The Heart of God
As we approach Pentecost we should ask ourselves if God's Spirit is changing our heart to be like the heart of God. Do we know what makes God happy? What makes Him sad? When is He most pleased with us His children? We do not often think of almighty God in terms of heartfelt affection and gentleness, but we should. We are being created in the image of God, and we seek happiness and kindness. Our hearts are easily broken and our tears flow when we are hurt. God made us this way. He has empathy when we hurt and he is moved by our difficulties. He is patient with us and He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). The Greek indicates that He has sympathy and compassion for us. He saves our tears in a bottle—never forgetting our vulnerable frame (Psalm 56:8, 103:14).
Jesus became emotionally overwhelmed and wept tears of anguish when he contemplated Jerusalem’s future (Luke 13:34). He is understanding and merciful—that is who He is—that is the kind of heart He has. He described His own heart in Matthew 11:29:
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
‘Lowly in heart’ means that Jesus is not of an arrogant, bold, prideful or haughty attitude. He is not puffed up and proud looking down on the lowly, for He himself is lowly in heart, accepting of the meek and humble.
When the Bible speaks of the heart it is speaking of the center of emotion, belief and understanding – the very core of one’s being. We see an example of this usage here:
“Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” (Deuteronomy 4:39)
Ancient Israel did not have God’s Spirit in order to be able to obey God and do those things pleasing in His sight (Hebrews 8:8). Pentecost reveals how God’s Spirit in us changes us. It is the work of God’s Spirit in us that sets us apart from the world. Without God’s Holy Spirit it is not possible to please God.
“O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29)
“I will give them one heart, and I will put a new Spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19)
“This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” (Hebrews 8:10)
What is God’s Holy Spirit? God’s Spirit is the one Spirit-Life that the Father and Jesus Christ share with each other and with us. God’s Spirit is His life, His mind, His attitude, His life’s force, His love, His heart, His all-presence, His all-knowing, His unlimited power, His personality, His manifold traits, His character—it is every characteristic of God like His gentleness, compassion, generosity, mercy… the list is immeasurable and endless.
The complete attributes of God's Spirit are beyond the grasp of our finite minds. What is our goal in life except to have a heart like the heart of God? What we strive for as Christians is to acquire the characteristics of God’s heart. Here are a few of God’s characteristics:
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity [‘agape’ – Godly love], which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God
rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” (Colossians 3:12-16)
In today’s sermon we will address how God’s Spirit leads us to have the heart of God.
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