Serving God: Head and Heart
In the conclusion to this blog series on using the different parts of our body to please God, we will consider how vital our heart and mind are in serving God.
The apostle Paul exhorts us to present our bodies as a “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1). Our bodies have many members (verse 4), and we can use our members to either honor or dishonor God.
In the previous blog posts we looked at “eyes, ears and mouth” and “hands and feet.” This blog post will conclude this series by examining our head and heart.
Our head is associated with the seat of our intellect, reasoning and thoughts. The actions carried out by the rest of our body are controlled and determined by how we think. The Bible shows that God is very concerned about how we think and use our mind:
- We are what we think. Our thoughts have a profound impact on our lives. They govern what we do or neglect, what we say or don’t say, how we behave, how we react and how we treat others. The Bible reveals that as a person “thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). We are what we think, because what we think determines how we will act. Jesus taught that a person can be defiled (considered unclean) by his or her thoughts (Mark 7:15-16).
- Watch what we think of ourselves. It’s natural for us to develop an inflated view of ourselves. That’s why the Bible has so much to say about pride and humility. We are warned not to think too highly of ourselves, but instead to think like Christ and think more highly of others than ourselves (Romans 12:3; Philippians 2:3, 5).
- Think on these things. Many people have minds that constantly focus on negative things. But the Bible encourages us to fight this human tendency toward negativity. In the book of Philippians, we are encouraged to think about positive things—things pertaining to God and right living. Our thoughts should be honest, just, pure, lovely and good (Philippians 4:8). One way to change our thoughts is through Christian meditation, which is deep, focused thinking about God and how His Word applies to our lives (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2).
The Bible uses the heart as a metaphor to refer to our innermost being—what we are at the deepest core of our being. Our heart governs our thoughts, emotions, knowledge, understanding, desires, passions and motivations. In short, our heart determines our character and is what God is most concerned about.
Consider what the Bible tells us about our heart.
As the physical heart is the vital organ in our bodies responsible for circulating blood and keeping us alive, what is inside our metaphorical heart is responsible for our spiritual lives.Guard your heart. As the physical heart is the vital organ in our bodies responsible for circulating blood and keeping us alive, what is inside our metaphorical heart is responsible for our spiritual lives. The Bible reveals that the “issues of life” arise from our heart, and because of that we are to guard our heart—or carefully protect it from evil motivations (Proverbs 4:23). To guard our heart, we have to guide it in a godly direction (Proverbs 23:19).
- Beware that the heart is desperately wicked. The Bible says that our natural human heart is “deceitful” and “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). Our sins, the breaking of God’s laws, become etched deeply on our heart and greatly impact our character (Jeremiah 17:1; 1 John 3:4).
King David is known for committing some serious sins, the most well-known being committing adultery with a married woman and then, after she learning she was pregnant, arranging to have her husband killed in battle (2 Samuel 11:3-4, 15). But it is what David did after sinning that God focuses on. David was known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).
What exactly was special about David’s heart—his innermost character and motivations?
Change of heart
When David was confronted with his sins, he didn’t deny them or try to justify himself. He understood immediately that he was guilty and admitted it (2 Samuel 12:13). Even though David made terrible mistakes, he had God’s Spirit in him and pleaded with God not to take it from him (Psalm 51:11). This is because he was sincere about turning from his sin.
To receive the Spirit of God, we first must be called by God (John 6:44), which leads to being “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37)—that is, being deeply convicted of our innermost sins and repenting. This means committing to the lifelong process of changing our heart from being deceitful to being more like God’s (Act 2:38; 5:32). Repentance and conversion are all about receiving a “new heart” through God’s Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26).
This series has covered various parts of our body and how they should be used to serve God. But it truly comes down to the heart. If our heart is right, our whole being will work together to serve God.