When we talk about giving our hearts to the one we love, what exactly do we mean? Think for a moment, physically the heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system. It pumps blood through blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions.¹ Who in their right mind would want to give that to the one they love? I can hear you thinking: well, if you put it that way, Jack, of coarse giving my literal heart to someone sounds ridiculous. In our modern culture—nay, throughout history, the heart is something more than a cardiac muscle made of connective tissues. Over and over we find the beating little thing used as a metaphor and analogy of love, emotions and soul. If we go all the way back to Genesis 6 we discover God used the heart to define man with his choices and volition:
5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Man has a heart, and in this case it’s given to evil continually. He’s allowed his affections and desires to be set on things most contrary to God. One verse later we discover another interesting revelation—God has a heart too:
6 And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
In the Hebrew language the same word for heart is used in both verses. In fact, throughout the Bible it’s used figuratively and very widely for the feelings, the will, even the intellect.² So, you see, the heart is something very precious needing protection and careful development. It can either develop into something ugly or grow into something most beautiful and holy. Somewhere along the lines of his life, Solomon realized this reality and decided the heart was something important and worth protecting. Determined to keep his son from the grief he had experienced, the king advised:
“My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” Proverbs 23:26
The man, known as the wisest on earth, discovered a direct correlation between the heart and the eye’s observations. What you see eventually affects what you believe and then do. The Lord Jesus put it yet another way: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If your eye’s treasure is a relationship, that’s where your heart will end up. If your plunder is power, your passion will be position. When your fortune is tied to fun, you’ll follow frivolity indiscriminately. If your prize is Christ without reservation, your heart will desire to please God.
It matters what things we let our eyes observe. I understand the tendency to think that if I give my heart to God I might miss out on something—some treasure. However, God is not in the business of making sure we have the most miserable lives possible. In fact, He flat-out says in Psalm 84:11 “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” If I’m going to place my heart’s trust in Him, He is not going to mock me nor let me down. Let me leave you with this one last promise of encouragement to assure we choose to give our hearts to God first:
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7 (ESV)
J. Robert Hanson
2 Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon, H3820, leb