Why should I be concerned about discovering God’s heart? And what does “God’s heart” even mean?
In the Bible the word “heart” is used to refer to the inner part of a person where emotions and desires start, and which ultimately affects what we do. Depending on what commentary I consult, the heart is the center of intellectual activity or the center of our being and personality. At the very least it is the part of us in which we experience desires and affections and which motivates us to take certain actions.
Although God is not a human being, the Biblical authors use human terms to describe Him. So God’s heart is the source of His desires and affections, which are described throughout the Bible. God’s compassion and mercy, His faithful love, His desire to be with us, all come from His heart. And His rules for living our best lives also come from His heart; since He created us, He knows how we function best and therefore gives us guidelines to live a full and satisfying life. Learning more about God’s heart will bring me closer to understanding what God desires for me and for others.
When I think of discovering God’s heart, I am usually reminded of David, who was described as “a man after God’s own heart” in I Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:27. Other translations describe him as “a man who shares my [God’s] desires” (CEB) or “a man whose heart is like mine” (EXB). I am so happy to have David as a role model for myself because David was far from perfect, so I can identify with him. He was an adulterer and a murderer and yet he never stopped being a man after God’s own heart at his core. He admitted his sins and turned away from them, and through a painful and sorrowful time, he was restored to a close relationship with God. Learning about some of the flawed main characters in the Bible (think of Abraham, Noah, Jonah…) reinforces my appreciation and gratitude for the mercy and grace of God applied to all of us who desire to be and do what God wants for us.
So my “WHY” for the journey of discovering God’s heart is to become a woman after God’s own heart. To me that means two things: First, I want to grow closer to God’s heart, understanding His desires, why He created us, how He views us as humans and as followers after Him, understanding His compassions, values, standards, etc. I want to know more about God, but primarily I want to experience Him more in my life, becoming more aware of His presence and love and loving Him in return. And second, I want my heart to become more like His so that I will love the things He loves and hate the things He hates. I will see other people the way He sees them and I’ll have compassion for them. I will understand God’s pain at anything that separates us from Him. When my heart reflects God’s heart I will love Him with all I am and all I have, and I’ll love others as myself.