“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15)
Heart & Mind ~ The word “heart,” as it is used in the Bible, does not mean the same as the English word heart. Both in the Hebrew (leb ~ H3820, lebab ~ H3824, and labab ~ H3823, and other derivatives it is used over 860 times), and Greek (kardia ~ G2588, is used over 170 times) languages, the word “heart” is specific & refers to the complete inner man, and never solely concerning the emotions, as it does in the English understanding of the word.
The word first & most primarily refers to the
1) Mind; next the
2) Emotions; and lastly the
3) “Seat of the Will,” discretion, where choices are made between what the mind thinks and the emotions desire.
It is unbiblical to treat the word heart to be synonymous with emotions, as the word is used primarily of the rational thinking mind which is what we serve God with. To allow emotions to primarily make decisions is unbiblical and leaves an individual to soulish folly. Decisions and direction are always to be determined with a rational mind where discretion, according to God’s Word and Will are in control. To allow the emotions, which are primarily controlled by the sinful fallen nature of man, to control us is against all Biblical admonition. This is why we are told to have the “mind of Christ,” with the Holy Spirit making sure that there is no ambiguity concerning the place of rational thought in the life of the believer.
This is not to say that the emotions are to be completely set aside, it is the emotions that bring joy to life, and greater meaning when used and felt correctly. Otherwise, without emotions life would be dull and we would function more like robots that might men. It is with the emotions that worship and gratitude, as well as love and compassion many times flow. Yet, the emotions are not meant to create rationality. Emotions always functions as a response to something else, and never meant to be the activating event.
We feel emotions when others treat us certain ways or when we see certain things that activate an emotional response. A good example concerns love. When Christ demands that the believer love others, He is not demanding that they feel the emotional feeling of love, as many times those that we are to love do not do anything that would create the emotional feeling of love in response.
When Christ speaks of love, it is an activating event, an initiating event, not a response. It is a first cause; it is what we do as an action of sacrificially putting someone else first without the emotional feeling of love to necessitate it. To do acts of love is to choose to sacrificially put someone else before ourselves, which is plainly seen in such passages as 1 John 3:16, which states:
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
This verse teaches us that the proof of God’s love is that He sacrificially put us first, which is also what He wants us to do for others, especially with other Christians (Galatians 6:10), as seen here. This is also seen in the verse that the whole world knows, John 3:16, which states:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…“
We know according to Romans 5:8, 10; that Christ died for us when we were enemies of God, having no value worth the trade of God’s own Son. God did not have an emotional feeling of love towards the world, which was corrupted and full of sin, rebellious against everything godly, never seeking God (Romans 3:11). The love that God initiated was not due to anything good or deserving within man, it was a choice to sacrificially give His own Son up for those that would never be worth it. God’s love is a display of His greatness, not of our worthiness. It was not due to an emotional response to anything good within man. When Christ demands for us to love one another it is an activating / initiating event, an event of first cause that chooses to make another a priority over one’s own desire. Emotions are meant to be give joy and be the icing on the cake, but never to replace “The Meat of the Word” wherein the mind has control.
“The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’ is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast:
the chicken was ‘involved’ – the pig was ‘committed’.”
In regards to our Christian walk ~ The question becomes are we simply involved in church, involved in Christian groups, involved with Christ; or are we committed to studying God’s Word (not just reading it), committed to loving others (not emotional enjoyment – but sacrificially putting others first), and committed to making Jesus our Lord (Master) & God (by dying-to-self – keeping Him preeminent our lives); as well is our Savior.
Upon strong reflection, I must regretfully confess; far too many times in my life I have been a chicken, rather than a pig concerning my Christian walk and dedication to Jesus Christ. Something to think about
Taken from the endnotes of “Something to Think About” at: www.FaithBibleMinistries.com