whole lot more effort in convincing yourself to be with them. If someone came along who captured your heart you would be much more inclined to pursue them rather than the person who is the "logical" choice.

Love and Trust Speak Heart Language.
Love and trust speak heart language. We are saved through trust for Jesus in our hearts not facts about Him in our heads.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one trusts and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. For the scripture says, “Everyone who trusts in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-13)
Those who are perishing found no place in their hearts for the truth so as to be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:10)
Set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts (1 Peter 3:15)

God Captures Our Hearts!
God captures our hearts! We cannot know God by simply considering certain facts about Him to be true in our minds. I can know things about my uncle but that does not mean I've met him. If I have never encountered him I cannot trust him. I can hear things about him that make me think he is trustworthy but I cannot place my trust in someone I have never encountered. "Calling on the name of the Lord" means I am calling on a being. We are saved when we trust with our heart not when we think with our head. We are saved not by saying "I agree with the facts of the story." We are saved by saying "I want you Jesus! I need you God!" The key facts of the gospel concern God's love for us. We need to be aware of His love for us to be saved but we can't be saved by simply being aware, we must encounter God and experience His love first hand.

"With the heart one trusts." We can now see that trust or faith is a matter of the heart. A baby trusts whoever shows it affection. It knows little about anyone or anything but it can recognize love when someone shows love. Whoever shows the most affection the baby trusts the most.

We are very much like this baby even when we are grown. Whoever shows us the most affection we tend to trust the most. People can show us affection and then hurt us proving themselves untrustworthy. But God is faithful. He is trustworthy. He is worthy of our trust. He is fit to have our trust. He is suitable for our trust. He is deserving of our trust. He is honest. He is dependable. He is desirable. We can rely on Him to love us. God is love. He speaks the universal language of love. God captures our hearts!

For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the person of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who cries “Abba! Father!” (Philippians 4:6)
The love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5)

Mind vs. Heart
God pours His love into our hearts. We need to get the knowledge of that love from our hearts to our heads. Our minds are often deceived with false teachings and assurance of falsehood.

My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will deceive you through arguments that sound reasonable. (Colossians 2:2-4)
I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity relating to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

When the mind is deceived it fights off honest feelings and discounts the heart. Untruths always burden you or harm others. The mind holds to supposed facts, often from misinterpreted or out of context scripture, so tightly that when desires for the simplicity of being loved by God come it dismisses those desires and replaces them with guilt and obligations. Through the misery of falsehood the heart is never convinced, it is only oppressed and wishing things were different or there was something more. The mind runs with the heart toward love but the heart suffers and is drug along when the mind runs to falsehood.

The mind does not trust. It operates in logic, plans, propositions, and doctrines. When the mind faces the uncertain, it fears. The mind fears in order to protect its beliefs, ideas, and plans. It brings the heart along with it into fear. The heart doesn't want to fear, it wants security, comfort, and affection. Trust is putting your security in someone else. When our minds are led astray our hearts still cry out for the love of God just as Philippians 4:6 says, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who cries “Abba! Father!”

The mind cries out for certainty and validation. Certainty does not equal truth. Certainty means your mind thinks it has found truth and must protect that truth. It wants validation; for people to agree with it, but does not care about genuine relationship. The heart longs for someone it can trust who offers protection. You can use the mind to love but love comes from the heart.

Love comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere trust. (1 Timothy 1:5)
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in the assurance that trust brings, because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:22-24)
Now may the Lord direct your hearts toward the love of God and the endurance of Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

The mind is often the one that stands in the way of us being with our true love Jesus Christ. It convinces us of guilt, though we are forgiven, cleansed, and made right with God. When we are not convinced of our right standing with God (righteousness) our relationship with God is broken in practicality, meaning our mind will not let us relate to Him until it thinks we have been good enough to do so. Offering our body or mind to sin does not break our fellowship with God. The only thing that disallows fellowship with Him is not being convinced of our right standing with God. But just as God pours out love into our hearts and places the Spirit in our hearts to cry out to Him in love, He also convinces us of our right standing with Him (see John 16:7-10).

As Hebrews 10 points out our hearts are clean. We do not have the deceitfully wicked heart mentioned in Jeremiah 17:9. We have the Spirit of God in our hearts. God does not dwell in wickedness. Our hearts are, as Luke 8:15 says, good and noble. The Christian heart is not deceitfully wicked! Be bound by the lie no longer. Know that God has created a clean heart in those who trust in Him.

Renewing the Mind
Our hearts are now good but scripture says that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind.

Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and thus prove what the will of God is, good and well-pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

The verb "be transformed" is in the passive voice (E.g., in the sentence, "The boy was hit by the ball," the boy receives the action). This means the transforming is done to you by God. You don't have to work to renew your mind but the verb is still also a command. So we are to let God transform us. We let Him transform us by offering ourselves as living sacrifices to God. The wording from the Message for Romans 12:1 explains what "Offer your bodies as living sacrifices" means:

"With God helping you take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him."

Knowing and Doing God's Will
Once our mind is being renewed we will be able to know God's will & show that it is good, well-pleasing, and perfect.

Jesus said, "My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and trusts in Him shall have eternal life. Eternal life is intimately knowing God." (John 6:40, 17:3)

You do not have to discern God's will for your life. God's will for all of His followers is for them to trust Him. All of life springs from relying on God and being confident in Him. Life in Christ is walking with God and letting Him love you. He will show you as you walk with Him who to love & when. Ephesians 6:6 says we do the will of God from the heart.

Jesus said, "This is the work of God: to trust in Jesus Christ whom God has sent."  (John 6:29)

I will briefly break down how this trust plays out. The work of God (doing good/loving) is: Reliance On God (to show you when, where, who, and how to love), Compliance to God (doing what He has said), and Reliance On God to be able to do what He said to do (with His love, wisdom, strength, courage, etc).

Peace in Our Hearts and Minds
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice! Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near! Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and humble asking with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

Here God promises that peace will guard our hearts and minds. But what is the condition? Talking to God. That's it! Talking to God and being thankful. When? All the time, in every situation. Well that is a relationship. Telling God what is on your heart at any given time. The more you trust someone the more you are willing to confide in them. The more you are willing to entrust yourself to them. Of course it is like this with God also. When we trust Him we have no problem with being open and honest with Him. Colossians 3:15 says to "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." How do we do that? By being open and talking with God with gratitude.

Scriptures Speaking of Love and the Heart
Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If someone thinks he knows something, he does not yet know to the degree that he needs to know. But if someone loves God, he is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:1-2)

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him. The eyes of your heart have been enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who trust, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength. This power he exercised in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms is the same power that is working in you. (Ephesians 1:17-20)

I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through trust, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

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