Sermon Illustrations

The Head VS. the Heart

Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord. Ps. 31: 24

It is with the heart that we must wait upon God. As a man's heart is, so is he before God. We can advance no further or deeper into the holy place of God's presence to wait on Him there than our heart is prepared for by the Holy Spirit. The message is, "Let your heart take courage..."

Many Christians have no sense of the great difference between the religion of the mind and the religion of the heart, and the former is far more diligently cultivated than the latter. They know not how infinitely greater the heart is than the mind. This is one of the chief causes for the feebleness of our Christian life, and it is only as this is understood that waiting on God will bring its full blessing.

Speaking of a life in the fear and favor of God, [a text in Proverbs says], "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not upon thine own understanding" (3: 5). In all religion we use these two powers. The mind gathers knowledge from God's Word and prepares the food by which the heart with the inner life is to be nourished. But here comes a terrible danger: of our leaning to our own understanding and trusting our apprehension of divine things, but it cannot reach the real life of the soul. It is with the heart man believes and comes into touch with God. It is in the heart that God has given His Spirit to be the presence and power of God working in us.

In all our religion it is the heart that must trust, love, worship, and obey. My mind is utterly impotent in creating or maintaining the spiritual life within me. The heart must wait on God for Him to work in me.

Reason may tell me what God's Word says, but it cannot feed the soul on the bread of life--this the heart does by faith and trust in God.

What about the person studying the nature and effects of food or sleep? When he wants to eat or sleep he sets aside his thoughts and study and uses the power of eating or sleeping. And so the Christian when he has studied or heard God's Word, needs to cease from his thoughts, to put no trust in them, and waken up his heart before God and seek living fellowship with Him.

This is the blessedness of waiting upon God: that I confess the impotence of all my thoughts and efforts and bow my heart before Him in holy silence, trusting Him to renew and strengthen His work in me.

Remember the difference between knowing with the mind and believing with the heart? Beware of the temptation to lean on your understanding with its clear strong thoughts. They only help you know what the heart must get from God. In themselves they are only images and shadows.

Cultivate the greatest confidence that, though you cannot see into your heart, God is working there by His Holy Spirit. Let your heart wait at times in perfect silence and quiet; in its hidden depth God will work. Be sure of this, and wait for Him.

Give your whole heart, with its secret workings, into God's hands continually. He wants the heart, takes it, and dwells in it.

--excerpts from Waiting on God by Andrew Murray

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