Written By: Michelle Hilliard
Many of my friends know that I often ask, “how’s your heart?” This isn’t something one can ask a casual acquaintance, but knowing the way of the heart is key in our relationship with God and others. Love is the launching place for everything. The truest of love can only be understood through the face of our God, who is love. We have to be awakened before we encounter and experience, we must receive to give. Love is attainable, available, and accessible because He first loved us.
John Eldredge shares in his book, Waking the Dead, “This we now know: the heart is central. It matters deeply. When we see with the eyes of the heart…awakened, we discover that things are not what they seem. We are at war. We must fight for the life God intends for us, which is to say we must fight for our heart, for it is the wellspring of that life within us.”
Jeremiah 17 says that the heart is deceitfully wicked and it’s true! Unredeemed and unsurrendered, it can lead us all over the place. Yet, God creates in us a clean heart, as David prayed in Psalm 51, and He gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). To experience this, we must connect to the source. Being tethered to Jesus, truly alive in love, is freedom, unencumbered by soul trappings. Freedom is our portion, “it is for freedom that Christ set us free.” John 15 gives insight to us, finding our rest in the abiding place of God’s love. He invites us to make ourselves at home in His love. If your heart is disconnected from its source it will not thrive. As humans, we’re looking for home. Ultimately, it’s not about the place you live. Home is about relationship, belonging, and safety. We desire to be with Him. It is an innate longing for home in His love.
The heart is the core, the nature of who we are, our personality, and Jesus redeems all. God does not despise our humanity. He loves humanity so much He wrapped Himself in humanity. The beauty and mystery of the incarnation is overwhelming. Yet there is a concept that anything of the natural realm is unholy. This belief of dualism carried to the extreme can lead to the trap of self-hatred. God created us for His pleasure and delight. He loves us where we are no matter how far we run. Just look again at the story of the prodigal son. All that the son squandered didn’t take the love of the Father away from him. Likewise, the elder son, could not fully accept the love of his father, and was always trying to earn the love that was freely given. Both sons had difficulty receiving the father’s love. There was nothing they could do, good or bad, to earn or keep him from loving them.
It takes God to love God. We must interact with God through faith. When there is truth that doesn’t cause our heart to be awe-struck, it gives insight that we don’t have revelation. The love of God should always ignite wonder in the soul. We are made to respond and though our love is small, weak, or immature at times, it is real.
Most don’t function well when there is a chasm between the head and heart. The Hebraic understanding is that the head and heart are connected. We are whole people in God, not fractured, not secular verses sacred. In fact, one of the names of God, Yahweh Shalom, means that the fragmented pieces come together in wholeness. We give our heart to God, even in pieces, and He heals, binds up, and loves our heart into wholeness and freedom.
The key to identity is intimacy with God — our heart awakened in the knowledge that we are loved, chosen, valued, and cherished. In this, we understand that we have purpose, destiny, a calling, and a voice to offer. Yet even beyond these truths, we are loved simply because we are His. The way of the heart in God is ransomed, redeemed, restored, and resurrected. The new heart He gives us, the core of who we are is made for love. We are made for communion with God. We are made to be wholehearted — fully given, fully known, and fully belonging because we are chosen in Him. He gave Himself as a ransom for us. He gave it all to have a rightful place of relationship with each of us. Our hearts find their rest, when they find their home in God’s vast, unsearchable, lavish, extravagant, fully-given, freely given love. Ask yourself, “how’s your heart?” Let the light of His love unveil this mystery.