the Lord looks on the heart…

As I pondered this beautiful work of art by Krista Hamrick and her heart-felt prayer…“Lord, when You look inside my heart, I hope all You see is YOU!”…I felt led to do a word study of the word heart from 1 Samuel 16:7

Amplified: … “for the Lord sees not as a man sees, man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

The word heart, kardia, does not refer to the physical organ, but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will.

Kardia gives us medical terms such as cardiac, cardiovascular, etc. Just as the integrity of our physical heart is vital to our physical life, in a similar and even more important way the integrity of our spiritual heart is vital to our spiritual life, for our spiritual life impacts not just our enjoyment of time, but of eternity.

While kardia does represent the inner person, the seat of motives and attitudes, the center of personality, in Scripture it represents much more than emotion, feelings. It also includes the thinking process and particularly the will. For example, in Proverbs we are told, “As (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus asked a group of scribes, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:4). The heart is the control center of mind and will, as well as emotion.

The Scottish writer John Eadie writes, “The “heart” belongs to the “inner man,” is the organ of perception as well as of emotion; the centre of spiritual as it is physically of animal life.”

Biblical scholar W.E. Vine writes that kardia “came to denote man’s entire mental and moral activities, and to stand figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life, and so here signifies the seat of thought and feeling.”

Pastor John MacArthur commenting on kardia writes, “While we often relate heart to the emotions (e.g., “He has a broken heart”), the Bible relates it primarily to the intellect (e.g., “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders,” Matt 15:19). That’s why you must “watch over your heart with all diligence”  (Proverbs 4:23). In a secondary way, however, heart relates to the will and emotions because they are influenced by the intellect. If you are committed to something, it will affect your will, which in turn will affect your emotions.”

Pastor Marvin R. Vincent writes, “Kardia is the central seat and organ of the personal life of man regarded in and by himself, Hence it is commonly accompanied with the possessive pronouns, my, his, thy, etc.”

Pastor Robert Haldane states, “Christian obedience is obedience from the heart in opposition to an obedience which is by constraint. Any attempt at obedience by an unconverted man, is an obedience produced by some motive of fear, self–interest, or constraint, and not from the heart. Nothing can be more convincing evidence of the truth of the Gospel than the change which it produces on the mind of the believer. Nothing but almighty power could at once transform a man from the love of sin to the love of holiness.”

Heavenly Father, I am so grateful that when You look at me, You see my heart covered by the blood of Jesus…Thank You for giving me a heart which yearns for Your Presence, a yearning for You that draws me over and over into Your Presence, a yearning that makes only a few days without time in prayer and Your Word seem like an eternity. Thank You for giving me a heart which is motivated first and foremost by a desire for You, not for what You can do for me, but a yearning for Your Presence. Thank You for giving me a heart that wants You more than anything else You could give, to love You and know You more than anything in life. Thank You for giving me a heart that takes what You have made known to me and makes You re-known to everyone else, a heart that makes Your name and renown the desire of my heart. Thank You for giving me a heart to feel Your Holy Spirit woo me once again to the place where I meet You. In the simplicity of my prayer time, thank You for giving me a heart to be suddenly confronted by the majesty of my Redeemer—the One Who is responsible for any good in me. Lord, each morning, thank You for giving me a heart that welcomes Your fresh mercies which fall like manna from Heaven, and once again move my heart. I gratefully surrender all. Morning after morning. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on 1 Samuel 16:7

Look In—as you meditate on 1 Samuel 16:7 ….pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: “Because God is_________, I will_____________.”

Look Out—as you meditate on 1 Samuel 16:7 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory

About the author : Beth Willis Miller

Beth Willis Miller

Meet Beth Willis Miller, M.Ed., author of Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ with illustrator Krista Hamrick; contributing author of three books: Under His Wings: Truths to Heal Adopted Children's Hearts; 21 Stories of Generosity: Real Stories to Inspire a Full Life (A Life of Generosity); A New Song: Glimpses of the Grace Journey (an anthology of essays, poems, stories and photos celebrating God's grace on life's journey); and member of AWSA, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Beth has a Master's degree in Education, in curriculum, instruction, and supervision. She writes articles on a variety of topics to inspire and encourage others. Her expertise as a creative and critical thinking specialist is steeped in years of experience as a writer, presenter, educator and former Florida Department of Education State Consultant for Gifted Education. Seeing others' lives transformed by the truth of God's Word is her passion and purpose. She is married with two adult children, and two adorable grandsons.

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