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A Brightly Colored Shirt

• Kevin Johnson

This week Kevin Johnson, our Community Pastor, brought a powerful message dealing with our hearts. He described the “heart” as the center of human existence, where our human abilities to love, marvel, and dream reside. We are able to experience events and truths deeply in profoundly empathetic ways. In this way the heart really demonstrates the truth of our being created in God’s image.

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This week, Kevin Johnson, our Community Pastor, brought a powerful message dealing with an extremely important, yet often misunderstood aspect of our lives: our hearts. He distinguished his concept of “heart” from the fleshly pump that we know keeps us alive. Kevin described the “heart” as being the center of human existence, where our human abilities to love, marvel, and dream reside. The heart enables us to transcend just viewing things in a robotic, rationalistic, emotionless way. We are able to experience events and truths deeply in profoundly empathetic ways. In this way, he said, the heart really demonstrates the truth of our being created in God’s Image.

Walking us through much Scripture, Kevin showed us many different biblical truths about the nature of the heart. Seven of these were particularly highlighted. The heart is:

  1. The area of life’s highest priority. In one of the Great Commandments, we are commanded to love God with all of our hearts. (Deut. 6:4-5; Mk 12:29)
  2. The decision making center of human beings. (Deut. 8:2) Our heart is the place where all of our life choices begin and are made.
  3. The seat of our will. The drives and desires that motivate us to do what we do in life are in the heart. (Neh 4:6)
  4. The center of praise. The sincerity (or lack thereof) comes ultimately from the state of our hearts as we praise our Lord (Ps. 9:1)
  5. The center of passion and desire. Passionate yearning for and worship of God begins in the heart. (Ps. 28:7)
  6. The seat of our hopes and dreams. Our aspirations and longings for the future stand or fall in the arena of the heart. (Prov. 13:12)
  7. Often conflicted. The human heart can often be divided in its hunger for God and its attraction towards evil. (Ps. 86:11; Jer. 17:9)

Because of all these important truths about the heart and the serious implications from them, Kevin asked us a challenging, but necessary question: “How’s your heart?” He mentioned that though some hearts may be hurting while others may be fine, ALL human hearts are being constantly attacked with the god of this evil age, Satan. He then proposed and exposed some half-truthful strategies that Satan uses to condemn us with respect to our hearts and keep us from having a heart fully alive to God.

  1. The human heart is wicked and not to be trusted. Satan wants us to go further than having a healthy skepticism about our hearts. He wants us to completely distrust ourselves to the point of moving us away from God and God’s plans.
  2. Our hearts are fragile things. Open, loving hearts are meant to have a certain amount of vulnerability. However, Satan would have us believe that our hearts are so fragile that they should be “packed away” from our brothers and sisters so as not to be hurt.
  3. There are no strategies or lies against the heart. To the extent that Satan can mask his evil activities against us, he has that much more ability to strike us.

Kevin then provided some practical steps that we can take towards destroying these lies. They include:

  1. Recognizing the battleground. As we continue to be aware of the spiritual warfare that goes on around us and towards us from Satan, we can be more prepared against Satan’s attacks and more aware of our constant need for guarding our hearts.
  2. Claiming the truth about our hearts. We can believe God’s Word about what our hearts really are, focus on that Truth, and always keep that before us.
  3. Asking God for new hearts. God is the One who can renew and empower our hearts to live more fully for Him. When we acknowledge our dependence on God in this way, God is sure to honor our decisions towards Him.
  4. Enlisting our hearts in the battle. Soldiers for any army need to have pure, dedicated hearts towards their goals. This holds even more for us as soldiers for the Kingdom of God. It is essential that we take our new hearts and place them completely at God’s service to oppose the kingdom of darkness.
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"I was inspired during my recent visit to your church, and wanted to thank you for the notable work you are accomplishing in the city. Thank you for being Holy Spirit first responders to the homeless and downtrodden. May God continue to show himself strong as you represent Christ daily."

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