A friend recently asked me a simple question: Can we can “touch the heart of God”? The expression is almost too much of a cliché to be meaningful today. (There was an entire series of worship CDs created in the 1990s called, “Touching the Father’s Heart”.) However, since I just reviewed what Paul meant by the term “heart”, I thought I’d take a stab at it. Here’s my reply:
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I’ve just been studying what Paul meant when he spoke of body/flesh, soul/spirit, and mind/heart. It turns out that a Hebraic understanding of “heart” involves far more than we think today. It does refer to the seat of emotions, but also (and more importantly) to the place of the will, where important decisions are made. I suppose we still use it that way when we say things like, “I just knew in my heart it was the right thing to do.”
God’s heart . . . his decision to call us from the foundations of the world, to send his only begotten, to forgive—these all come straight from our Father’s heart. Can we touch it? I suppose whenever we act in accordance with his decisions.
So, when we are creative like he is, we’re touching his heart. When we forgive the undeserving like he did, we’re touching his heart. When we sacrifice of ourselves to reach people who need help, we’re touching his heart. Maybe it would be better to say that we’re aligning our heart with his.
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What do you think? Is that a good approach to this question? I like the idea of leaving the modern Hallmark-style sentimentality of “heart” behind, while at the same time, allowing emotions to play their proper role in a decision-making process.