Heart and Soul

by

Bryan Craig

It’s Valentine’s Day, and I must say that I’ve always liked this holiday.  I know it can cause a lot of stress and pressure for men out there, and for unattached females, it can be a bit depressing.  Perhaps it is special to me because I’m married to my Valentine, Missy, and we’ve been romancing for 32 years now.  And it could also be the fact that I have four daughters, who are all my sweethearts and always will be.  But it is also because this day represents Love, and God’s Word says He is Love (1 John 4:8).  So, in my way of thinking, Valentine’s Day is God’s holiday.

As I think about this, I ponder the symbol which defines this holiday, The Heart.  As you enter every store in the month of February, you see heart after heart.  So, why is that?  What is the heart?  I know I’ve written about this before, and I don’t think I need to educate you on the fact that it is NOT the blood-pumping organ in the center of your circulatory system.  The Biblical Heart is a much deeper part of our being, which really defines who we are. 

In the past few years, I’ve been inspired by a book by Watchman Nee, “The Release of the Spirit”.  In this book, he describes Man comprising of 3 parts.

  • The Outer Man- our flesh, our bodies, the part of us which is not eternal. When we die, it dies.  This is the part of our being where we are afflicted, tempted, and sin.
  • The Inner Man- our soul, which he describes as our mind, will and emotions. Another way of thinking of it is that it is your Personality.  This is who you are, behind the skin. The Bible talks about our souls existing after this life, so they are eternal.
  • The Innermost Man- our spirit. This is the spiritual part of us which is also eternal.  Nee and others believe that when a person becomes a believer, The Holy Spirit unites with our spirit and this is how we become holy.  Our spirits are protected and undefiled from the world and darkness as they are immersed in the Holy Spirit. 

As I’ve pondered this, it resonates in my heart and in my search of the Scriptures, it really does connect.  I feel like our Souls, being in the middle of our Bodies and our Spirits, are often in a sort of wrestling match.  They are pulled in the direction of our Flesh, to satisfy its desires and to fall for its temptations, but for believers, we have our Spirit and The Holy Spirit pulling us back toward holiness, giving us a way of escape and giving us strength in our days of temptation.

But what about The Heart?  It is listed throughout Scripture, and in many instances, it is listed separately from the soul. 

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.  Deuteronomy 4:29

 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  Deuteronomy 6:5

And the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. 2 Chronicles 34:31

My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Psalm 84:2

There are many, many more verses like these, but what it tells me is that The Heart is something very significant.  I don’t want to lump it into the category of our Soul, although I can see how you could do that.  I think it deserves special billing.  I see it as being right beside our Souls in that Inner Man.  Whereas the Soul is our mind, will and emotions, I think the Heart is our Passion.  One of my favorite verses, Ezekiel 36:26, says:

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

So, when we surrender our lives to Christ, not only does He give us the Holy Spirit to unite with our spirit, but He gives us a new Heart, a new passion!  When our Hearts are guided by The Spirit, they become Champions within us, keeping our Souls healthy and encouraging us toward good, Holy actions.  Our Hearts, when connected to the Holy Spirit, become the center of our Love Circulatory System, pumping Love into our minds, our emotions, our wills.  It helps us to know God’s Love and be God’s Love, even to our enemies and other challenging people in our lives. 

No wonder that there are many scriptures about guarding our Hearts, about purifying our Hearts.  It is too important!   For as much as it is God’s intention that our Hearts would be our Champions, there are many warnings that our Hearts can be deceived, troubled, hardened, weighed down, doubting, full of evil. 

So, I ask you on this Valentine’s Day, “How’s your Heart?”  Have you given your old heart to Jesus and allowed Him to give you a new Heart?  Are you guarding that Heart by Abiding in the Spirit, immersing that Heart in The Word, praying for God to protect your Heart and guide it, enabling that Heart to pump Love to your Soul and to all those around you?  If so, this Valentine’s Day is a celebration, a day to rejoice in the Love God has given us.