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What is the human heart?

So yeah. When we talk about the "heart" in this article, we're not talking about physical anatomy, romance, or philosophy. When we talk about the heart here, we're referring to what the Bible means by the "heart": the spiritual part of every human being where all the emotions and desires we may experience live and die.

Our Creator has emotions and desires, and since He made us in His image (Genesis 1:27), we have those too—all contained within what we refer to as the heart. The Bible tells us that David was a man "after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22). And God has been known to bless those who follow His heart (1 Samuel 2:35; Jeremiah 3:15). God's heart is love, filled with grace and holiness (Ephesians 2:4-5).

The Way of the Human Heart

The human heart, on the other hand, has been tainted by sin since the Fall (Romans 5:12), making it a treacherous liar to our logic and reason. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" On our deepest human level, sin pervades. Jesus understood this when He said, "From within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean" (Mark 7:21-23). This inner sinful nature can sometimes make it a challenge to recognize evil when it comes out in our actions, words, and thoughts. (Also See: What is the conscience?)

Thankfully, even though our hearts are often a terrible mystery to us, God "knows the secrets of the heart" (Psalm 44:21; also 1 Corinthians 14:25 and John 2:24-25). God judges our hearts righteously, tests us our minds, and does so with fairness and righteousness (Jeremiah 17:10). In faith, we can ask God to create a new heart for us (Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26). Romans 10:10 says, "With the heart one believes unto righteousness." God promises to renew the hearts of those who humbly ask (Isaiah 57:15).

How can I get a new heart?

Psalm 51 is David's desperate plea for God to "create in me a clean heart" and to "renew a right spirit within me" (v. 10). David desires God's presence (v. 11) and the joy of salvation (v. 12). He also recognizes that the key to receiving a new, clean heart is the sacrifice of one's broken, repentant spirit (Psalm 51:17; Psalm 17:3).

When we come to God in our brokenness, He isn't disgusted or pitying of our sinful state. He has mercy, compassion, and love to offer (John 3:16-17). God wants to fill the hearts of His sons and daughters with new ideas, new wisdom, and healthy desires (Nehemiah 7:5; 1 Kings 10:24; 2 Corinthians 8:16). He gives us the Holy Spirit as a guide when our hearts' emotions and desires get confusing (John 14:15-17; Acts 2:38).

The heart is the core of the human creature. Protect your heart from harm and corruption like your life depends on it—because it does.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." —Proverbs 4:23

TL;DR

The human heart is the spiritual part of us where all the emotions and desires we may experience live and die. We have a heart because God does (Ephesians 2:4-5). The human heart has been tainted by sin since the Fall (Romans 5:12), making it a treacherous liar to our logic and reason (Jeremiah 17:9). Thankfully, God "knows the secrets of the heart" (Psalm 44:21) and will create a new, clean heart within us if we ask with a humble, repentant spirit (Psalm 51:17; John 3:16-17). God offers new wisdom and healthy desires that will bring life to our lives (John 14:15-17).

By: Catiana Nak Kheiyn

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, four socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.

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