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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

15 Mar '11

The Heart of the Matter

Posted by T.J. Addington in spiritual formation, The heart

Scripture is replete with references to our hearts – the source of our thinking, actions, priorities, motivations and attitudes. Everything important about us comes back to our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 puts this in perspective when it says, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.”

We know that God cares about the content and condition of our hearts. The question that we need to constantly ask ourselves is whether our hearts reflect His heart. A helpful exercise is to read Scripture with the constant question in the back of our minds, what does this text say about the heart of God – and therefore our hearts.

Ultimately, spiritual transformation is about my heart becoming more like His heart and the greatest gift we will receive when we see Him face to face is that our hearts indeed will reflect His heart. To the extent that we bring our hearts into alignment with His heart we will become the people He wants us to be and have the impact that He wants us to have.

This goes beyond good theology, biblical knowledge or legalistic obedience. It is about alignment at our very core. When God talks about caring about the orphan and the widow in the Old Testament – what does this say about His heart for those who are without an advocate? When He instructs the Israelites to treat the alien among them well, what does that say about His heart? When He is gracious to the nation of Israel in spite of their wayward heart, what does that say about His heart?

The Gospels are central to a quest for a heart like His because in Christ we see God as one of us living out the perfection of God’s heart in real life ways. Every passage of the Gospels reveals something significant about the heart of God – and in ways we can relate to. Paying attention to Christ’s heart toward His father, toward the hurting and the guilty, toward the poor and the downtrodden, toward the seeker and the religious hypocrite all tell us something about what our hearts should look like. Bring our hearts into alignment with Him and our thinking, priorities and relationships will follow. The very act of incarnation, God becoming man so that man can be reconciled to God tells us something about the amazing, loving, compassionate, forgiving, humble, missional heart of God.

Because the heart is the wellspring of life – out of which all of life flows, the key to becoming what God wants me to become is not trying harder but allowing Him to transform my heart so that it is always becoming more like His heart. A transformed heart brings transformed thinking, attitudes, priorities, actions and relationships. The heart is the heart of the matter. I want my heart to reflect His heart. The rest follows from that.