NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In the Bible, the heart represents more than a part of the body, it is a description of the whole of man. In the Old Testament especially, the heart is used to refer to the intellectual, emotional and volitional capacities that God uses to communicate fully with us; and these are described in reference to the center of man’s being. Clearly, we can understand God intends that in our very essence we communicate completely and transparently — whole-heartedly — with him. Empowering Kingdom Growth seeks to catalyze a movement among Southern Baptists that makes God the priority in our thoughts, our feelings, our desires and efforts — giving God rule and reign in our hearts.
In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, God demands we commit his commandments to heart, that we might “teach them to your sons” and “talk of them when you sit in your house and walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” He desires that we commit to an ongoing, intentional, mental process — learning and remembering his words. Empowering Kingdom Growth seeks to encourage Bible memorization and understanding.
David rejoices, “Therefore my heart is glad” in Psalms 16:9, describing an innermost quality God intends for man to share specifically with him. Every healthy relationship involves emotional connections and expressions that establish ties drawing us closer to each other. Importantly, the quality of our relationship with God depends no less on our emotional expressions to him. Empowering Kingdom Growth hopes to inspire us to greater emotional investment in our relationships with God.
The human will describes something more elemental than the choices or decisions we make. Our “will” describes the intentions and predispositions we hold that are expressed in our choices and decisions. In Hebrews 4:7, Paul warns against repeating the rebellion of Israel, reminding them of David’s words in the 95th Psalm, “Today if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts.” Empowering Kingdom Growth promises to set a direction, a movement that pulls individuals together, away from personal agendas and predispositions and into a focus on causes for the Kingdom.
Yet, the heart does symbolize man’s physical nature, especially his strength. In Joshua 14:11, Caleb declares his fitness “for war and for coming out and coming in.” Even at the age of 85 years, Caleb pledged his physical heart in his service to God. Empowering Kingdom Growth includes a focus on finding opportunities to serve the King.
The heart of the matter is this: is our passion the King and his Kingdom? Are our hearts dedicated to him?
Empowering Kingdom Growth hopes to nurture healthy hearts.
Morris H. Chapman is president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible.