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Tuesday, July 16 2013
Last week we considered a crucial topic: “Sustaining our Faith”. We looked at the pitfalls that threaten our faith and how to avoid them as we considered Peter’s experience of walking on water. Peter walked on water; but it was his faith that kept him afloat. As long as he could sustain his faith, he was fine. But then, the pitfalls came threatening and he lost it. This week we shall consider a phrase that has fazed a number of people in the past; one we have also just read in our texts. “For with the heart man believeth”, “and shall not doubt in his heart”.
From our texts we notice that it is with the heart that a man believes or doubts.
So what does it mean to believe with the heart?
Answering this question correctly requires that we have insight to a few Truths. It is in gaining these insights we will come to an understanding of what it means to believe with the heart
The heart of man is the spirit of man.
First, we need to understand that the heart of man is the spirit of man. Man is a spirit; he has a soul; and he lives in a body. The word "heart" used in the scriptures we just mentioned is not referring to the physical organ that pumps the blood through our bodies and keeps us alive. That would mean we are to believe God with our bodies! The word "heart" is used to convey a thought.
Notice how we use the word "heart" today. We talk about the heart of a tree. What do we mean? We mean the centre, the very core. We talk about the heart of a subject. What do we mean? We mean the most important part of that subject - the very centre of it - the main part of it around which the rest revolves. And when God speaks of the human heart, He is speaking about the main part of man; the very centre of man's being, which is his spirit. When God speaks of the heart, He means the human spirit. Many times the words "heart" and "spirit" in the Bible are interchangeable. See Romans 2:28, 29
In this passage, the "heart" of man and the "spirit" of man are used interchangeably.
Romans 2:29 says, "... circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit...." That is referring to the human spirit. Your heart, according to this text, is your spirit.
We can ONLY contact God with our Spirits (Hearts)
JOHN 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
The words "in spirit" in the phrase, refers to the human spirit, not the Holy Spirit. You see, you cannot contact God with your body and you cannot contact God with your mind. You can only contact God with your spirit; therefore, you must worship him from your spirit or heart.
It is with his spirit, man contacts the spiritual realm. With his soul he contacts the intellectual and emotional realm. And with his body he contacts the physical realm. So to believe God with your heart means to believe God with your spirit (the real man or otherwise referred to as the inner man.)
Hidden Man of the Heart – The real man
1 PETER 3:4a “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, Notice the word "heart" again. Notice also that Peter says, ". . . the hidden man of the heart ...” Peter used the words "hidden man" because, really, the spirit or the heart is the real you. The body is not the real you; it is just the house you live in.
Remember Paul said in First Corinthians 9:27,
"... I keep under my body, and I [The real him] bring it [The body] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away."
If your body were the real you, Paul would have said, "I keep myself under. I bring myself under subjection." But he said, "I keep my body under. I bring it under subjection."
"I" is the man on the inside. It is the "hidden man of the heart" in First Peter 3:4. It is the spirit - the real man, or the inner man. The "hidden man of the heart" is called that because he is hidden to the natural man or to the natural mind.
The Inward Man
ROMANS 7:22: “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.”
Here, the spirit of man is called the "inward man." So this inward man and the hidden man give us God's definition of the human spirit. Remember the real man is a spirit; he has a soul; and he lives in a body (1 Thess. 5:23).
We can only contact God with your spirit. And God contacts and communicates with us through our spirits. Certainly, you know that when you hear the Word of God preached, you hear it with your physical ears and it goes through your natural mind before it goes into your heart or your spirit.
1Corinthians 2:14 says,
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
The Word of God is of the Spirit of God, and the Bible says the Word of God is foolish to the natural mind. The reason the Word of God is foolish to the natural mind is that you don't understand the Bible with your head or mind; it is spiritually understood. You understand the Bible with your heart or your spirit. That's the reason you can read certain verses over and over again and not understand the meaning. Then one day you can be reading along, and suddenly you see the truth of a particular verse of Scripture, and you say, "Why didn't I ever see that before?"
Well, it is because you have only just then understood it with your heart!
The right sequence is to Believe, Receive, and Then Have!
To have anything, we need to first receive it. And to receive, we have to believe. (But this belief is with the heart!) Mark 11:24 (KJV) says:
“Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
In common, every-day language, Jesus said, "You've got to believe you've got your answer before you get it!"
The Amplified version reads:
“For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe – trust and be confident - that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].”
The problem is that many of us want to get what we desire first, before we believe we've got it. But Jesus said that you've got to believe you've received what you desire from God, and then you'll have it! That is faith!
How do we continue to believe with our hearts?
“If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10
The Word of God is the food that makes our spirits strong and that gives us quiet assurance and confidence.
So how does our spirit get faith that our intellect cannot obtain?
Through reading and meditating on the Word; Jesus said in Matthew 4:4,
". . . Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
Jesus is speaking here of spiritual food. He is using the natural human idea (bread) to convey a spiritual thought. The Word of God is food for the spirit and faith.
The Word of God is to the spirit of man what natural food is to the body of man.
Our spirits become filled with assurance and confidence as we meditate in the Word.
To believe with all of our heart is to believe independently of our heads or of our bodies.
Proverbs 3:5 says: “Trust in the Lord with all thine HEART; and lean not unto thine own understanding [or your mind].
We know that to believe with the heart is to believe with the spirit, not regarding what your physical body may tell you or what your physical senses may tell you.
Contributor: Alex Alajiki