The Hidden Heart

Posted on October 9, 2011

I cannot count the number of soul sick people I have spoken to who have allowed their heart to slide into numbness, or death, and even in some cases, tried to strangle their heart. And all this in the name of serving the God who put their heart in them in the first place. The trap comes easily when we read scripture piecemeal, and or when we read through the lenses of certain religious dogma.

Jeremiah 17:9 declares firmly “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick, who can understand it?” So we read and jump to the conclusion that our heart is an obstacle to be overcome and an enemy to be defeated.

This idea is fed by the commonly held and taught mantra that Christians often repeat. “Your emotions will lie to you!!” we warn one another. And with these two ideas, we go into one of the most deadly places we can, we retreat into denial. We bury, swallow, repress our heart and all of it’s attendant responses and connections.

The problem is, what do we do then with the verse in Proverbs 4:23 that tells us “Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life.”? What if in the name of serving God, we completely repress that part of us, which is designed to be the headwaters of the life of God Himself? Let me answer the “what if?” question. Stifle your heart, and one day it will lead to a collapse that Isaiah 30 describes as a breach in a wall, whose collapse comes suddenly and in an instant. Try to stifle the waters of a river, and one day the waters will overpower the very dam constructed to hold them back, and the waters intended to bring life can bring, instead, destruction.

The truth is, YOUR EMOTIONS WILL NOT LIE TO YOU. Your emotions will, in fact, always tell you the truth about what you believe (Proverbs 23:7). It is the lies that cause negative emotions, not the other way around. If you ignore your emotions because you have been told it is a Godly thing to do, you will miss out on a God given indicator to help you know what exactly is hidden in this mysterious heart of yours.  Like the flashing light on your dashboard, your emotions are a signal to indicate to you a belief that exists somewhere under the hood.

Let’s examine the set-up, and then the solution.

The set up begins with the fall of man (as does every other human struggle). Adam and Eve discover their nakedness. Their newly engorged Knowledge of Evil informs them of their condition and they look down and feel shame. The problem is compounded when their Knowledge of Good tells them what they should do about the “evil” their minds perceive. Their knowledge of good tells them to hide. Whether it is fig leaves, Eden’s shrubbery, or their outright blame of everyone but themselves, Adam and Eve begin a complex set of defenses to numb the pain of their shame and their knowledge of evil.

Hence, years later, after David in the Psalms has referred to “the inward parts” of our heart, or our “hidden places”, Jeremiah can rightly tell us that the heart is deceitful and wicked. He then asks and answers the question, “Who can know it?” Who, indeed, Jerry tells us, God Himself searches and responds to what He finds in the hidden heart. But Jeremiah refers to the condition of the heart in the moment of his writing. What he does not do is write prophetically about God’s intent to do something about that condition. That privilege comes later to Ezekiel, who tells us in Ezekiel 11:19 that a day is coming when God Himself will remove the heart of stone and replace it with a soft heart, a heart of flesh. In other words, Ezekiel tells of a day which is coming (and is now here) when God will replace the Desperately Sick, with the New Creation.

Salvation is God giving us a new nature, not a new set of expectations. When Jesus comes into your heart, it is a new and regenerate heart that He enters.

At this point we have often so partnered with the Hidden-ness of our hearts, that we turn our eyes away. We strangle our hearts with sin and then after our salvation we often strangle our hearts with the guilt and shame of believing we are still desperately wicked. Now, whether it be Fig leaves, or religious dogma, we still run and hide, afraid that if we look at our hearts we will again be flooded with shame and fear.

The result? The Heart is no longer wicked but it remains a hidden thing. The heart is deceitful not in the sense that it is a wicked liar, but in the sense that we have been trained by life, fear and church life, to remain covered up. The key difference is that if we look now, and ask the One who knows it, to begin to show us our new hearts, we would actually begin to discover the regenerating power of the resurrection has been at work in our own hearts. Sure we might struggle a bit as we look at the layers of darkness we have wrapped around our heart, but the fundamental truth of our salvation is that God has put a new heart in us. If you are willing to Look, He is willing to show you.

Here is the bottom line. It is in and through our hearts that we connect to, and receive from, God. Hence we should tend to our hearts above all else, because when it is properly attached to its Source it will be in us the headwaters of Living Water. When we bury it and choke it off because we have only read Jeremiah’s description, we choke out the very life-giving, revelation producing Presence and Voice of God. When we do that, all we are left with is our Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Try this if you dare. Pray this simple, yet courageous prayer.

“God, if you show me, I will look.”

For more on this topic click HERE and scroll to the bottom to the Audio entitled “The Hidden Heart”

Also Read “The Journey of Desire” by John Eldredge.

 


  • Pingback: The Hidden Heart: Awesome blog post from Bob Hamp « Tourniquet()

  • Thanks for the great insight! Another great example of why we must “metanoeo”, change the way we think. It’s easy to fall into our old (and often wrong) patterns of thinking, but we have to renew our minds. “Lord, show me my heart.”

  • Autumn

    Thank you! EXACTLY what I needed today!

  • Salvation is God giving us a new nature, not a new set of expectations. Brilliant! This is so good….thank you for once again, explaining something so brilliantly.

  • John

    Proverbs 23:7 NIV “for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.” I don’t see the connection to emotions and beliefs.

  • Becky S

    “The Heart is no longer wicked but it remains a hidden thing. The heart is deceitful not in the sense that it is a wicked liar, but in the sense that we have been trained by life, fear and church life, to remain covered up. ”
    Mmm, the heart, before salvation, has already learned to lie to us, to make us believe we must protect ourselves, to teach us to look to self for answers.
    Thank you, Lord, for exposing lies we believe, and for Bob, who teaches us your word, and how to think differently, so we can see clearly.

  • THIS is the message I have been asking God for.

  • Andrea Reed

    Thank you so much! Beautiful message.

  • Jeanene S.

    The truth is, YOUR EMOTIONS WILL NOT LIE TO YOU. Your emotions will, in fact, always tell you the truth about what you believe (Proverbs 23:7). It is the lies that cause negative emotions, not the other way around.

    I needed to hear this. I confess I’ve been guilty of saying “Your emotions will lie to you.” But you are so right. Thank you for this vital insight!
    (And I just read in Rick Joyner’s, A World Aflame, “Emotions are not meant to be the thermostat of human personality, but they are a relatively accurate thermometer. That is, our emotions should not control us, but they do reveal us.) I get the message!

  • Monica

    Thank you Lord for the beautiful heart you gave me! It is through my heart that I connect to you, without my heart I would be lost.

  • Vivian

    Hello Bob:

    I enjoy your blog tremendously but like a Berean (sp?) I always check the references. The below doesn’t seem to fit, can you check the reference for me?

    “The truth is, YOUR EMOTIONS WILL NOT LIE TO YOU. Your emotions will, in fact, always tell you the truth about what you believe (Proverbs 23:7).” NIV reads
    6 Do not eat the food of a begrudging host,
    do not crave his delicacies;
    7 for he is the kind of person
    who is always thinking about the cost.[b]
    “Eat and drink,” he says to you,
    but his heart is not with you.
    8 You will vomit up the little you have eaten
    and will have wasted your compliments.

    I really do enjoy your writing and look forward to reading your blogs.

    Your sister in Christ
    Vivian

  • Wow, Bob! Thank you!

  • For those responding to the Proverbs 23:7 verse, many translations say, (though quite different, I see…) As a man believes (or thinks ) in his heart, so is he.

  • liz Vaughn

    Wow! Never heard it like that before. Awesome!

  • Cindy

    WOW! Did I need this message today! God has definitely used you as His instrument to minister to this 51y-o mom-forced now to “stay at home” w/physical disabilities…Sitting here with a graduate degree after a very successful career…now over due to my body betraying me. I do what I can. Not exactly sedentary. Prayer & meditation life has increased dramatically. Have grown spiritually in my relationship with God through Christ….by learning to pray His word back to Him, reading His word often reminding myself that I need a
    constant “renewing”. (ICor.12:13 MSG – “Each of us is now a part of his resurrection

    word daily, praying for others, & focusing on doing what I am physically capable of doing for others. I have found the scripture