As we learn to speak to Him in every moment of every day, we are only leaning into the fellowship that He wants to have with us. As we set apart time to really pour out our hearts to Him, we open ourselves up to all that He has for us. Just like giving thanks, or speaking God’s Word to ourselves, so in prayer we simply lean our hearts in God’s direction.
“The heart of the human problem is the human heart.” I wrote that a few years ago, and had probably picked up the language from somewhere else along the way. Jesus pointed to the heart as the source of all sorts of evils (Mark 7:21-23). Earlier, Jeremiah lamented the state of the human heart, calling it deceitful and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9).
Our hearts control us, for we will do what we love, but we cannot control our hearts. The desires within our hearts are influential, but we don’t generate those desires. They are responses rather than our responsibility. And we all know that our desires are often in conflict with each other.
In terms of our salvation, our hard and stony hearts are dead toward God and require the miracle of a Spirit-given new heart for us to start living for God. The New Covenant is a wonderful blessing, for in it God not only forgives our sins, but also gives us a new heart and puts His Spirit within us so that we can live in responsive fellowship with Him.
So now, as we live for God, what are we to do with our hearts? After all, we have these new hearts given by God, but still we feel the raging battle of desire versus desire within ourselves – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the new heart are definitely at odds with each other.