Valentine’s Day. The day of love. Some people really enjoy this day and some people really don’t. A lot of different thoughts come to my mind when I think about Valentine’s Day. Sometimes I think of sweet cards, chocolate, and flowers. Or I think of romance, poetry, and love songs. But the first thing I thought of today was a heart. At first I thought of the traditional hearts you see everywhere on Valentine’s Day. But then I thought of what “heart” really means, not just the heart shape. People often say “that person has a big heart or a good heart” meaning kind, compassionate, giving, etc. The Bible mentions the heart over and over again. It tells us that we should “guard our heart because everything we do flows from our heart”. When the Bible talks about the heart it means the core, inner person which includes a person’s mind, will, and emotions.
In our fallen world there are unfortunately many who have evil hearts and as a result there are some very tragic, horrible things happening in the world today. Those who commit terrible crimes have overtly evil hearts. But what about the not so obvious, covertly evil hearts? My mind immediately went to the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus really lit into them! Why? Weren’t they beautiful? They were important, impressive, and glamorous religious leaders! They spoke eloquently, they knew the law, they were intelligent and knowledgeable! Surely these important people had good hearts, right? Nope. Jesus saw right through them and it angered him. Why? Because of the condition of their hearts. What they appeared to be didn’t matter to him. He called them white washed tombs! He called them hypocrites. They were full of greed and self indulgence and had corrupt hearts. But surely they were better than blatant, obvious criminals? No because sin is sin. I’m sure Jesus would have rather them come to him as the most outwardly awful of sinners with a repentant heart than with the self righteous, prideful hearts he saw in them! Jesus told them they had neglected the more important things- justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
In contrast, God described David as a man after His own heart. David was far from perfect, but he had an obedient heart, a heart that depended on God, and a heart that was repentant. He was truly the opposite of what the Pharisees and Sadducees were.
So what is God drawn to? A humble heart. A loving heart. A compassionate heart. A giving heart. Not perfection. We don’t have to be perfect to have a good heart. We simply have to have a tender heart that truly wants to please the Lord. More than likely our lives will show the fruit of the Spirit as well….love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Here’s a little exercise that I ran across as a check up of having a loving heart in terms of 1st Corinthians 13. Put your name in the blanks in the following verses and see how you do. Remember perfection is not the goal, but having a tender, soft heart is.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
New Living Translation (NLT)
4 ___________is patient and kind. ________is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. __________does not demand its own way. __________is not irritable, and ________keeps no record of being wronged. 6 ________does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 _______never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.