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The Heart of the Matter - Pat Fraher

by Pat Fraher

People, let’s get to the heart of the matter. That’s all God wants; your heart. But He wants all of it.

No, we’re not talking about the center of your circulatory system; we’re talking about the center of your inner being... your ‘spiritual heart’. Your spiritual heart is your genuine and authentic self. It contains your conscience, your courage, and your desires and affections. It is the central hub of your emotions, your mind, and your will. It’s the part of you that enables you to trust, controls your belief, and therefore your behavior.

There is good reason for the words written in Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

God knows that your heart affects everything that you do, and that is why He mentions it here and 861 more times in the Bible. Further, not only does God want your heart, He also knows your heart. You can fool people, but you can’t fool Him. That is what is being said in 1 Samuel 16:7, which states: “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Read also in Luke 12:34 where Jesus says: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Let me ask you; what do you treasure? God wants to be your treasure. He wants you to trust and follow Him.

God is your Heavenly Father who loves you and cares for you infinitely more than words can describe. Consider that when you read Matthew 6:25-34, and specifically verse 33, which says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Seek God first -make Him your treasure- and he will provide all your needs.

The pleasures and temptations of this world can feel alluring, and even good things if placed above God in our hearts become idols, which we are not to have. And when life gets difficult and uncertain, it is can be so easy to want to lean on people and things and our own knowledge to try to ‘figure it out’ yourself. But God says in Proverbs 3:5-6 to not do that!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6

God also warns against not trusting Him through His prophet Jeremiah: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” – Jeremiah 17:5

Why does God want your heart, anyway? Because He knows that that’s where true intimate relationship comes from. When you fall in love, you give the other person your heart. And when you give your heart away, your affections, your mind, and your will come with it.

God asks for your heart in Proverbs 23:26, “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways.” What He’s asking for here is not lip service and going through the motions -we’ve established that He knows our motives- but sincere, wholehearted relationship.

Further to this point, He said in Isaiah 29:13 “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” Religion is about rules, but knowing God is about relationship.

Chances are you have been in a relationship with someone whose heart wasn’t in it. Not only does He want your heart in it, He wants it all in.

The Greatest Commandment, which leads to eternal life says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” (Luke 10:27)

All of your heart… ponder that, and what it means for you personally.

God’s heart was definitely in it. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God wants to clarify, ‘believes in Him’, so He also gave you Romans 10:9-10, which says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

You believe in your heart, not just in your head. It’s heartfelt faith that saves you.

James warns about insufficient mental belief in James 2:19: “Even the demons believe,” and obviously they’re not saved.

Do you want to know the cool thing about giving your heart to God? You end up getting a new one in return! Call it a spiritual heart transplant. God said in Ezekiel 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Receiving the new spirit is when we are ‘born again’, and Jesus said in John 3:3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Take the advice that David gave to his son, Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:9; “and you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”

We opened with a reminder to guard your heart because your actions flow from it. That is why the state of your heart is so crucially important. Because In the end, you will end up following your heart. Everybody gives their heart to someone or something. God wants your heart in order to save you and be with you forever.

That is why we are called to give our hearts fully and completely to the Lord. “Oh, that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!” – Deuteronomy 5:29

Your salvation comes from your saving belief in Him, your love of Him, and your being born again, and all of these come from surrendering your heart. But only you can give away your heart. You can know, love, and follow Him, or you can follow your own heart. As we’ve established, God wants genuine relationship with his children, so he’s left it up to you to make the decision.

Jesus said in John 10:27-28, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Give your heart to the Shepherd, and get to know Him. The last thing you want to hear Him say is the words of Matthew 7:23, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”


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