My dad, at age 76, was enjoying a set of tennis doubles when he felt a sudden pain in his jaw. He tried to dismiss it as pain from some recent dental work. However, one of the other players, a doctor, convinced him to go to the hospital believing it was more likely the beginning of a heart attack. Three days later my dad underwent seven bypasses.
His own father died at age sixty from the same arteriosclerosis heart disease. Therefore, my dad’s doctor recommended that all of his kids get tested every ten years by having a calcium heart scan. My first test showed a perfect score of four zeros. Ten years later after the second test the technician walks over to me with the results. He begins by asking, “Why are you here?” I explained. Then he asked, “What was your mother’s heart like?”
I told him, “My mother had a strong heart, no heart issues.”
Then he looked at me and said, “You have your mother’s heart. You don’t need to keep coming back for this test.”
Recently, I came across the words, “You can let go because you have your Father’s heart.” I found the words puzzling at first. Triggering several questions in my mind. How does having my heavenly Father’s heart allow me to “let go”? What does the Father’s heart even look like? And can I honestly say I have my Father’s heart?
The heart represents not only our physical life but our spiritual life as well. God tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). The first and greatest commandment involves our heart. “You will love the Lord, your God, with all your heart…” (Matthew 22:37). We can’t live out that commandment with an unhealthy spiritual heart.
But you say what about the verse that reads, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The answer to that question lies in the verse that follows, God can understand our hearts. And he alone can give us a new heart, his very own heart to rule in our lives.
David didn’t declare himself as a man after God’s own heart. God did. And he declared him that before David became king. Before he became an adulterer and murderer. Before he repented of his egregious sins. Because God knew the heart of a shepherd boy and the heart of a one-day repentant man. God looks deeply at our hearts. In 1 Chronicles 28:9 David tells his son, Solomon, that “the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought.” Solomon, also struggled with spiritual heart issues.
What can we realize in this proclamation about David’s heart? First, all those who know the Lord like David and Solomon, inherit the Father’s heart. When we trust in Christ, we also inherit the Father’s heart. Yet, just like our physical heart our spiritual hearts have certain healthy heart demands. The Father’s heart flourishes in us when we nourish it, keep it pure, and share it. So, let’s look at just some of the ways scripture guides us in those areas.
The Father’s heart loves others!
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22). God has a deep love for all, and he commands us to love as he loves. There simply is no greater way of manifesting the Father’s heart.
The Father’s heart stays focused on what matters.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2). The Father’s heart sees the bigger picture of what lies ahead, he doesn’t want us getting too hung up on this world. Its enticements or its temporary riches.
The Father’s heart is peaceful.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15). What’s ruling in our world today? Certainly, not peace. We cannot control what takes place all around us in a world that rejects Christ. But we can let peace rule in our own hearts because we know the peace giver. And that same peace must rule in our churches as those who share in the body of Christ. For all this amazing peace our hearts give thanks.
The Father’s heart is pure.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me” (Psalm 51:10). A pure heart strives to remain clean, uncontaminated, genuine, and uncorrupted before the Lord. We all face temptations and fall into sin, yet our heart’s desire should not gravitate toward sin, but away from it. Christ made a way for us to maintain a pure heart when we slip up if we seek his forgiveness.
The Father’s heart abides in truth.
The pursuit of a pure heart walks side by side with knowing God’s Word. We live in a time where many choose to create their own truth. The authority of the Bible falls victim to those who use it to support their own faulty theology. But the Father’s heart knows what is true and proclaims the truths of the Bible, his very spoken word to all.
What can we “let go” of when we possess and nurture the Father’s heart in us? Our hatred towards others, our concerns in this world, our worries versus peace, our sin, our ignorance of God’s truth, and the fear of sharing his truths whenever we can.
That’s a lot of “letting go” freedom! That’s a lot to celebrate! That’s a lot to give thanks for!
When we have the Father’s heart, we don’t just have intellectual knowledge of God, but we have true heart knowledge of God. Being a child of God grants us enormous freedom. I have identified the areas where I need improvement in fostering the Father’s heart in me. How about you? Are you experiencing all the freedom and joy of a spiritually healthy Father’s heart living in you?
I hope you can “let go because you have your Father’s heart” abiding in you!