The Heart As the Matter of Fact

When the Bible talks about feelings, it talks not about the heart but the bowels—the guts. It talks about the ‘bowels (feelings) of compassion’. The Bible calls the bowels the seat of the emotions. Where do people get ulcers—on the heart? No—in the gut, where so much emotion is centered.

What the scriptures are talking about is the inner life of a human being. This is the inner man—his whole inner life, including the inner aspects of feelings, thinking, decision-making, etc. “Why do you reason in your heart?” asks Jesus. Plans are said to originate in the heart. When a person talks to himself (“the fool has said in his heart…”), he does so in his heart. That is where one thinks with himself, reasons with himself, accuses and excuses himself, etc. According to the Bible, that whole inner life that you live is in your heart.                                                                                                

You do know that you live two lives (or, better still—one life on two fronts), don’t you? You live a life in reference to other people, and you live a life in reference to yourself. And of course you live both of them in reference to God. God is over both. What is it that makes you do what you do? What is it that makes you think what you think? What is it that motivates you the way you are motivated? What is it inside of you that produces the kinds of words that pour out of your mouth and the kinds of actions that your hands perform? It is the inner life, the heart; and that is what needs to be changed, says Jesus.

This planning and motivational center of your being must be transformed so that you can begin to do things that please God and that benefit your neighbor. Until that takes place, you haven’t begun to change…

Jay Adams ~ A Theology of Christian Counseling