The Bible Heart – A Happy Heart
Although there are places in the scriptures referring to a man’s heart as the blood-pumping organ, our study will primarily concentrate on the heart as it stands before the Lord. The majority of scriptures mentioning the heart have reference to the intellect, the inside, or the inner man. As Paul said, “I buffet my body…”…that is, I am going to exercise control of my body, “…lest when I preach to others, I myself might be a cast away.” He is talking about the inner man, where love resides, where love begins. When Peter was writing to his brethren, he not only admonished them to show love toward one another but he also described the degree to which they were to love. “Love one another from, or with, a pure heart, fervently.” So, he is talking about the inner man – the inner man where love resides – the inner man where love begins. Love one another from the heart, from the inside, from that intellect or mind of man. That is the idea of biblical love.
In Proverbs 4:23 the wise man said, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” In saying, “Keep your heart,” the writer is again referring to the inner part of man.
In Proverbs 19:18, the scripture says, “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.” In this passage the heart is referred to as having something to do with our will. We will to do things with our heart. In Hebrews 4:12, the scripture says, “The word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of the joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” This passage presents the idea of the thoughts of the heart, the will of the heart. We will, or make determination, with our heart, with the inner man, with the intellect, with the mind.
In Proverbs 19:21, the wise man said, “There are many plans in a man’s heart.” When a plan is made, where is it made? It may be carefully drawn on a sheet of paper; it may be outlined with the use of a computer; or, it may be drawn on a marking board. But always, it first originates in the heart, doesn’t it? That is where all thoughts, all plans and all actions originate. They originate within the intellect of man’s heart. The wise man is speaking of this intellect when he said, “There are many plans in a man’s heart”.
Not only does the heart have the ability to plan and to will, but it also has the capability of showing emotions. Emotions spring forth from the heart; they leap from the inside of man.
In Proverbs 14:10, the wise man said, “The heart knows its own bitterness and a stranger does not share its joy.” This passage expresses both emotional extremes – the deep bitterness of a heart in despair and the joy of a heart in happiness. Sometimes, our heart is bitter because of the things that have transpired in our lives. Things over which we have no control sometimes happen to us in this life, causing us sorrow and despair. Sometimes, we become bitter. But in this passage of scripture, the wise man also said that the joy of the heart can be manifest. So the choice is ours – we can either be bitter in heart or we can be joyous.
“They are smiling through their tears,” is an age-old expression sometimes heard at sad occasions. It refers to those who try to smile in spite of the fact that inside they may be weeping in sorrow. Their heart is sad; their state of mind is in despair. And in spite of their efforts to remain cheerful, the real emotions of their heart are apparent.
So, generally speaking, we are what we are inside. Is that not true? It is usually the case that we smile, or express gratitude and gladness because we are happy from the inside out. “If any man is cheerful, let him sing praise,” James said. He is referring to how a man thinks in his heart. If he is cheerful, if he is happy, then he wants to sing. Have you ever hummed a tune or sung a little song when you got up in the morning or as you were traveling to work or to school? Well, maybe it is expecting too much for a person to hum in gladness as he goes to school! But, we often show our cheerfulness in this way, don’t we? We do sing from time to time, do we not? We do that because we are happy, because things are good. We are glad, our heart is glad, so we sing.
However, there are times when great anxiety or depression invades our heart. We are deeply worried and concerned when things in our daily lives are not going well. Our emotions are seen in our outward manifestations. Our brow becomes furrowed, a frown is upon our face, and our whole countenance reflects the anxiety in our heart. Such a heart is not happy and has no joy. In Proverbs 13:12, the wise man says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is the tree of life.”
In Proverbs 12:25, the writer says, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” So, the heart is capable of feeling gladness. King David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” David was glad. His heart was glad. His state of mind was cheerful. His intellect was optimistic. His happiness originated inside him. We are happy from the inside out. May it be so for all of us.
by James Lusby