In the last several posts, we reviewed the multiple facets of faith. In the post, Faith is, we reviewed the Word of God and defined faith as trusting in God’s truthfulness, reliability, ability, and strength. In the post, Don’t Leave Your Faith All Alone, we read that faith works by love, and faith manifests itself through action. In the post, Faith the Fertilizer we reviewed how faith is a key to our ability to increase in the knowledge of God. We also found the characteristics of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, are fertilizer. They, individually and collectively, create an environment that enables the Fruit of the Spirit to grow in our lives. Lastly, in the post Faith and the Fruit of the Spirit, we found that walking in the Spirit is an outward manifestation of the condition of our hearts. When we walk in love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, we manifest the influence of the Spirit of God as partakers of the divine nature. In this post we will focus on the connection between faith and the heart. As always, let’s go to the scriptures.
Protect Your Heart
Matt 12:34 (NIV) You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Luke 6:45 (NLT) A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
Proverbs 4:20-27 (NLT) 20 My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. 21 Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, 22 for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. 23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. 24 Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. 25 Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. 26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. 27 Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
According to these scriptures from Proverbs, we are to diligently guard our hearts because our life flows from our hearts. Wisdom enters our hearts and produces life and healing. The heart is where our character resides. The characteristics of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and love all reside in our hearts. When those characteristics are mature in us, the fruit of the Spirit is produced: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The heart is where the Holy Spirit resides. According to the scriptures we’ve just read, what’s in our hearts determines the course of our life, authors the words we speak, is influenced by what we spend time watching and putting our attention on, and the path of our feet. No wonder we are to diligently guard what goes in there.
According to Proverbs 4:21, we are to allow words of wisdom to penetrate deep in our hearts. This scripture reveals a couple of things. One, we are in control of what gets into our hearts. We choose the good or bad things that enter our hearts. Another way to say it is that we choose the productive or unproductive, alive or dead things that enter our hearts. Two, it reveals that our hearts have depth. That means that there are levels or degrees of penetration. The more attention we pay to something, the more time we spend involved in it, the deeper it can penetrate our hearts.
For example, the more time we spend meditating on God’s word, the deeper it penetrates our hearts and the more we produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Understanding Happens in Our Hearts
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:10 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.
It was only by the grace of God that the good news of the glorious gospel was able to become real to us; we “saw” the truth of the love God had for us and believed in our hearts that Jesus was the way of salvation. It was only then that we saw clearly enough to want to receive the salvation God provides. That “seeing” took place in our hearts. The need to have our hearts enlightened didn’t stop when we received the truth of salvation.
The Heart and Mind are Connected
The heart and mind are connected. What you meditate on, whether it be fear produced thoughts or thoughts produced by faith, will impact your heart. We are to take no thought and say it. (Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.) Habits and unconscious reactions form from the thoughts we allow to build up in our hearts. We are to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We are to keep our hearts peaceful, meditating and thinking on what’s lovely, of good report, virtuous.
The heart and mind are connected. What you believe about yourself and your circumstances, you’ll seek to confirm and reinforce. What you believe sets you on a path. If you stay on that path long enough, you’ll get to the point where you don’t even recognize differing views. Now if the path is laid by the knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus, it’ll get brighter and brighter. If the path is laid by self-indulgence and/or fear, for example, it’ll get darker and darker. The heart feeds the mind, and the mind feeds the heart, they work together and impact our will and emotions. Trust and truthfulness are imperative because they keep the conscience clear so that the peace of God can flow.
As we’ve read through the scriptures in this post, the heart is critically important. Diligently guard it. Now abides faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Where do they abide? In the heart. In the heart, man believes, and with the mouth confession is made, either positive or negative. Whatever is in your heart is what will come out. Guard your heart and cast down imaginations. The heart’s condition is revealed by the thoughts generated and the words spoken. Think about what you’re thinking about. If the thoughts are good, reinforce them, if the thoughts are bad, replace them by meditating on the Word of God.