“My son, give me your heart; and let your eyes delight in my ways”.
Proverbs 23:26

One would be correct in saying that those words were from Solomon to his son. And yet, to “give our heart” is the very same command to which God calls all of the human race. But what is this “heart” anyway? In asking this of us, He is not primarily demanding our money, preaching or an act of devotion, but rather for what is within us that loves and hates, the seat of our affections, for what is most dear to us.

What astounds me about this verse is that it points to a wonderful truth about the Christian religion: Our faith is not merely in what we do, but also how we feel. That the saint isn’t just called out of darkness into a life of work for God, but a life of emotions attached to God. That Jesus’ righteousness was not merely in what He did on earth, but that the stirrings of His heart were in harmony with the Father’s. That Jesus’ zeal in the temple and his tears at the sight of Jerusalem were the fruit of a heart rested in the hand of God and not merely what he was supposed to do.

What does any of this do for me, though? Well, among many things it helps guide us back to God when we’ve backslidden. So many times in facing the consequences of my sin I’m quick to strategize about how to make it right. To whom do I need to apologize? How can I make sure it doesn’t happen again? All the while not realizing that my zeal to correct is not rooted in a love to God, but a self-love to no longer feel guilty, or have this discomfort. However, if I know that my religion rests in God having my heart, my affections, I can realize that my backsliding is rooted in me trying to rend my heart from His hands. So, instead of first thinking, “‘How do I fix this?!” I should call out to Him and say, “LORD, fix me! Forgive me for trying to take what belongs to You!”

God isn’t strange for this; we require the same. If there is infidelity in a marriage, the spouse, who was cheated on, does not merely want the other spouse to stop their cheating, but to want to stop cheating as well. Not merely behavior modification, but for his/her heart to be returned to the spouse to whom it belongs.

If you’re like me and have erred in this way all too often, please don’t despair. Take heart. Our God is in the business of mending broken hearts. GRC, let’s keep giving our hearts.

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love
Like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am
For Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
– Hosanna (Hillsong United)

David Noel, Jr. is our Director of Youth Ministry.  He is engaged and will be married in two weeks.