How well do you know your “heart”? Have you given thought to what it really is in the biblical sense? As we approach Easter, it is a perfect time to get reacquainted with this vital part of ourselves and prepare it to receive the incredible gifts of the season.
More Than a Shape
The word “heart” is so commercially overused — think love songs, jewelry ads, Valentine’s Day — that many of us dismiss it as an empty shape or even a cheesy term. But when the Bible refers to the heart, the reference is rich and meaningful. It is said to be the very core of our being. Some Bible studies describe it as the “ruling center of the whole person”. The real heart is the seat of our conscience and represents our true inner selves.
When you think about it that way, the heart becomes a much more important matter. Unfortunately, as vital as our heart is, we are prone to neglect it. This is largely due to the society in which we live – a culture focused more on thinking and doing rather than exploring the needs of the heart. Additionally, many of us also try to numb our hearts rather than nurture them, using work, shopping, substances, and even charitable works to keep us intellectually busy instead of focusing on what’s really going on inside.
Guard Against Hardening
Neglecting or numbing our heart causes serious harm, which manifests in many outward signs: pride, fear, envy, doubt, and anxiety. Extended periods of this neglect will harden our heart, causing it to stay in an angsty dark place, where fear-based emotions take over our lives.
The Bible tells us several times to protect our hearts from indifference and abuse. One example is Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Everything you do flows from it ! It is crucial to remember that we were created in God’s image, and therefore must strive to nurture our hearts so that what flows from us is the love and grace God wishes us to share.
Making the Heart a Home
Because of the world we live in and the fallible humans that we are, it is necessary to regularly take a step back from our hectic lives and devote time to repairing the damage we’ve done when ignoring our hearts. As we approach Easter, it is a perfect time to begin preparing our hearts for Jesus. After all, that is where He is meant to live. “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.” Ephesians 3:17.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- How are you actively seeking God? Are you carving out time to foster your relationship with him in prayer?
- Have you identified and repented for the sinful practices that lead you to neglect your heart?
- Are you recognizing your blessings and expressing gratitude on a daily basis, thus cultivating a grateful heart?
- When was the last time you reread the Easter story so you could experience it again and reawaken your heart?
To ready ourselves for Easter, we need uninterrupted reflection on Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin. If we have inadvertently hardened our hearts due to neglect, then it is important to take the time to scrape off those calluses before we honor His death and celebrate His resurrection. Through this preparation, we are softened and can approach Easter with an open heart, ready to receive and give grace and bask in the wonderful gift of Jesus Christ.