So much has been said about the human heart that the word has begun to lose all meaning. In our culture...

The heart is an organ or muscle to be strengthened or healed The heart is something to be protected from others who may harm it The heart “goes on” after major catastrophes on cruise ships (according to Celine Dion) The heart is a wild, undefined, yet vital piece of business in our quest for life and life to the full.

So it isn’t out of the question that we should spend more time on the passages of Scripture that talk about the heart. We have to wrap our minds around what it means to access, develop, utilize and examine our hearts.

Enter the Psalmist, as they always do, with an acute and beautiful statement about the heart. I will praise the Lord with my “whole heart.” (Ps. 111:1) If, as in the world of the Psalms, the heart was the seat of the motivations, the reality the Psalmist is pointing to is very simple.

What motivates us has a great deal to say about our proximity to God.

Jesus says that where our treasure is, our heart is there.

Jesus says that out of our hearts come all kind of destructive things.

Jesus tells us that His very presence will turn the hearts of families against each other.

Jesus tells us that the highest way of life is to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Our heart is part of the greater picture. It is informed by our mind (which we fill) and it motivates our hands and mouths (which we choose to use and monitor) and ultimately our heart drives the greater purposes of the Kingdom of God for us.

Discipleship then means giving up our motivations – our hard-wired agendas and common sense – and replacing them with the agenda of the Kingdom of God.

The best way to surrender our motivations is to practice the Lord’s Prayer. I encourage you this week to pray Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:9-13 each day, and allow for silence after each line. In that silence, listen for God’s prompting your heart to act on each statement.

  1. Do your motivations for this day reveal and confirm that God is holy?
  2. Are your motivations for this day geared to open space for God’s Kingdom to come here and now like it is where He is?
  3. Do your motivations seek contentment and simplicity – all I need is what I need today – and are you allowing God to limit the influence of our anti-contentment culture on your heart?
  4. Does your heart seek forgiveness? Is the fact that you’ve been forgiven a great deal motivating you to forgive others?
  5. Is your heart pointed toward places of danger and temptation or are you allowing God space to deliver you from your signature struggles?

Father, let our ramshackle hearts – so often broken, so often wild – become like docile sheep in your presence. Let us bring our motivations alongside of you, feel you pat our heads, and follow where You lead.

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