The Heart of the Matter
“I’m just a man in a world full of men just like me;
With a heart full of questions and answers, that seem to be somewhat connected,
And a head full of preconceived notions that manage to get in the way.
And I find myself longing to return, back to the place where I started,
Back when I knew next to nothing; Back to the heart, back to the heart,
Back to the heart of the matter.”
(C. 1982 - Jubilee Communications Inc. - Bob Bennett
“The Heart of the Matter” on Matters of the Heart)
"Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Did you know that there are three different brains according to science? There is of course the one in your head, but there are also brains in your heart and gut. So often in scripture, which many view as pre-science or even anti-science and yet the scripture speaks quite often of the heart and “bowels of compassion”. There is a lot to learn from the scriptures!
What is the heart of the matter? What its the core of who we are and what we are becoming and for that matter, what occupies the space of our hearts and heads?
Jesus was asked this, “What is the greatest commandment?” (Mark 12:28-34). His simple answer: “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” You, like I have heard dozens of teachings and songs about this. But underneath it all is something extremely profound: the greatest thing we can do is encounter the One who is love (1 John 4:8) and through that encounter love Him back and love others as we love ourselves.
We all need to have an encounter and indeed, ongoing encounters with the One who identifies Himself as love. Jesus demonstrated the love of the Father in human skin, the Father demonstrated His love through giving Jesus and the Holy Spirit was given as an act of love to shed abroad the love of God in our hearts (John 3:16-17; Romans 5:5). Love is what we were made for! To go back to the heart of the matter in our lives is to return to His love and His life in us.
How? You must guard your heart from interlopers - worry, fear, distraction and things we use to numb ourselves. Why? Because if we disconnect from love and the One who is that, we lose it all. We get Jesus, we get everything. We lose Jesus and we lose everything.
So, with that in mind, here are a few things I do to keep at the heart of the matter:
I GUARD MY NIGHTS AND MORNINGS: It is too important that my thoughts, dreams and rest are found in Him. So, I watch what I read, listen to and watch at night and first thing in the morning. This is true of financial news, social media and and anything that might get me going in a profitless direction.
I SET A PERIMETER AROUND MY QUIET TIME: Redwood trees in the National Parks fall because their root systems get trampled on. To preserve the tree, the government has put fences around the trees. My fence during quiet time is to keep a paper or electronic list of the various things that try to encroach, usually good things that I need to accomplish later. I write them down and they stay there until I can get to them at a later date.
I MONITOR WHAT CAPTURES MY HEART AND ATTENTION: I periodically listen to my heart to see how enthralled I am with Jesus or other things. I listen to feedback from those who work closely or live closely with me in covenant relationships. If they tell me I am off, then something is becoming more preeminent than Jesus. If that is the case, then I spend copious amounts of time in worship and prayer to be with Him.
I encourage you in this season of simplification and solidification, that you begin to pay deep and close attention to your heart. From it will spring all the flow of your life.