Robert Houk Hitchcock
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   It is known from God's Word that the word "heart" often refers to the seat of the personal life of an individual.  It is the center of the mind where believing and love emanate from.  It is also a word that has been used to describe the compassion, love, grace and mercy expressed towards others in the Body of Christ.  Let's have a look at "heart."

Romans 10:9-10
   That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
   For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

   "Heart"  here is the seat of the personal life. We believe from the heart.  Heart is the inner most part of our being: we believe from the heart.  It's not the casual thought of our minds, but the true register of our believing.  It's not just talk, it's the real thing.

Heart for God

Matthew 22:36-40
   Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
   Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
   This is the first and great commandment.
   And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
   On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

   The first responsibility of man is always to love God first.  The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  These priorities will keep life in perfect balance.  Having "heart" always begins with having "heart" for God.  We love God with all of our heart, soul and mind.  We seek God first, and we love God

Matthew 5:8
   Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

   When a man or a woman is pure in heart before God, then they "see" God.  Then the Word of God  opens up to them, then the understanding flows.  Then life begins to have a simple, but powerful meaning to them.  When the heart is keeping God first, then everything else in life will begin to flow

Acts 2:25-26
   For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
   Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

   David had heart for God, and for the coming one, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He foresaw the Lord always before him and he rejoiced with all his heart.  He saw the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ:  that was his purpose and that was his hope.  Anticipating the first coming of the savior rejoiced the heart of David.  When we keep God first, and we keep our eyes focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, then our hearts, too, will rejoice!

Acts 13:22
   And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

   David is called "a man after mine own heart."  Now that's the perfect compliment and commendation.  David loved God with all his heart; David believed God with all his heart.  David believed on the coming one, the savior to Israel, and it pleased God.

   David didn't always do the right thing; David erred.  But in the end, David stayed put on God!  David had "heart."  He kept the first thing first, and that was to love God with all of his heart and to look for the coming savior.

Luke 24:32
   And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

   Heart for God has to include "heart" for the Word of God.  It is the Word of God that reveals God's heart and purpose for man.  When that Word is the joy and rejoicing of our hearts, we can then have great heart for God and for people.  These men were thrilled to have had Jesus Christ unfold to them the scriptures, to see the plan of redemption being fulfilled.  Our hearts, too, rejoice within us to have the scriptures opened up to us, to have the Word of God made known and made plain to us.

Jeremiah 15:16
   Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

   For Jeremiah, the Word of God was the joy and rejoicing of the heart.  The order of life is "God First," and when that is in proper order then our "heart" for others can be correct.  The Word of God was the joy and rejoicing of his heart, just like the scriptures burned within the hearts of the two men on the road to Emmaus.

Romans 2:28-29
   For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
   But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

   "Heart" is an inside job.  It isn't just the outward actions, but the innermost being of a believer who loves God.  One could do all the outward ordinances of Israel, of the Old Testament, and still be way out in left field when it comes to heart.  That would bring to mind a man named Saul (a.k.a. Paul.)  He had all the "right stuff", but his heart was way off.  Thankfully, he corrected that and became meek to the Father and now we have the revelation of the Mystery!!

Luke 6:45
   A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

   Over the long run, the heart is not hidden like many people might think.  Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.  What do we talk about?  What's in our hearts?  Since God and His Word are sown there in abundance, then that is what, in abundance, will be coming out of our mouths.

Matthew 11:28-30
   Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
   Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
   For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

   Our Lord Jesus Christ had "heart."  He always loved the Father; he always did the Father's Will.  He was "meek and lowly" in heart before the Father.  That's where having great "heart" for people begins.  When we have that "heart" for the Father, then we, too, become rest to the souls of others.

Heart for Others

   The First Century church, in many locations, had great heart and love of God, and as a result, had great heart and love for each other.  They were bonded together in the spirit and in the action of their living.

Acts 2:46
   And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

   To have "singleness of heart" is the goal of any fellowship.  To be like-minded on the Word of God and on the love of God for each other.  That kind of gladness and rejoicing must have been really wonderful.  What a great fellowship to participate in!  It all started with their love and heart for the doctrine of God and in prayers to the God they loved.  That love overflowed to each other and the  result was "gladness and singleness of heart."

Acts 4:32
   And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

   The whole church at this point was unified and blessed.  They were "of one heart and of one soul."  Can you imagine that?!  What a wonderful testimony of God's Word.  Out of this "heart" came great love and compassion for others, and a great sharing of their lives materially and in service to one another.

1 Peter 1:22
   Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

   This is the ultimate aim of the church: to love one another with a pure heart fervently.

1 Timothy 1:5
   Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

   The whole duty of man is to love God with all his heart, and to love his neighbor with a pure heart fervently.  Out of this great love flows the service that is needed and then rendered to others.

Paul had "Heart"

   The Apostle Paul had great heart for God and great heart for the believers.  He is a consistent example of heart in the Word of God.

Philippians 1:7
   Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

   Paul was deeply concerned with the accuracy of the Word, and he was deeply concerned with the spiritual well-being of those he ministered to.  Even though Paul was often separated far away from those that he had ministered to, he had them in his heart.  That's not just Paul saying it, that's God saying it about Paul.  How Paul loved God's people and what great "heart" he had to take care of them in every way.

1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
   But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
   Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
   For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
   For ye are our glory and joy.

   Paul  saw the "big picture" of life.  He believed in God's promise of the coming of His son (God actually showed Paul the third heaven and earth in a vision)!  Although Paul was often taken from his people in bodily presence, he had them in his heart, and he ministered to them in prayer and in the Word of God that he taught.

2 Corinthians 2:4
   For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

   Even when Paul had to reprove and correct God's people, he did it with "heart."  He realized the frailty of men and the slyness of the adversary.  The church at Corinth had gotten way, way off of God's Word, but he still loved them.  He still had compassion on them.  He still spoke the Word to them.  It was out of anguish of heart that he wrote to them to correct them because he loved them so much.  They were in his heart.

2 Corinthians 3:1-3
   Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?
   Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
   Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

   As Paul and his fellow-laborers ministered and lived God's Word among the people, the people became the manifestation of the Word of God that he taught and lived.  They became the epistles of the Word of God, living and real, written in the hearts of men.

2 Corinthians 8:16-17
   But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
   For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.

   There were many others who followed Paul's example of "heart" for God's people.  It was an earnest and diligent care for the people.  It had compassion.  It had forgiveness.  It had boldness to speak God's Word.  It had strength and commitment.  It had the hope.  It had the love of God burning fervently to see God's Word live amongst the people.

Our Heart of Service

Ephesians 6:5-7
   Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
   Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
   With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

   As we have seen from God's Word, we also can be men and women after God's own heart.  Our service for God is in "singleness of ...heart."  As we keep God first, and as we desire to love one another with a pure heart fervently, then genuine Christian service will be the result.  People will be healed.  Hearts will be mended.  Needs will be met.  Forgiveness will replace criticism.  Hope will be living and real.

   Love of God and love for His people is an "inside-out" job.  True love for people is borne out of a genuine love for God.  Those who have "heart" will be of far greater service to others than those who simply have skills.  Skills are wonderful, but the heart is what matters most.

1 Peter 3:1-4
   Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
   While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
   Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
   But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

   It is the "hidden man of the heart" that is in the sight of God to be of great price.  The heart of the believer is prepared in God's Word; the heart of the believer is focused on their Lord Jesus Christ.

   The heart of love is full of grace, full of mercy, full of forgiveness, full of compassion, full of boldness to speak God's Word, full of hope and rejoicing for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Cortright Fellowship
© Copyright March 1999