Part 1 of the Spirit, Soul and the Body series examined the spiritual ‘organs’ God has provided to us within our “Inner Man“. This article examines the HEART and how it relates to the other spiritual ‘organs‘ and how they function in the controlling of the body.
Our physical BODY also contains our SPIRIT and SOUL; and within our SOUL, the Bible says is our HEART.
This article follows on from the previous article in the series titled “Spirit, Soul and Body – the MIND“.
The highlighted section of the image below represents the various ‘organs’ of our bodies that we will be looking at in this article—in particular the HEART and how it impacts the MIND.
1. Circumcision of the HEART
The Bible states that — spiritually speaking, ALL hearts of both men and women have been created with a (spiritual) “foreskin” that covers them. God requires ALL of His people (both Jews and Christians) to personally remove these foreskins. The two scripture verses that follow identify what this foreskin represents.
"CIRCUMSIZE therefore THE FORESKIN OF YOUR HEART, and be no more STIFFNECKED." (Deut 10:16)
NOTE: From the above verse it can be seen that the “foreskin” represents a “stiffnecked” Jew or Christian. This term was used in the scriptures to express the stubborn, intractable spirit of a people not responsive to the guiding of their God (Exod 32:9; 33:3; Deut 9:6; 2 Chron 36:13; Jer 17:23, etc. and Acts 7:51:
“Ye STIFFNECKED and UNCIRCUMCISED IN HEART and EARS, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” (Acts 7:51)
“CIRCUMCISE YOURSELVES to the Lord, and TAKE AWAY THE FORESKINS OF YOUR HEART, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest MY FURY come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings." (Jer 4:4)
“And REND YOUR HEART, and not your garments, and TURN unto the Lord your God…and repenteth him of the evil [that He will bring if the heart is not circumcised].” (Joel 2:13)
“For we [the born-gain Gentiles] are THE [true] CIRCUMCISION, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philip. 3:3)
“In whom also ye are circumcised with THE CIRCUMCISION MADE WITHOUT HANDS, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST:” (Col. 2:11)
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but A NEW CREATURE.” (Gal 6:15)
2. How to circumcise the Heart
This involves the removal of all:
False reservations about God and His requirements of His people;
Coverings (that disguise or to conceal something hypocritically);
If God’s people do these things, God promises to help His people achieve this cleansing by giving them a “new heart“.
"A NEW HEART also will I give you, and a NEW SPIRIT will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." (Ezek 36:26)
The prime requirement to be able to achieve this is by “circumcision” to obtain a “tender heart” towards God and His words in the Bible.
"Because THINE HEART WAS TENDER, and thou didst HUMBLE THYSELF BEFORE GOD, when thou HEARDEST HIS WORDS...I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord." (2 Chron 34:27)
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He that hath CLEAN HANDS, and A PURE HEART; who hath NOT LIFTED UP HIS SOUL unto vanity, nor SWORN DECEITFULLY.” (Psalm 24:4)
3. The nature of the human HEART
The Bible states that the human heart in its un-regenerated form is:
"...DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS, and DESPERATELY WICKED: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9)
In addition to this the nature of the heart can be either “good” or “evil“, with nothing in between:
“A GOOD MAN out of the GOOD TREASURE of the heart bringeth forth GOOD THINGS: and an EVIL MAN out of the EVIL TREASURE bringeth forth EVIL THINGS.” (Matt. 12:35)
From God’s perspective, every individual can either “soften” or “harden” their hearts towards God:
“...To day if ye will hear his voice, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS.” (Heb 4:7)
MEANING: These verses clearly reveal that the human heart if left to its own desires is at best very unreliable — and is something that one should NOT depend upon for guidance, because it is deceitful above all things!!
If the human heart is “desperately wicked” enough so that “nobody can know it”, maybe this can explain why there has always been so much evil perpetrated by men throughout the world’s history?
In summary, the HEART:
- Contains “treasure” — meaning, it is classed by God as containing either “good treasure” or “evil treasure”; and
- Is “deceitful above all things,
- It is also desperately wicked”
- Can be “circumcised” or remain “uncircumcised ”by the individual
- It can be made “tender” or “hardened” by the individual.
4. Examining the Heart’s relationship to the Soul and the Mind
From the previous articles in this series, we learned:
The MIND weighs the various inputs from the FIVE Senses and compares them with other References we use within us to help us make a Decision.
Each decision becomes a Command for the body to implement that decision, even if it is simply moving one’s eye from observing one object to another object.
The SOUL represents our Inner Man that departs our Outer Man when we die.
The SOUL also contains the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes and the Pride of Life. Each of these ‘qualities’ have the ability to override any rational thinking that takes place in the MIND—the place where rational decisions originate.
As shown in the illustration above, the HEART also monitor’s Mankind’s FIVE Senses. Depending upon the state of the individual’s heart (i.e. whether it is “good” or “evil”) the HEART can discourage or encourage the lusts and the pride within the SOUL.
The HEART‘s aim is to force the MIND to comply with its lusts. If successful, the MIND then casts aside any rationale and reasoning associated with the References being used by the MIND.
Example of having a “Good Heart”
Firstly, the Bible says that one of the Devil’s titles is termed ‘The Tempter’—which means to make proof of, to attempt to persuade otherwise, or to test the individual:
“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means THE TEMPTER [Satan’s agent] have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.” (1 Thess 3:5)
Let’s assume that a “good man” is performing work that he finds boring and that it doesn’t pay much per day, but it is honest work.
The Tempter sends along a man who suggests that there are easier ways of making more money per day—which involves committing acts of crime.
The man then commences to analyze the offer to determine what is “right” and what is “wrong”. These options are placed on the scales of his MIND to determine if he should accept or reject the offer.
Meanwhile, the SOUL commences to bring forth suggestions of a better life and the ability to indulge the body in the more pleasurable things of life. The MIND then considers this suggestion.
Similarly, the HEART of the “good man who brings forth good treasures” reveals what the scenarios might be of being arrested for the crime. To the man’s MIND he realizes that it won’t be nice for his body to endure a period in jail with other criminals. So the MIND and the HEART of a “good man” decide that the offer is unacceptable and it is rejected.
Example of having an “Evil Heart”
Let’s assume that a man associates with criminals, but wrestles within himself about this association. In other words, he knows he shouldn’t do what he does, but he cannot ignore the benefits of his crimes.
It is God’s desire for ALL people suffering from inner conflict to be set free from the stress and the anxiety they produce. In this, God usually sends an evangelist to share the Gospel to help such people become free of this torment.
When presented with the Gospel message and the HOPE that Jesus can take away all of our burdens, our man begins to weigh up in his MIND what action he should make.
In his MIND, he knows what has been presented is true—but he will have to produce far more faith than he is prepared to implement. His SOUL reminds him of the occasional pleasures he experienced from his ill-gotten gains from crime. He remembers that he enjoyed those times.
Then his HEART started mocking the concept of him needing a Savior. It also questioned the possibility of a literal Hell existing where people could burn alive throughout eternity. As the doubts about being ‘Saved’ flooded in from the HEART, these overrode the message from the Gospel preacher.
Shortly afterwards, the decision was made to reject the offer and he moved on—unchanged. In this incident, the man “hardened his heart” (Heb 3:15) towards God, which meant he had “frustrated the grace of God” (Gal 2:21).
In this lesson, it must be remembered that both Christians and non-Christians need to be aware that in situations like this of rejecting God’s intervention in their life — God will most likely become less involved in their spiritual welfare in the future. This means they will be edging closer towards spending eternity in Hell.
5. Create in me a NEW HEART, Oh God…
The un-regenerated heart that somewhat appears to be “good” is not acceptable to God.
“And he [Jesus] said unto him, Why callest thou me good? THERE IS NONE GOOD BUT ONE, that is, God." (Matt 19:17)
In this requirement of being found “good” in God’s eyes, Jesus requires His people to become a “new creature in Christ”!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is A NEW CREATURE: old [sinful] things are passed away; behold, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
“For in Christ Jesus neither CIRCUMCISION availeth any thing, nor UNCIRCUMCISION, but A NEW CREATURE.” (Gal 6:15)
The Psalmist recorded that he wanted God to create within him a “CLEAN HEART”, as stated below:
“Create in me A CLEAN HEART, O God; and RENEW A RIGHT SPIRIT within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
6. My experience of being given a ‘New Heart’
Ezekiel prophesied that God will one day place a new heart in the remnant of Israel at the end of the Tribulation period.
From this, I am firmly convinced that God placed a new heart within me some 30-years ago when I had my “born-again” experience (John 3:3-8).
It was at the end of a 12-month period of seeking God with a fervent desire (1 Chron 22:19; Psalm 14:2; Psalm 69:32; Matt 6:33) that I met Him. In this, I could see “through a glass darkly” (1 Cor 13:12) the new way ahead in my troubled life—with peace (John 14:27).
If He has promised to give the Jews a “new heart” He also gave me a “new heart”. If He did this for me, He will do it for you too. Everyone needs to meet His conditions for receiving such a heart:
“A NEW HEART also will I give you, and A NEW SPIRIT will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Ezek 36:26)
It is my firm belief that God only gives Christians a “new heart” if He can see that they are obeying Christ’s words to “STRIVE to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven…”:
“STRIVE to enter in at the strait gate: for many [Christians], I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” (Luke 13:24)
A video presentation produced during a Bible study can be found here.