Do we really understand what a healthy heart looks like?
MARCH 15, 2022
Matt Heard: Do we really understand what a healthy heart looks like? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
If you’ve suffered too long, under a do more, try harder religion, Key Life is here to proclaim that Jesus sets the captives free. Steve invited Matt Heard to teach us all this week. Matt is a speaker, teacher, writer, pastor, coach, and the author of life with a Capital L.
Matt Heard: Thank you Matthew. So, how’s your heart doing today? We’re spending some time this week talking about that very question. How and why our heart matters so much more, much more than most of us realize. And we’re spending all week unpacking Proverbs 4:23.
Above all else guard your heart for it’s the wellspring of life.
Yesterday, we talked about how important the heart is, that it’s really our command center. It’s central to who we are as human beings, but also central to who we are as followers of Jesus. And our heart engagement is really the difference between superficiality and significance in our journey. It’s the difference between just existing and living and between just surviving and thriving between being a mere spectator and a participant, being somebody who knows the gospel and somebody who’s actually experiencing the gospel. So, the heart’s central to that, today we’re going to talk about what it really is. We looked at a number of passages from over 760 references in Scripture. And we’re seeing that it is more than just emotion. A few years ago, a friend of mine and I, his name’s Jeff. He’s an attorney. He’s more on the, kind of left-brain side of the spectrum, like me. And we were unpacking this notion of the heart and actually talking about our longings. Well, he was up in Boulder, Colorado dropping his son off for college. And there’s a place there called Pearl Street and they’re walking along and a lot of sidewalk vendors. And there’s this one guy who was a sidewalk poet. I mean, he had a typewriter. Talk about an archaeological artifact, the guy had it there. And what you would do is give him a title and he would write a poem for you on the spot on his typewriter. And so, he walked up to him and he said, I’d like you to write a poem for me, entitled The Longings of the Heart. And this guy wrote it. And then Jeff texted it to me. He said, this is unbelievable. See if you agree. This is what the guy rattled out on his typewriter.
The brain is second. It’s the heart that gives the orders. Gives cravings to the bones and the blood. And the brain attempts to gather the armies, often Keystone cop ready to build the castle, but using shingles for siding and floorboards for the roof, too much confusion. All the heart really wanted was a meal fit for a king, a warm place to kiss, music to give love a dance. Not a castle, certainly not a castle built upside down. And this is the problem with the longings of the heart. They’re usually so simple, made such a mess of, by a head full of clowns.
Are you kidding me? This guy just rattled that out on a sidewalk typewriter. It’s brilliant. Did you hear that phrase that you used right at the beginning?
The brain is second. It’s the heart that gives the orders.
So, is that true or not? If the heart is just emotion? No, it’s not true because what you’re saying is our emotions rule us. Not so fast cause that’s not what the heart means. A lot of people think when they hear heart, they think emotions. And they think, okay, if we’re talking about engaging our heart, it means we’re going down a path of sentimentality. No, when I’m engaging my heart, I’m going down a path of significance, not sentimentality and not superficiality. If you want to understand what the heart is, one thing that I’ve done in my own journey, had an image in my mind for propeller. So, picture a propeller with three blades and there’s a hub and those three blades, one’s called my mind, one is called my emotions and one is called my will. And that hub at the center of that propeller, see that is your heart. The heart is what activates and enhances our mind and our emotions and our will, it has to do how we think, how we feel, how we act, and they all need to be in sync with one another. An engaged heart is something, it brings balance to the interplay of those three blades of the propeller and enable us to move through our lives in a significant way. As some of us are more mind people, others of us are more emotion people. Some of us are are will or action people. And the danger, if we don’t pay attention to our heart is we get out of balance and we become overly cerebral or analytical. We can become excessively emotional or way too impulsive. But when we engage our hearts, all of a sudden those three start coming into play and we’re doing all of them. I mean, if you talk about a player, say a football player before big game and you line up four guys that you want to see at the critical moment of the game, take it over. Let’s describe the first guy, the first one’s really smart, he has a game plan. The second guy he’s strong and agile, as strong and agile as they come. That’s the second guy. So, he’s got the physicality down. Third guy, plays with great emotion. Alright, but then you’ve got a fourth guy that you would say plays with all three, that’s the guy you want. And you know who that is, it’s a guy who plays with heart. He’s got the skill, so the action, he’s able to implement, but he also has a good mind about the game and he plays with emotion. And the goal for us to have an engaged, healthy heart before God means that we’re thinking deeply, we’re feeling authentically, we’re acting intentionally throughout. Now, go back to a verse that we read yesterday, Romans chapter 10, verses 9 and 10, he says.
If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart.
Then he goes on to say, and it’s with a heart that we believe. So, when I came to Christ, it involved my heart. It’s not just my mind, it’s not just understanding truth claims. It’s not just an emotional thing. And it’s not just something that I did with my will, like raising my hand at an evangelistic meeting or walking down an aisle, believing involves my mind. It involves my motions. It involves my will. So, for me to live each day with heart, I’m engaging all three blades at that propeller. And for me to follow Jesus with my heart, involves all three blades, my mind, my emotions, my will. Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 13, God says.
You will seek me and you will find me. When you seek me with all your heart.
When you seek me with your mind, with your motions, with your will, imagine that. II Chronicles 25:2 talks about a guy named Amaziah, doing what was, he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly. That describes me more often than I’d like to say, but a whole hearted following is where my mind, emotions and will are all tracking. Remember what Jesus said in Mark chapter 12.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.
My whole heart needs to be engaged. Paul talks to the Ephesians about a group of people who were quote in Ephesians chapter four, verse 18.
They were separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that’s in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
So, my heart has everything to do with whether I’m going to engage with the life. The Greek word there is Zoe, it’s the life of God. My following of Jesus, my experience of the life and the fullness of the gospel is a heart issue. It’s me tracking deeply with understanding my heart is central to me, engaging with God and I need to not have a hard heart. I’ve got some Play-Doh in my hand right now. And Jeremy and Matthew are wondering, is this a therapy thing or what is it? Maybe it’s just because I love the smell and of Play-Doh and some of you right now, all I had to do is say that, and you’re smelling it. And it’s mold able. I actually, I called up a drug store to see if they had some Play-Doh. And the guy said, he didn’t know what I was talking about. He said, what’s it for? And I said, well, you, you, you play with it. You mold it. It’s a, it’s a child’s toy, but it’s really satisfying. And he found it, but I also have some Play-Doh on my desk where I’ve left the top off, over a shelf on a shelf in my office. You know what happened to it, right? That’s Play-Doh that is anything but mold able, when that guy said, what do you do with Play-Doh? I think the answer is, you mold it. And for me to have a heart, that is like Play-Doh, it’s to be this mold able stuff in God’s hands, not this. And when I’m letting him shape me, on an intellectual level, on an emotional level, on an action level, that’s when I can start experiencing what does it really mean to flourish as a human being? You know, David White is a British poet that moved to corporate America and he wrote a book about trying to deal with that, called The Heart Aroused. And he talked about visiting a monk one time and saying how exhausted he was. And that monk looked at him and said, oftentimes the antidote for exhaustion is not rest, but wholeheartedness. A lot of times we’re spent and we’re spent on a heart level. So today, I hope you grapple with your mind, your emotions and your will, and become pliable in his hands and submissive before him. And as a result, I really hope you thrive today.
Is your heart still as moldable as Play-Doh, what a wonderful and provocative question from our friend Matt Heard. Matt will be back tomorrow to teach us more from Proverbs 4:23. Sincerely hope you’ll join us then. By the way, as you’re getting to know Matt Heard better. We want to make sure you know another author and thinker, Dan Allender. Do you know him? Dan Allender and Cathy Loerzel are both authors and counselors. And we spoke with them a few months ago on Steve Brown Etc. Their new book explains how healing from past hurts can actually be the path forward. It is such an encouraging message and we would love to send you that whole conversation on a CD, for free. Call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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