A struggle some people have with spiritual truth is getting it into their heart. Westerners have been raised to be mental, or at least to filter everything through their mind, and that seems to block them engaging with truth at a deeper level.
People often give mental assent to something, but don’t seem to believe in their heart.
It is interesting to note Bible references about our heart.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9,10
“Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you are allowed to be baptised. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Acts 8:37
Note that the word ‘believe’ in these verses is directly linked to the ‘heart’, not the head. Belief isn’t a matter of mental calculation, determining all the evidence and weighing up your response. It isn’t a matter of convincing yourself and being able to give a plausible reason.
In the West today, if you tell someone who is not a Christian that you believe in God, they immediately hit you with interrogation as to why, and on what evidence, and how you can justify that belief on logical grounds. This reveals the endemic addiction we have to worshipping our minds, when we don’t actually live out of our minds at all.
Most people make choices based on what they want at a deeper level, and use information to give a plausible reason. It is as if we have to give homage to our mind, even if we are not really relying on it.
If you try to apply a spiritual truth at a mental level it loses potency for you. You need to engage God and the reality of the spiritual world with your heart, at a deeper level than just understanding or thinking something is a good idea.
Your mind is only a part of who you are. No matter how well informed it might be and how calculated your decisions or how profound your insights your mind is just a thin slice of who you are. Your will and your heart have a lot more to do with who you are than what you think you think.
Years ago one of my sons liked engaging Christians in discussion about their fundamental beliefs. He found people who were quite articulate about what they believed and quite firm in their declaration of that belief. Yet as the conversation rambled on, discussing a variety of situations he would find them coming up with responses and choices opposite to what they said they believed.
He did not point that out to them, since his purpose wasn’t to shame them, but it is alarming to find many Christians who think they believe something and don’t in reality live by that belief.
So let me repeat that your will and your heart have a lot more to do with who you are than ‘what you think you think’. You might be quite pleased with your careful and thoughtful determination of what you believe, but not realise that you don’t really believe it in your heart. You give mental assent to it, but your mind is only a part of who you are.
Sadly, the distinction between our mind and our heart may have something to do with the charge of ‘hypocrite’ often levelled at Christians. Some Christians declare what they believe and what they are committed to, but it’s simply not true. They are likely committed to whatever they think will play out the best for themselves in a given situation.
I have shared at times the testimony of a small time property developer who invited his minister to be part of a property development, since the man was a great faith preacher. As soon as there were difficulties the minister lost his nerve and panicked. The non-Christian investors in the project told the developer to get rid of the minister as he was a fool and a jerk and likely to mess up the whole project.
Yet when the preacher was up front preaching his best message on faith he sounded unshakable.
So, for your own stability sake, you need to anchor who you are and what you believe in your heart and not your head.
I heard a Christian counsellor speaking recently about how he finds many Christians who give mental assent to their need to change, or repent, or deal with an issue. He then finds them trying to deal with it at a head level, not from their heart.
Most people ‘know’ things in their head that don’t touch their heart. The heart is the source of all of life’s issues, not the head.
“Keep your heart with great care; for the issues of life come out of it.” Proverbs 4:23
Ask God to help you get past your head and to be able to recognise and live out of your heart. Ask God to sensitise your heart, give you a tender heart in place of a stony heart, and to enable you to connect with God and spiritual reality from your heart.
Remember, your heart is the heart of the matter. So build your faith and your walk with God From Your Heart.