Does the thing we have, what we do, or family status identify ‘who’ we are as a person? Can our occupation, ministry, or position in society define us? While these are important and can add significance to our being; none of these define our unique self in the eyes of God. More than tangible measurements or accomplishments, God prioritizes heart expressions. How mature are the expressions of your heart?
David was one who revered God throughout life, writing many of the Psalms and spending much time in worship. His heart was God-centered. David so admired God that he was even able to respect those who were not like him (a). [see end notes for Scriptures]
God said He valued the heart of David above everything else (b). The same is true for us. Why does God place such high importance on our heart expressions? It’s because He looks beyond the visible and observes our inner self, which is often referred to in Scripture as our heart.
Expressions Reveal Us
As noted before, God created us to function as a composite of body, soul and spirit (see our blog, “What Is the ‘Heart’ We Hear and Talk About?”). One fundamental detail is often overlooked: our five natural senses have five spiritual equivalents that enable us to see, taste, touch and feel realities that are beyond natural sensibilities (c). Together, these features enable us to interact with both the natural and spiritual realities.
The input we assimilate through interactions develops and forms as our specific self, ‘who’ we are as a person. Heart represents our ‘real self,’ as the accumulation of what we personally think, feel and believe. Various experiences can cause our heart to express hurt, sadness, elation, joy, and peace. While our soul’s conscious mind, will and emotion keep us aware of what we experience, it is our heart that tends to direct our reactions.
Resulting expressions disclose the condition of our heart to all observers. Take a moment and consider the heart is displayed by these expressive features; character, attitude, and personality (CAP). These are definitively more than physical expressions.
Character reflects moral fiber as: honest or deceitful, kind or mean, charitable or selfish.
Attitude specifies temperament as: loving or hateful, humble or proud, flexible or rigid.
Personality illustrates social behavior as: analytical, supportive, organized, or outgoing.
When someone asks, “Who are you?” or “Who did you see?” it is obvious a body, spirit, and soul consciousness is involved. These queries seek to know details of a specific persona with particular CAP traits.
Heart expressions of character, attitude and personality disclose the condition of our heart.
Heart’s Projected Expressions
Since heart denotes personal self, it is important to visualize it as more than simply something within us. Our heart actually includes the expressions that proceed out of us. When someone says, “I see God in you,” they are observing CAP traits of God that we are projecting. Yes, our expressions can illustrate godly traits, like various Fruits of the Spirit:
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (d)
This is why Scripture instructs us to love God with all our heart (e). This also why, without realizing it, we invite Jesus into our heart (f). As we experience and get to know God-in-Christ, we become better people and more appropriately reflect our heavenly Father’s heart in our expressions.
The words we use, the attitudes we convey, and the tone of our expressions illustrate our perspective toward things, places, others, and God Himself.
More than something within, our heart includes the expressions that proceed out of us.
Developing a Mature Heart
Every person is born with a heart that is ready to develop. We inherit our initial CAP qualities from parents. The natural and spiritual environments we are raised in stimulate further development. Building on this, we also have individual responsibility. Our personal assessment, how we choose to interpret the good and not so good encounters, strongly influences our heart’s deterioration and improvement.
Our expressions illustrate the ideas, perceptions, and values we have accepted. They identify us as having the heart of a mother or father, a caring or careless heart, and a selfish or servant’s heart. What we believe about God, ourselves, others, and life itself affects the quality of our heart and influences the expressions that proceed from us.
During this life, our heart is continually developing and entering levels of maturity. Is your heart becoming hard or soft, elated or discouraged, is it breaking or healing, godly or not? Every one of us is able to receive life-changing insights and give ourselves to the renewing process of becoming a better person (g).
As the physical heart pumps life-giving or tainted blood thru our body, so our expressive heart emits either blessings or curses, to inspire or discourage. God wants to influence our heart so we are better able to bless and encourage one another (h).
Our heart is continually developing and maturing to better bless and encourage one another.
Imitating God’s Heart
Our heavenly Father expressed His loving heart in the life of Christ. Jesus encouraged us to learn of him so we can better understand God’s heart and become more mature children (i). God deeply desires us to receive His expressions and reap the benefits of learning to appropriately imitate Him: Be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you (k).
What does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear (reverence) the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart…So circumcise your heart (cut unneeded excess) (m).
In seeking to imitate the CAP of God, as Christ Jesus demonstrated, our heart renews and matures into more suitable expressions of God’s heart. As we submit to our heavenly Father’s “work in us” and “work out our salvation (n),” our heart’s CAP reforms, remolds, renews, and transforms who we are. And God, who prioritizes heart expressions, is greatly pleased as He watches our progression into more mature images and likenesses of His expressive heart.
Watching our progression into mature images and likenesses of His expressive heart pleases God.
a) 1 Samuel 27:1-7; 29:6-9; b) 1 Samuel 16:7; c) Psalms 34:8; d) John 8:44; e) Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:29-33; Luke 10:25-28; f) Ephesians 3:17; g) 2 Chronicles 15:15; h) Mark 12:30; 1 Peter 3:7-8; i) Matthew 11:29-30; James 4:8; k)Ephesians 5:1-2; m) Deuteronomy 10:12, 16; n) Philippians 2:12-13