Create in Me a Clean Heart

The Heart of the Matter

By Jim Allen

Weighing in at ten ounces, the blood-filled muscle called the heart has become the universal symbol of love. The Greeks believed the heart was the seat of the spirit, the Chinese associated it with the center for happiness, and the Egyptians thought the emotions and intellect arose from the heart. No one is sure the exact origin of the love association, however. One idea is that the heart got its "love mark" in the ancient Greek city of Cyrene, now in modern-day Libya.
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Of course, we know the human heart is not really where the spirit abides, where happiness originates, nor for that matter the source of human intellect. Nonetheless, the human heart is a wondrous symbol for describing that which is occasionally broken by the trials of life. And, we know the use of the word "heart" refers to the central-most part of our being where we live and move making moment-by-moment decisions about everything that comes before us in thought, word, and deed. The heart spoken of in Psalm 51:10 is the soul of every person.

Create in Me a Clean Heart: Created in the Image of God

God fashioned the soul of man after His (Genesis 1:26), giving us a small portion of the divine that is intelligent and imaginative, eternal and of great value. God gave Adam the breath of life and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). The Bible teaches the soul of man is eternal because God created it for eternal fellowship with Him. Although we know how the story began and ended for Adam and Eve, the impact from their story continues to resonate through the halls of time from generation to generation.

The heart of the matter is all people are born with a hollow chamber echoing a common rebellion inherited from Adam. As such, men are born in sin (Romans 5:12) and go through life trying to fill the hollow chamber (meant for God) with ungodly pursuits that will never satisfy. Sin and the human nature are one and inseparable, forever confirmed by all the dreadful stuff people do to each other and themselves. Sin is all about "self" on steroids, an inward focus so intense people see no one but themselves and their needs. The souls of humans, in every culture from young to old, have the "sin disease" ranging from wrong, trivial thoughts to the really bad stuff. The Old Testament pulls no punches when it declares everyone is born a sinner and that no one is righteous, not even one (Psalm 14:13; 51:5). The New Testament continues God's outspoken view of humanity by saying, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

Create in Me a Clean Heart: Value of the Soul

Aside from man's undeniable depravity, God looks upon the soul of man as valuable, the crowning glory of His creation (Genesis 1:26-26). In fact, God views the soul so valuable that He personally came to create in man a new heart and place within it a new spirit (Ezekiel 11:19). From Genesis to Revelation, the words of the Most High God bear witness to His divine capacity to pump unending forgiveness, love, grace and mercy through the spiritual veins of all who place their faith in Him (John 3:16).

While some people believe the heart got its "symbol of love" from the ancient Greeks, I contend the heart got its "symbol of love" from the God of the Bible. When Christ gave His life and then later gave the apostles the Great Commission, these holy acts of the Savior consummated for all time no greater love than God's love for humanity (John 3:16); and because of this truth, there can be no greater work on earth than sharing the Gospel.

Image Credit: Vinoth Chandar; "Spread Love!"; Creative Commons

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Published 3-6-12