An Invitation To Visit The Garden Of Your Heart

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     If you have taken any serious amount of time to study the Bible, then you know how important our hearts are to God.  There are countless verses which tell us that the state of our heart is the key to our relationship with our Father in Heaven.  I would remind you of just a few of these verses, so we are clear that we must cultivate a heart for God…

Psalm 51:10  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

Psalm 9:1  I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. 

Matthew 5:8  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Psalm 19:14   May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Proverbs 4:23  Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

 Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Romans 10:10  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 

1 Thessalonians 2:4  But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

     Are you getting the picture?  I could go on and on with Biblical references, but I wanted to make the point that we need to understand our hearts from a Kingdom perspective, not a carnal one.  We know that our physical hearts are made up of four chambers — the right and left ventricles, and right and left atriums — and we all learned in Science class how each chamber works in cooperation with the others to supply the body with oxygen and remove harmful carbon dioxide.  The miracle of this process speaks to the supernatural and intelligent mind of God, who created us.

     So, we know that the physical heart works in a designed method to keep our carnal bodies alive.  But it is the spiritual properties of our hearts that we need to understand in order for our hearts to beat in rhythm with the Lord’s.  Remember, we are made in His image, so it is natural to think that He desires that our hearts resemble His so that we experience true intimacy with Him.
     And if you are able to see with spiritual eyes, you will discern that Jesus referred to our hearts in “gardening terms” … the Parable of the Sower speaks of sowing seed, weeds that choke out the seed, and the bearing and yielding of fruit. In His teachings, Jesus also speaks of preparing the soil, sowing and reaping, watering, weeding, pruning and harvesting.  When the Word of God takes root in us, and His Spirit dwells within us, our hearts can produce beautiful “fruit” such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control — all attributes of Believers who live from a Kingdom perspective.
    So, if, as Jeremiah says, our lives “will be like a watered garden” when they know the Lord, what does the garden of our spiritual heart look like?  Do we keep it cultivated and watered each day with the Presence of the Lord? Does our spiritual heart have four different chambers as well, from which the blood of Jesus flows in and out of?  Let’s consider what the Word of God has to say about our spiritual hearts…
     Bryan Hodge has written a Scripturally-documented blog post on the chambers of our spiritual heart, and I would like to share some of his premises with you — thoughts that coincide with what I am being shown through revelation from the Holy Spirit, and from other godly men and women who are seeking greater intimacy with God’s heart.
      The Bible tells us that the spiritual heart thinks (Hebrews 4:12); meditates (Psalm 19:14); understands (Proverbs 2:1-2); and believes (Mark 11:23).  This chamber could be considered the “mind of our heart”, or as Bryan Hodge calls it, “the Intellectual Chamber”.  So what is the state of this chamber of your heart?  Are you mindful of God in your heart all the time?  Or do you need to purge some of the “sinful thoughts” that invade our hearts and result in unholy thoughts, practices and deeds?
     The second chamber of our spiritual heart speaks to its tenderness towards standards of right and wrong, or what we might call “the conscience of our heart”.  Scripture tells us that our hearts can be “pricked” and “cut”. Acts 2:37 says, Now when they heard this [the testimony of Jesus’s sacrifice and resurrection] they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?  This speaks of people whose hearts are made tender to receive the message of the Kingdom.  But the Bible also tells us in 1 Timothy 4:1-2, Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith …. speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.  In this case, sin has hardened the spiritual heart and their consciences are no longer concerned or worried about the consequences of sin.  This is a heart with no conscience.
     The third chamber houses “the will” of the spiritual heart. This is a heart that seeks to do the will of God to advance the Kingdom on earth.  God’s desire and will are the intentional objective of a heart that seeks after God’s own heart.  It is the purpose of that heart to discover the will of God and to be obedient in all ways.
     The fourth, and last, chamber of the spiritual heart deals with “the emotions” of the heart. The Bible speaks of the “afflictions and anguish” of the heart (2 Corinthians 2:4); the “desires” of the heart (Romans 10:1); and the “love” of the heart, for others and for God (1 Peter 1:22, Mark 12:30). A person who desires to be intimate with God must have a heart able to exhibit emotion.
     So, it is vitally important that we all inspect our spiritual hearts and see if we are firing on all cylinders, so to speak.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it very clear … Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. And I know that the modern Church interprets that as a prophecy for the future.  But I would like to submit to you that Jesus was seeking people who were willing to purify and cultivate and water and weed the gardens of their hearts so that they could see the Kingdom of God that very moment.  And He still desires it from us today!
    He tells us in John 3:3,  Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. That ability to see the Kingdom of God is available to us the moment we accept Him as our Savior and are born again into our true identities as spirit beings, created in the image of God.  That’s why He continually says throughout Scripture, Though you have eyes, do you not see? And though you have ears, do you not hear and listen? Remember, Jesus lived His life on this earth as a human being; as a model of how we can live in relationship with our Father in Heaven.  He only did what He saw the Father doing, or what He heard the Father telling Him.  As a flesh-and-blood man, He was able “to see” God, because He had a pure heart.
     And let’s not forget how He dressed down the Pharisees: But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. The religious leaders not only failed to teach that those who believed in YHWH could “see” into God’s heavenly realm, but they prohibited those who were in the process of receiving that sight. They knew it was available  — note that Jesus accused them of not entering, which implies that they knew they could — but they did not encourage others to experience the Kingdom relationship that God desires.

    So, I know this is a rather big concept for our Western minds to grasp. We have a physical heart that God wants to transform into a spiritual heart; a heart that is like a garden — a heart whose mind is always on God; a heart that is conscious of right and wrong; a heart whose will is intent on doing the will of God; and a heart that responds with genuine emotion toward the One who created it.  Above all else, the garden of our heart is a place we can water, tend to, and grow into a heart that bears much fruit for God’s Kingdom.  What’s more, with the mind that God has given us, we can “see” the spiritual garden that grows from a pure heart, and we can plant all the things we need to grow hearts that will harvest an intimate relationship with our Lord.  In the next post, I would like to introduce you to a way to experience your heart’s garden with Jesus.  It will require you to “see” God and His Kingdom, both of which Jesus promises us is possible.  So get ready to tap into your spirit and watch your heart’s garden grow!

2 Corinthians 3:18     “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit”.