The Heart (Trusted or not to be Trusted)
May 23, 2021 // By:Dave // No Comment
The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?
This verse has been quoted more times than I can count and used to prove that the human heart, with it’s emotions and passions, is not to be trusted.
Jesus’ words seem to confirm this doctrine from the days of old (the days of a covenant of
law between fallen man and a perfect God.
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander.
For from within the hearts of men come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,
but even the old testament offers a balance to handling our fallen hearts:
(David, a man whom scripture tells us had a heart after God, writes)
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life
(KJV uses wellspring) source of life, the starting point
Listen, my son, and be wise, and guide your heart on the right course.
the heart is spoken of in the bible from a jewish viewpoint
the seat of our emotions, our feelings, our joy, our courage, etc
even the OT does not totally toss out the value of the heart, the seat of our feelings and passions, we are told not let it lead us, but we are to shepherd it, steward it, take care of it, protect it pvbs 4:23 tells us that the “spring of life flows from it” we need it.
Jesus also confirms this principle that what we do with our heart determines what we do from the heart. (what goes in, comes back out)
The good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Jeremiah 17:9 paints a very dark portrait of the human heart, and if applied with absolute hardness, leaves a christian with no feeling, no passion, no enthusiasm for anything in life
We end up living like born again Vulcans with no emotions whatsoever .
This makes no sense in light of verses telling us that we are to protect our hearts, receive from the spring of life flowing from them and the teaching of Jesus that if we put good treasures into our heart, good will come back out.
let’s look further:
And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh,
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD. They will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with all their heart.
yes, these speak of the nation of Israel as a nation, but a nation of made up of individuals
(a nation cannot receive a new heart, if the people comprising it do not individually receive new hearts)
David speaks to this idea of a new heart (a cleaned/repaired) for himself
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:3
It is clear that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!
we get a new heart when we are born again. A heart that is aligned with God.
Our new heart, part of our new nature, can be trusted because it has feelings, passions, joys, and sorrows that are in perfect alignment with God’s.
The old heart, yes, that one is dangerous
(it’s the one that tries to trick us into thinking that
- vengeance is fair and godly
- controlling someone is the same as protecting them
- selfishness is just good stewardship
So how can we tell which heart is pumping emotional blood to our brain at any given moment ?
Gal 5 lusts of the flesh vs. Fruit of the Spirit is a great litmus test.
remember Luke 6:45
The good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Jesus said this in the context of using discernment of fruit to determine the source of the fruit, the tree itself
Luke 6:43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil [a]treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Jesus did not block his emotions
(rather we can read about His emotions and expressions of them (what he did with those emotions/passions) none of which were sins.
1. Joy–at pleasing His Father.
While Jesus is often referred to as “A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3), He was also one who knew joy. In John 15:10-11, Jesus told His followers if they keep His commandments, they will abide in His love just as He has kept His Father’s commandments and abides in His Father’s love. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full,” Jesus said. What joy was Jesus referring to? The joy that came from complete obedience to His Father. The joy that came from fulfilling His mission here on earth. The joy that came from pleasing His Father in Heaven.
joy χαρά, chara, n. . joy, rejoicing, happiness, gladness
NT — 3. Greek words for joy. There are three different word groups in the NT that express the idea of joy.
- Agalliao is a loud, public expression of joy in worship. It focuses attention on God and his past and future work for the believer.
- Euphraino emphasizes a community joy, expressed by believers in times of religious festival or neighborly banquet. It does not describe the feelings of the individual as much as the atmosphere of shared enjoyment.
- Chairo is the word for joy that is used most often in the NT. It has reference to both the subjective state of joy and the things that bring joy. Each of these words is used in the Septuagint to translate several of the OT terms for joy. The NT retains the basic OT outlook on joy.
Joy is most often linked in the NT with God’s work in fellow believers whom we love and whom we serve. This thought is behind the joy spoken of in a number of passages (Ro 16:19; 2 Co 1:24; 7:7; Php 1:4,25-26; 2:2,29; 4:1; 1 Th 2:19-20; 3:9; 2 Ti 1:4; Phm 7; Heb 13:17; 1 Jn 1:4; 2 Jn 4,12; 3 Jn 3-4).
Chairo joy is a personal experience and/or expression of happiness (in biblical context; in relation to our place before God)
it can also motivate us to draw closer to God or do more in acts of obedience in that relationship (pleasing the Father)
Hebrews 12:2 tells “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
How can the word “joy” exist in the same sentence as the words “enduring the cross” and “scorning its shame”? Because Jesus knew not only the joy of complete obedience to His Father, but the joy of what was to come – the eternal reward, being reunited physically with His Father in Heaven, having secured for eternity the salvation of all who would believe.
Do you find delight in pleasant circumstances or knowing that all is well in your world? Or do you know deep joy by focusing on the eternal rewards of obedience to your Heavenly Father, sensing His smile as you surrender daily, and fixing your minds on what is to come (Colossians 3:2)?
2. Emotional Exhaustion–from the demands of ministry.
Do you ever start to think I can’t face any more people or pressures right now? Do you find that to cope you need to slip away and have some quiet time to yourself? If you feel that way after trying to be all things to all people, then you need boundaries in your life and work and a reminder that you are not responsible for everything. But if you’re feeling that exhaustion and overwhelm because of a continual pouring out in ministry, Jesus did too. Even the Son of God had to withdraw by Himself from the crowds after an extended time of ministry in order to refuel and re-energize through rest and quiet communion with His Father (
- Matthew 14:13 when Jesus heard about the execution of John (Mark 6:31)
- experienced a loss
- Luke 5:16 Jesus would often slip away to the wilderness to pray
- needed to refocus, recalibrate, be refreshed
- John 6:15 “So Jesus, aware that they intended to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself, alone.” immediately following the multiplying of the bread and fish
- get away from expectation of people that dont align with God’s
When you need to get away from people, is it because you’re tired of them? Or is it because you long to be with Your Father to refuel, refocus, and reprioritize? You can identify with the heart of Jesus when you pull away now and then to rest in and commune quietly with your Heavenly Father.
3. Anger/resentment–at the hypocrisy of the religious.
Instead of being angry with sinners and how they lived, Jesus was indignant toward the so-called “religious” who touted a spotless image on the outside, but cultivated critical, hardened hearts on the inside. Jesus used harsh words toward the religious elite of his day saying things like, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33).
Does this narrative of Jesus confronting the religious crowd conflict with your picture of who Jesus is ?
Jesus’ anger with how the religious leaders of his day spiritually oppressed others echoes God’s disdain for Israel’s “shepherds” in Ezekiel 34.
Ezek. 34:1 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Ezek. 34:2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘This is what the Lord GOD says: “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should the shepherds not feed the flock?
Ezek. 34:3 “You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock.
Ezek. 34:4 “Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you searched for the lost; but with force and with violence you have dominated them.
Ezek. 34:5 “They scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every animal of the field and scattered.
Ezek. 34:6 “My flock strayed through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.”’”
Ezek. 34:7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
Ezek. 34:8 “As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “certainly, because My flock has become plunder, and My flock has become food for all the animals of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock,
Ezek. 34:9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
Ezek. 34:10 ‘This is what the Lord GOD says: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them stop tending sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will save My sheep from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”’”
Jesus even described false prophets as those who come in sheep’s clothing “but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
Do you feel anger toward leaders in the church and religious community who abuse their power, care more about their own comfort and image than that of other believers, and “fleece the flock” in the name of service to God? Are you enraged by anyone who would, in the name of Christ or spirituality, lead other believers astray or interfere with the discipleship and growth of a new believer? Do you loathe legalism to the point of calling it what it is? Jesus did. And He made no apologies for such.
4. Disgust/outrage–at greed, racism, and oppression of the poor.
Jesus was absolutely indignant toward the money changers in the temple. Not because “you shouldn’t sell stuff in church.” Not because “the church had become a marketplace” (as you may have heard while growing up in Sunday School). But because the religious leaders were financially oppressing and even cheating those who wished to honor God through a sacrifice in the temple. Their unlawful money-changing, dishonest animal prices, and price-fixing tactics in the Court of the Gentiles prevented non-Jews from honoring God with sacrifices. Their actions were downright racist and Jesus was disgusted with it (John 2:13-16). (Matt 21)
John 2:13 ¶ The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
John 2:14 And within the temple grounds He found those who were selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.
John 2:15 And He made a whip of cords, and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;
John 2:16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away from here; stop making My Father’s house a place of business!”
these tables were set up in the court of the gentiles (the outer court) which was the only place gentiles could go to participate in worship of God.
the gentiles were forced to:
- exchange their foreign currency for temple coins at a poor exchange rate
- the animals they brought for sacrifice were being being inspected and rejected (even if good)
- buy “temple approved” animals for “rip off” prices
This exclusion and profiteering from the good intentions of others enraged Jesus into pulling an Indiana Jones-style cleanup act in the temple, complete with a handmade whip. Sharp words weren’t cutting it anymore. This time He overturned tables, threw chairs across the room, and left the place a decimated mess! Emotional? You bet. Out of control? No. More like unbridled righteous anger and zeal for the house of God that consumed Him (Psalm 69:9).
Does oppression of the poor, exclusivity in worship, unethical handling of the church finances, or an attitude of racism in the church provoke that kind of disgust in you? Perhaps it should.
5. Grief–at the ravages of sin and death.
When Jesus’ close friend Lazarus died and his sister Mary said those words wrought with disappointment, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32), Jesus evidently felt sorrow. Certainly, Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead and that is why He let him die and remain in a tomb for four days (John 11:4-7, 14). Yet we read that, “When Jesus saw [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” and “Jesus wept.” (verses 33-35). For Mary? At the thought that He disappointed her? For the loss of Lazarus?
Jesus saw the ravaging result of sin and He knew better than anyone that death was not a natural part of life, but the most unnatural thing anyone created in the image of God has to experience. It wasn’t God’s perfect plan. And coming face to face with the agony that humans experience from the sting of death moved Him to weep. Shortly thereafter, Jesus fulfilled His purpose for coming to this earth by dying on a cross to eradicate the sting of death and rising from the dead to conquer the grave (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).
Does the loss of a loved one, believer or not, move you to tears? Do you hold within you an ache for someone who has been ripped from your life? While we have the hope and assurance that those who are trusting Jesus alone for their salvation will live eternally, the temporary separation caused by death still grieves the heart of God. Psalm 116:15 tells us, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.” If losing someone through death moves you to tears, it moved the Son of God to tears, too.
6. Compassion–for the lost and downtrodden.
I used to be critical of unbelievers who lived an ungodly lifestyle. Those who found themselves living on the streets were there because they had rejected Christ and made a series of bad choices, resulting in burned bridges and a lack of relationships, I concluded. Yet, Jesus had compassion on those who were suffering, whether it was from physical ailments (Matthew 9:20-22) or the direct result of sin (John 8:1-11). Regardless of how they got where they did, Jesus saw people as created in the image of God and showed compassion on them–even the dirty, disfigured, leprous, rebellious, contagious, and forgotten.
When you see someone who is living with the consequences of their sin does it make you cringe or cry? Is your heart moved to pray for that person’s relief, healing, comfort, and salvation? Is your compassion strong enough to cause your hand to extend in action, help, or hope for another? That’s what Jesus would do.
7. Frustration/disappointment–at slow learners and their lack of faith.
In Matthew 17, when a man brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus, claiming Jesus’ disciples couldn’t cast out the demon, Jesus’ harsh words were evidence of his growing frustration with people who had seen all the signs and should’ve known better than to doubt who He was: “‘You unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.’ Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment” (verses 14-20).
Jesus also expressed frustration at His own disciples who just didn’t get it. After teaching earlier in the day about the Kingdom of God and growing in faith, Jesus was awoken from a sound sleep by his disciples who were accusing Him of not caring if they drowned in a storm that was threatening to overturn their boat. Jesus responded by commanding the wind and waves to “Be still.” He then turned to His followers, in apparent frustration, and asked, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:35-41).
While you are following God’s command to disciple young believers, you can rest assured that Jesus understands your frustration when someone has been taught in the Word of God and given the best instruction available and still can’t apply their faith in a stressful situation.
8. Stress/anxiety) – at impending suffering.
When Jesus sweat blood and tears in the Garden of Gethsemane just before being arrested, it wasn’t out of fear of what was to come. It was more like agony, knowing He would bear the sins of the world on His shoulders, knowing He would endure the temporary separation from His Father’s enabling. And that caused Jesus to pray so intently, and in such agony, that He sweat blood and tears as He prayed: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me…” In His humanity, He dreaded what was to come. But in His faith and pure obedience to His Father, His agony made for surrender: “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Do you dread an upcoming surgery? A chemotherapy session? A trial or interview in which you must revisit something painful or distressing? Jesus understands. Hebrews 4:15 assures us we have a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, and has not only “been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” but has also endured more suffering than we will ever have to experience ourselves.
9. Empathy–for the pain of others.
Jesus was empathetic toward others and the physical and emotional pain they were experiencing.
As much as Jesus suffered physically through His arrest, torture, and crucifixion, His heart and mind was on the emotional pain His mother was experiencing as she witnessed the torture and death of her firstborn son. Her care and provision, after His death, was paramount on His mind (John 19:25-27).
- His first miracle, water to wine at a wedding, takes place after he has just told His mother in so many words that “doing something” was not in His timeline.
- feeding thousands of people gathered to listen to him (cool but not necessary)
- giving Peter two boat loads of fish was cool too (but not necessary) He could have just sunk his boat and said “since you have no boat to fish with, follow me”
Do you hurt along with others when they hurt physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Jesus never minimized anyone’s pain, compared it to someone else’s, or told someone “don’t cry.” He hurt along with them.
10. Forgiveness–in the face of betrayal.
Prior to being arrested, Jesus told His disciples that all of them would fall away that night because of Him (Matthew 26:31). They essentially deserted Him during His darkest hour even though just hours earlier at dinner they had each claimed they would never leave His side. Yet, Jesus extended grace toward all of them after rising from the dead. He even made sure that he reiterated His love for Peter three times – the same number of times Peter denied His love and even knowledge of Jesus!
Jesus commanded us to be different from the world by loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-44).
How much more difficult it is to love and forgive someone who at one time confessed their love for us and then betrayed us? Can you extend grace, love, and forgiveness even to those who have wronged you in a very personal way? When you do, you are expressing the same love, grace, and forgiveness that Jesus showed.
we are not instructed to emotionally castrate ourselves to walk the christian walk (and we certainly can’t claim to be walking with Christ while denying ourselves the very emotions He demonstrated while ministering to us, sinlessly by the way.
Our hearts have been made new
Our hearts are meant to be part of our walk with God
Is there more risk involved ? yes
Is there more to be gained ? yes
How can we exemplify the Shemah without our hearts as part of the expression ?
And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One.
And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
repeated in Deut 10:12 and 30:6
Our hearts are to be part of our walk and part of our worshipWe cannot be Christ-like without our heart
(our feelings and passions that arise within our new heart)