In religion, the focus is on practices and what we can do to please God with our works. In a relationship with God, we are communing with God and getting to know His heart. The key Scripture to cement this fact comes directly from our Savior’s own mouth:
On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:22-23 ESV)
I was brought up in a key Christian religion. There was no doubt that I believed in God. The problem was that it was a ‘head’ relationship. Fortunately, one day I was challenged and was asked if I had a ‘heart’ relationship with the LORD. I asked them to explain. They did, and I was led to accepting Jesus into my heart as my Savior and the LORD of my life. This rocked my world forever. It is amazing to look back on now and realize that it all came down to a journey, that some people like to refer to, of only about 18 inches from my head to my heart. The problem is, although the head and heart are only eighteen inches from each other, most people never complete that journey, even though they travel thousands of miles in their life. They spend their entire lives trying to make a genuine connection between what they profess to believe in their heads and what they actually believe in their hearts, but unfortunately they never complete that connection.
I know what you are thinking. Our heart is only an organ that pumps blood. True. But we also use the term ‘heart’, for simplicity’s sake, to describe the seat of our inner being and who we really are deep inside. The 18 inch reference is only an illustration. In reality, our head contains our brain and our brain is where our mind is and where we think. Our brain is also the place our innermost being (or heart) resides. In conversation when we use the term, “Let’s get to the heart of the matter”, we are saying that we want to get to the deep seated root of the matter so that a situation can be completely resolved. It is the same way when it comes to facing our sin and obtaining salvation through Jesus Christ alone. It must be a heart matter, not a mind matter:
“Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing before you well. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10, 12 ESV)
I hope that what I write is not confusing, and that it prompts you to examine your life and to see if you are truly a ‘born again’ Christian:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV)
I will now take you to a portion of Scripture that I hope brings everything to light:
But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” (Acts 8:9-13, 18-23 ESV)
Please see that Simon only believed in his mind, not his heart. Thus, it was not really life changing. He did not possess a saving faith. Peter literally told Simon that his heart was not right before God. The intent of this article is to make sure that everyone who reads it has their heart right before God and that they become a new creation in Jesus Christ!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
The only way to become that new creation is through the heart:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10 ESV)
Notice how it says, “For with the heart one believes and is justified.” It doesn’t say, “With the mind or intellect one is justified.” Never forget that:
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder! (James 2:19 ESV)