The Heart of the Matter

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As we are learning in our study of the book of Proverbs, Solomon, concerned to prepare his son(s) for the life of a royal, sought to impart godly wisdom. As future rulers of God’s people, Solomon wanted them to rule well. This would require a serious education, particularly in the law of the Lord (Deuteronomy 17:14–20). But it would require more than head knowledge; fundamentally, it would require a heart that remained devoted to God.

I counted the word “heart” 74 times in the book of Proverbs. The heart matters; it matters a lot. When it comes to living for Jesus, it’s been well said that “the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.” Solomon knew this. Sadly, he learned the hard way.

Not too long into his own reign, Solomon traded his heart for forbidden fruit, for which both he and his kingdom paid a heavy price. It’s recorded that Solomon, “loved many foreign women” with the consequence that “when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heartwas not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:1–5). Solomon wanted better for his sons, and therefore he pleaded, “My son, give me your heart” (23:26).

Studying the law books was important, but it would prove meaningless if they failed to practice what they required of others. They needed hearts devoted to the ultimate King. Head and heart must go together. Doctrine must never be separated from devotion. Theology and doxology are two sides of the same coin. And this crisis provides a wonderful opportunity to cling to that coin.

The Puritan John Owen wrote, “Be careful that your head might not be so full of ideas and your tongue so fast to talk, that you empty your hearts of truth. We are prone to store up truth in our heads and talk about it often, and not let it affect our hearts, and this greatly weakens our spiritual life.” That’s a mouthful, but let it be a mindful. Think about it.

BBC has a long history of teaching truth. Our heads are in pretty good shape, but how are our hearts? Are we quick to speak but not so quick to do? In the words of James, are we merely hearers of the word or are we doers as well? Are we quick to speak truth but not so quick to obey it, from the heart (James 1:22–26)? Now is a great time for each of us to examine ourselves, to ask, “Am I truly in the faith?” That is, “Am I born again?” Christian, ask yourself, “In what or in whom am I really trusting?” (See Stuart’s helpful devotional from Psalm 3.)

These are pastoral, as well as personal, questions, which I am asking of myself. As those who are called to be “a kingdom [of] priests to … God” (Revelation 1:5), we have a responsibility to not only know the truth of our King but to love and to live for our King with all of our heart. May God enlighten us to see, and to live out, the heart of the matter.

Growing with you,

Doug