The heart – an important devotional for the Western mind

Proverbs 4:23:

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Definitions:

In Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which is a listing of primary words contained in the King James version of the Bible, the brain is not mentioned once, whereas the heart is cited 826 times.

“The heart.  Sometimes means our reasoning or understanding. Sometimes our affections and emotions. Sometimes our will.   Generally it denotes the whole soul of man and it’s faculties, not individually but as they all work together in doing good or evil. The mind as it reasons, discerns and judges;  the emotions as they like or dislike;  the conscience as it determines and warns; and the will as it chooses or refuses;  are all together called the heart.”    Jerry Bridges ‘ The Pursuit of Holiness ‘. Adapted from the definition of the heart by Puritan John Owen

Our devotionals over the next year will be based on an alternative view of humanity – a Biblical philosophical view that leads to us as human beings exploring the unlimitedness of divinity rather than running into the moral and psychological cul-de-sac to which European academic adventurism has led.  I like the term cul-de-sac, because it holds up the possibility of returning to the path of progress by putting one’s vehicle in reverse gear.

The Biblical counter proposition to the view of contemporary psychology, is that the heart, or the “inner man” as it is also described in the Scriptures, consists not only of mind, will and emotions [collectively referred to as the soul], but also includes a faculty that was placed there by a designer, to provide a permanent means of access for a divine Creator.  In other words, human beings are created to live in company with God, and to communicate at His Level.   This is the fundamental distinctive of human beings and is the reason for the baffling uniqueness of human beings, and indeed, planet earth. It is the reason for the incomparable value of human life.  The values on which civilized society are built have this as their core assumption, and European adventurism in exploring how the assumption of human distinctiveness could be undercut are as wise as taking a sharp axe to the very branch on which you are standing.  The confidence we have in the future of society is not based on our confidence in the intelligence of academics, but rather our confidence in the robustness of the evidence that the Biblical assertions are true.  All of scientific endeavour has so far helped to more and more powerfully cement confidence in the Biblical record, even if certain erroneous interpretations of Scripture have been shaken by those investigations.

The heart thinks, feels, has a conscience, a will, is affected by ancestral as well as environmental influences. Most of all, the heart believes – Romans 10:10.  When we see the heart of people rather than just their exterior, we are viewing them as God does [1 Sam 16:7].  This is what we should be considering about ourselves:  what is the state of my heart?  Psalms 139:23-24

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