There are many misunderstandings and misconceptions that keep people from growing into greater spiritual maturity of Jesus Christ. How we posture our hearts is critical to heightening our trajectory for spiritual growth. Here's why you should care about your heart posture in everyday life . . . .
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There are many things that we can grow in. We all exert ourselves in one way or another to become better at something: careers, parenting, marriages, sports, music, instruments, video games, fitness, dieting, theology, bible study, friendships, bank accounts, and more!
The question we must ask ourselves is, "What am I growing in?" We want to be sure we're growing in what matters most - into the likeness and image of Jesus Christ by our character and nature.
If becoming like Jesus Christ is our bullseye to growing, then we need to now "HOW" we can grow.
Here is why your heart posture matters for your spiritual growth.
WHY HEART POSTURE MATTERS
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK
“My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.”
- Proverbs 23:26
Growing in Christlikeness requires the Christian to properly posture their heart before God. In pursuit of spiritual maturity, it’s very natural to move into action or knowledge consumption. Serving in the church, bible reading, studying theology, and going on mission trips are all visible growth opportunities that we should consider and do. The less obvious growth opportunity lies within – The heart. Scripture indicates that the heart is paramount to one’s spiritual growth. Jesus even refers to the “heart” in the Great Commands,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is the great and first commandment.” - Matthew 22:37-38
Oftentimes, pastors, churches, theologians, members, and others can equate spiritual maturity solely to bible and theological knowledge. However, the Scriptures start with the heart and stay at the heart as knowledge is gained. In fact, the Proverbs constantly correlate the heart with knowledge and instruction. The authors of the Proverbs speak of knowledge, instruction, and wisdom in direct correlation to the heart.
“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” - Proverbs 18:15
“Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.” - Proverbs 23:12
The book of Proverbs in the bible is wisdom literature. Its purpose is to impart wisdom and give instruction to the upcoming generation on how to live a flourishing life. In the book of Proverbs, the word “heart” is mentioned 79 times. “Heart” is in all but four of its thirty-one chapters.
What is the significance of this recurrent word, “heart”? According to Solomon and the few other anonymous authors of the Proverbs, knowledge, instruction, and wisdom are inseparable from the heart.
Proper heart posture appropriately directs knowledge into right behavior and godly application.
Depending upon one’s heart posture, wisdom can be made useful or useless, helpful, or harmful. Improper heart posture inappropriately directs knowledge into wrong behavior and sinful application. For example, one can take true knowledge and puff up in pride, or they can posture themselves properly, low in humility, with gratefulness for the true knowledge revealed by God. Practically, a husband can wrongly apply Ephesians 5:22, “Wives submit to your husbands,” by making their wife do whatever they want even if they’re wrong. Or, he can acknowledge the privilege to bear the weight of spiritual leadership in his family unit by loving her like Christ loved the church and not take advantage of her submission for his own selfish desires. Using Scriptural knowledge to beat up instead of building up is a primary example of improper versus proper heart posture.
Many people know the bible well yet live unchanged lives. Why? A person’s heart posture matters. The accumulation of knowledge without a proper heart posture leads to dangerously deceiving and treacherous roads for the Christian. It self-deceives the Christian who is constantly around things of God, yet not necessarily with Him. It determines our trajectory for spiritual growth and regulates our nearness to God.
Even Jesus said, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.”Everything starts, stems, and proceeds from the heart. Heart posture matters.
On the other hand, taking action by doing an abundance of Christian activities can become pseudo-spirituality as well. The Pharisees, religious leaders in the New Testament times are a prime example. (See Matthew 23:1-36 for more on the Pharisees)
 Matthew 15:18, ESV
Service without a heart of delight is a busy body that buries themself in spiritual misery instead of building up into spiritual maturity.
When we continually serve without delight or enjoyment, our road ends in spiritual misery. There are many busy bodies that serve far more than other churchgoers, but a casual observer would think they dislike it. Service without a grateful heart to do God’s work is never pretty on the outside. It’s confusing to those who witness these individuals. Are there times that we will work without genuine delight in our service to others and, ultimately, God? Yes, most certainly, but it doesn’t mean we should stop serving. Rather, it means we should also cry out for God to stir our desires, increase our affections, and intensify our heart’s yearning for more of Him. It means we keep conforming in dutiful service until God transforms us into experiencing delightful service. All this comes in waves as we enter differing circumstances from one wave to the next. Ultimately, let us have a heart of delightful service in gratitude for the gift to serve God.
Whether we are head-heavy in knowledge or self-sufficient servers, there is a more essential component for the Christian to add to the equation of spiritual maturity – the heart. Heart posture matters for the Christian life. The heart sets the course for the head and hands.
 Psalm 119:32; Romans 12:2
My goal in writing the book "Heart Posture" is to accomplish the following purposes:
1. Reveal the prominence heart posture holds in pursuing spiritual maturity.
2. Give a clear scorecard to identify internal growth opportunities.
3. Provide practical ways to engage our hearts’ affections for worship in everyday life.
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Want more? Purchase "How We Grow: Heart Posture" by Adam Erlichman for more ways to grow in your spiritual maturity to become more like Christ day in and day out. A series of short reads for Everyday Christians answering common questions for the Christian life.
Senior Consultant and Author at Build Groups in Dallas, TX. Adam has served in Executive, Discipleship, Groups, Young Adult, and Youth ministries. 5-time best-selling author of Christian leadership and discipleship resources. Adam helps churches build more meaningful ministry by solving the volunteer crisis and creating custom processes to discover, develop, and deploy new volunteers and leaders to do the work of ministry. Learn more below:
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