Saturday, April 21, 2012

Heart to Head, not Head to Heart

In the body of Christ, we spend much of our time thinking about what’s on our mind. In fact, we need to reflect on what is on our heart. Better yet, we need to realize that our heart thinks, that we are called to live out the issues of life from our heart.

Joyce Meyer is one preacher who refers frequently to the following verse:

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee." (Proverbs 23: 7)

So,what is on the heart of the believer?:

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

"And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8: 10-12)

Our heart is just fine, for those who have received the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have received a new heart (Ezekiel 11: 18), one which is in turn with the Lord God.

This revelation has set  me free, more than any other teaching which I have recently received from preachers, pundits, and parishioners. Yet I still found that I struggled with angry, sad, fearful, dark thoughts. Romans is very clear about the danger of such thinking:

"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Romans 8: 6)

We have no business pondering empty, hateful, foolish thinking. We must set our minds on things above (Colossians 3: 1), bringing all thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10: 5) We do this through the renewing of our minds, meditating on God's word, which are spirit and life:

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6: 63)

The words of God, they are life and peace -- it is the word of God, therefore, that we need to set our minds to -- not as a work. In fact, the word of God is planted in our hearts (James 1: 21), and grows and bears fruit.

But what do we do about fearful, anxious thoughts?

Philippians 4: 7-8 makes it very clear – "Be careful for nothing." Whatever recriminations you are furried over or worrying about, they have no place taking up space in your head. If your mind is whirring about at ninety miles an hour, you are stilling walking by sight and not by faith, you are living by works, not by grace. We are not our thoughts, we are not our feelings, they merely reveal the man and woman that we are, or the focus us that we have chosen to exercise in our lives.

The world, our reality, our place and presence in this world,  is based on far more than our own thinking. The solipsism which passes for independence in our world has created a class of conformists, craven to face a world that they cannot create or anticipate in our minds. As more schools and professionals and religious authorities have rejected the absolute standards which rise above our daily experience, we find that there is less to do, less to live for. We must believe something,  so why not believe everything that we think or see? The problem with these inevitable limiting beliefs is that they are the mere product of the past, and not even the truth, but our limiting perception of what we think took place in those by-gone days.
We need to focus on the status of our hearts, not our minds. Our minds need to be renewed to the truth, not our hearts. Every believer has received a new  heart – we have God’s laws written on our hearts and minds.

What’s on our heart? Grace, for it is good for the heart to be established by grace:

"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." (Hebrews 13: 9)

We do not thing our way to holiness or wholeness. We do not control our thinking -- in fact, our thinking, the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit does not come through our thinking, but through our hearts:

"And let the peace of God [lit. Christ] rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." (Colossians 3:15)

The peace of God guards our hearts and minds. We do not cast about within our limited intellect for the truth, for comfort, for direction. The Holy Spirit guides us, directs us, convicts the believer of righteounsess, and so leads us in this path for the sake of the One who loved us and died for us.

In the Body of Christ today, the rhetoric is consumed with moving the knowledge of God from our heads to our heart. On the contrary, we need to renew our minds to the truth of who we are in Christ, who has established our heart and fitted us with His Word!

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