"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart" (Mt .22:37)
The "heart" is mentioned many times in Scripture.
Why? What does it mean? Factually, the heart is a muscle, the physical organ that pumps blood and keeps it circulating throughout the body. This process delivers much needed oxygen, vitamins and minerals the body requires for growth, development, repair, and maintaining life. It is the most important physical organ in the body. Without it, or if it ceases to function, the person dies. Realistically, the heart is a symbol of life itself.
When the Bible speaks of the "heart" it is actually referring to the inclusive life of the individual. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Pr.4:23). The kind of life we live and display externally depends greatly on the condition of the "inner person" -- (the heart). The heart symbolizes the spirit and soul, the real person who resides within the physical body.
The heart and brain cooperate to bring our thought life into action
"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Pr. 23:7). "Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart" (Mt. 15:18). It's what is in the heart of a person that really counts with God. "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7). The heart represents the real person.
The heart typifies the seat of our affections, our emotions, our thoughts, our decisions and our will. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Mt. 12:34).
How does God address the heart?
Observe at least a few Scriptures:
"Son, give Me thine heart" Pr. 23:26).
"Love the Lord with all thy heart" (Deut.6:5).
"You will find Me if you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer.29:13).
"Blessed are the pure in heart" (Mat. 5:8).
"Believe with thy heart" (Rom. 10:10).
"Serve God with a perfect heart" (1 Chr.28:9; Deut. 10:12)
"Thy word have I hid in my heart" (Ps. 119:11).
From these verses (and there are many more) it is evident that the "heart" occupies a very important position in the spiritual life of a person. When God takes any action with respect to the life of an individual -- He deals with the heart, the inner man, the soul and spirit of the person.
The physical heart and brain combined, become the channel for the function of our soul and spirit -- ( that invisible, intangible, spiritual, eternal part of us). Jesus said, "True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (Jn. 4:23, 24). God checks our "spirit" (the inner man), to discern if our worship is genuine or just an outward show. It must also be in "truth" -- patterned after the instructions of God's Word. The incentive for true worship, for faithful service and dedicated living for God must come from deep within us, from the "heart," from the real person who is encased in a physical body.
When God says, "Give Me your heart" He is asking for all of your life. When He asks us to "Love Me with all your heart" - He requires a complete surrender that goes all the way to the deepest recesses of our being. "All your heart" means all of you with no compromise, no sharing of goals, treasures, or affections. All your heart means -- He comes first. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." (Mt. 22:37). It also means to "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Mt. 6:33). God is top priority!
What is the condition of our heart? Is it compartmentalized with little nooks and crannies for varied secret desires, ambitions, persons? God wants to be first - not second or third. The Psalmist declares, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: -- trusting in the Lord" (Ps. 57:7; 112:7,8). There was no doubt in David's mind as to who was first in his life.
The Lord said, I have found David...a man after My own heart, which shall fulfill all My will" (Acts 13:22). David's heart was in harmony with God's heart. It beat to the same cadence. He was wholly committed to the Lord. All too often we seek to impress people with outward manifestations of piety and religious behavior. God is not impressed. He wants us to seek Him, to serve Him, to worship and love Him with ALL OF OUR HEART! "Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" (Eph. 6:6).