Last Revision of this site was Feb 15 2018
Developing the Heart
Before I became a Christian, my heart was spiritually dead and I was sold to a life separated from God.
Eph 2:1-3 AND YOU [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God]. Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God's] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind. AMP
In this state, I thought I was defined by what I did.
Now as a Christian, I see myself being defined by what I think in my heart.
Prov 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. As one who reckons, he says to you, eat and drink, yet his heart is not with you [but is grudging the cost]. AMP
Prov 27:19 As in water face reflects face, So the heart of man reflects man. NASU
Rom 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Matt 15:16-19 And He said, Are you also even yet dull and ignorant [without understanding and unable to put things together]? Do you not see and understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the abdomen and so passes on into the place where discharges are deposited? But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him]. For out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech. AMP
Luke 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. NIV
In the first book of the New Testament, Jesus explains the meaning of the parable of the sower:
Matt 13:18-23 Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower: While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside. As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy; Yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit. As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it; he indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundred times as much as was sown, in another sixty times as much, and in another thirty. AMP
In the above, it can be seen that Jesus is:
a. Linking “the heart” with “the ground” and
b. Saying the condition of the heart can affect a persons’ spiritual productivity.
In the first book of the Old Testament, we can see the ground being cursed because of man’s rebellion from God’s will.
Gen 3:17-24 And to Adam He said, Because you have listened and given heed to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it, the ground is under a curse because of you; in sorrow and toil shall you eat [of the fruits] of it all the days of your life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you shall return. The man called his wife's name Eve [life spring], because she was the mother of all the living. For Adam also and for his wife the Lord God made long coats (tunics) of skins and clothed them. And the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of Us [the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit], to know [how to distinguish between] good and evil and blessing and calamity; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever —Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So [God] drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden the cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep and guard the way to the tree of life. AMP
From here it can be seen what man’s first rebellion from God did.
a. It “cursed the ground” from which man was destined to eat
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]? [Matt 13:15-17; Mark 7:21-23; Eph 4:20-24.] AMP
b. It destined the ground to bring forth “thorns and thistles among the plants of the field”
Matt 13:24-25 Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away NIV
c. It gave man the on-going task of tilling the ground.
Eph 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. NKJV
d. It separated man from God.
Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. NASU
Today, I see myself as being responsible for tilling the ground (being broken before God because of my rebellion), removing the thorns also and thistles (turning away from that life that was built to rebel from God) and fertilizing the soil (spending time reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on God's word, the Bible).
Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and [true] circumcision is of the heart, a spiritual and not a literal [matter]. His praise is not from men but from God. AMP
Col 2:11 In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts). AMP
Josh 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success. AMP
Ps 1:1-2 BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. AMP
Ps 119:97 Oh, how love I Your law! It is my meditation all the day. AMP
Matt 26:41 All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. AMP
1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation, AMP