The heart-led way is the human default. It’s where we began back in Eden. The Fall didn’t close off the heart of conviction; it simply meant ignoring it in favor of the intellect.
From that time forward, it was two natures fighting, as Paul says in Romans 7. The Law of God is revealed to the heart, while the mind and flesh conspire to usurp the throne of human decision. So the heart-led way was never really gone, but it has struggled. We can look back over Church History and see it flashing forth here and there, yet often somewhat shaded by false teaching. Even today, most people truly Spirit-born will exhibit some measure of heart-led consciousness, but it’s a struggle because of the overwhelming cultural atmosphere against it. This is where we are Western Civilization, a context that is hostile to the heart.
The Ancient Near East (ANE) as the cradle of civilization was the atmosphere that arose nearest the gate of Eden; it was both, the birthplace of the fallen way, and the one place where the heart-led way was most consciously pronounced. When you examine the primordial past of human existence, it is in the ANE where you see the wisdom of the heart over the mind as the first step on the path to answering human need. This represents the cream of ANE learning.
It was in the ANE that God raised up a nation that would live under his Covenant, a covenant that creates an atmosphere where the heart-led way is utterly necessary. It was the essential a priori ground on which revelation stood. The Old Testament is full of talk about trusting in God through the heart versus trusting your own wisdom. It’s loaded with a presumption that this whole thing is intensely personal, that you cannot objectify reality. So Scripture emphasizes the concept that all of Creation is alive, that a proper grasp of reality itself warrants treating all things as persons. The difference is that people-persons are fallen, whereas the other persons in Creation are not. But the idea of talking to “inanimate objects” is distinctly promoted in Scripture. It’s not just a figure of speech.
Judaism is what arose from ditching that old Hebrew mysticism by running Hebrew Scripture through the meat-grinder of human reason. It wasn’t a single moment in history, but a wearing away of the heart-led resolve via exposure to the Assyrians, then Babylon, then Medo-Persia. Upon their return from Exile, the Hebrew people were eventually exposed to the Greeks, and it was the final death-knell of the heart-led way. And yet the persistence of the mystical approach was never quite buried. Only the leadership in the form of the rabbinical colleges were completely sold, and even then it was never quite ubiquitous. It became the mainstream sometime before Jesus’ day, but there was always a vestige of mystical scholarship around.
And if you understand it all within this context, you realize that Jesus was calling His nation back to the mystical way, the heart-led way of letting your convictions rule. This wasn’t a revolution in thought, but it was a resistance against the mainstream. He was seeking to recover things that had nearly been pushed out of the picture. His teaching clearly emphasized the mystical antidote to legalism and human reason.
His death on the Cross won for us the gift of restoring the heart-led way as a miracle without first having to wade through a vast lore of ancient scholarship. That’s how folks in the Old Testament were Spirit-born. We receive it in reverse order: Spirit-born first, then learning the lore of the heart-led way. Keeping the New Testament in this elder context, we cannot avoid seeing it everywhere. We are told to study the Old Testament law and understand how it speaks of God’s personal moral character. Thus, we get to know God; it’s not just becoming familiar with some covenant writ. We are equipped from the start to see the higher hidden meaning. But at the end of the New Testament, we see John warning us in a mystical revelation of how Satan had been granted a certain level of authority to smother the heart-led way. Not total authority; that way never actually died, but the churches certainly ditched it rather early in history.
So it was kept alive by God’s own initiative through the miracle of spiritual birth. You simply cannot live by the Spirit without subjecting your mind to the heart. If we understand Paul’s teaching in Romans 8-9 properly, we realize that some portion of humanity was chosen before Creation itself to eventually come into this fallen world with an established identity in the Spirit Realm. What people call “born-again” is in one sense nothing more than realizing your eternal identity. It was already there; you simply grasped it at some moment when God nudged you into that recognition. The whole thing hangs on awareness, not a change in fact. It’s something founded in mystical truth, not objective fact.
This is why I teach that there is no such thing as objective reality; there is only the question of awareness. If God shows you something is true, then it doesn’t matter what seems factual to your human senses. Seize it by faith and walking in it. By the same token, it’s not a question of your having weak faith if you don’t “receive” a miracle healing for something. That healing has to be revealed to you by God; you don’t grab it for yourself. It’s not automatic. That’s one of the most bitter and hateful lies that comes out of the Charismatic movement. There’s nothing static about healing and redemption; it’s a living thing in itself. It’s all about the relationship between you and God and what He wants you to see.
It also rests on how He intends to use you in His ongoing revelation. Because we are stuck here in the Fallen Realm of time and space, there is something about the way revelation works from within our context. We all vary over the course of our lives here. There’s a time and place for sensing the Presence of God in the same place and in repeated rituals. The discipline of ritual can restore your spirit or deaden it, so use it carefully. There’s also a time and place in your life for totally whimsical (“random”) and one-time-only experiences. Each of varies along that scale, both in our fundamental personality and in the various seasons of life.
So it’s utterly critical that you learn, and strive to live in your heart at all times. Watch and catch yourself slipping off into the way of this world, where you trust your senses and intellect and your emotions. Adam won’t stay nailed to the Cross where he belongs; we have a constant war with our fallen nature. This is what Ephesians 6:10ff is all about. When you are strong in the Spirit of God, you will be in your heart-mind. It opens the door to revelatory awareness so that every part of your being is all pulled together in communion with the divine nature woven into the universe. Your intellect works better when it serves the heart, as does your whole being.
This heart-led way is what we were designed for.
We have been granted this Internet of instantaneous communication and on-demand content to spread this ancient truth. This is our time to find each other and bring this teaching into human awareness in ways we could not previously. Don’t waste the gift of God.