Yesterday we posted a piece about spiritual growth as integration. There is one biblical word that gets to this point more than any other. “Heart” (Heb. léb, Gk. kardia) is the biblical authors’ way of referring to the core of our inner being in its fullness including mind, emotion, and will. It is the essence of personality, the seat of all motives. The very intent of this word is to point to integration.
In the same way that the base of a tree is a single trunk and the differentiation comes in the boughs, branches, and twigs, so spiritual growth in its parts is only as strong as its integration at its base.
We minister to people all the time who say they are trying to “get their lives together.” They are looking for concord at the core. Pastors and other spiritual leaders are like the psalmist in cheering on and modeling a bold unity of personhood to be found in the deepest place, in the heart. Want to know what is at the heart of spiritual transformation? Leader: where will real influence take place? Consider “the heart”:
You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound (Ps. 4:7).
I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders (Ps. 9:1).
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer (Ps. 19:14).
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek (Ps. 27:8).
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song (Ps. 28:7).
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer (Ps. 45:1).
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Ps. 51:10).
Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name (Ps. 86:11).
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands (Ps. 119:10).
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Ps. 119:11).
I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws (Ps. 119:30).
I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise (Ps. 119:58).
I call with all my heart; answer me, O LORD, and I will obey your decrees (Ps. 119:145).
Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word (Ps. 119:161).
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts (Ps. 139:23).
Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies (Ps. 141:4).