The Expository Files


Heartfelt; Heart Thought; Heart Purposed


The Bible says concerning the conversion of Lydia that "the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul." (Acts 16:14). When the Bible uses the word "heart" in this way it does not refer to the organ which pumps blood through the body. Sometimes, the word "heart" refers to the center or core, like when we talk about getting to the "heart of a matter." The spiritual heart refers to the center of a human being's intellect, emotion and will, not to the muscle in the chest.

The heart includes our intellect and understanding. God invites us to use our power of reason as we consider His word (see Isa. 1:18-20). This is a vital part of conversion as well as continuing in the faith. A purely emotional experience without the intellect involved is not what the Bible refers to as "conversion."

But the heart certainly does also include our emotions. Several emotions become involved. We begin to desire salvation and come to appreciate God. We love because He first loved us. We place our trust in Him by obeying His gospel and are comforted and given peace as we do (see Matt. 22:37 and John 14:15).

Finally, the heart includes our will. This is where we make decisions and change our priorities. We, as disciples of Jesus, come to echo His own words to the Father, "Thy will, not Mine be done." We make a conscious decision to obey, and when we do, we "obey from the heart" (Rom. 6:17,18).

This is true "heart felt" religion. It is not vague; it is not cheap. It is precious, strong and enduring.


By Jon W. Quinn
The Front Page
From Expository Files 15.10;  October 2008