Mission Impossible. That’s what this study book is about. Not TV shows reruns, but the precious gift of a kingdom heart that is beyond our reach. This is impossible for one very simple reason: a kingdom heart is miraculous — a mystery too wonderful for human words to fully describe. It cannot be achieved in the strength we have, by our own effort, by our wits and willpower because it is a wondrous gift of saving faith that changes our hearts into Kingdom Hearts. It’s as if the Bible says, “Don’t try this at home.” Attempt it by yourself and you’ll fall on your face. Just as important, what you accomplish on your own will have no lasting worth. It will be of little eternal value in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The message of Hearts for the Kingdom is equally impossible to write. There are no “Ten Steps to a Kingdom Heart.” You can’t give assent to four spiritual laws to gain a Kingdom Heart. There is no methodical approach to achieve the objective. My task as teacher and writer is simply to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit to lead you to Christ who will give to you a new heart. And then, in your new heart, Christ is revealed.
As impossible as it is for you and for me, we have a very essential role in this kingdom heart process. It cannot be done without trusting the goodness of our Lord Jesus and jumping in with both feet. This requires a childlike faith, like a little girl who jumps into daddy’s arms in the swimming pool, knowing beyond a doubt that he will catch her. We are powerless in this process, yet not without means to do our part. But the means are not our own. While a kingdom heart cannot be earned, effort is called for on our part. Jesus spoke of this when He said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul followed up his chapter on the gifts of the Spirit with the love chapter, directing our hearts to the kingdom of heaven in order to prevent the precious gifts of the Holy Spirit from being compromised with childish foolishness, human failings and selfish ambitions. Paul did not write a new set of laws or imperatives that Christians must follow. He was illuminating the words of Jesus: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 3:35). Paul wrote his letters to the churches like he was peeling back an onion layer by layer to reveal the very nature of a kingdom heart. He showed us what it looks like at the very core of the heart. Paul was not saying, “you must” be productive he was tenderly saying, “you will” be like a well-watered tree naturally bearing fruit in season.
Paul wrote the Corinthians love chapter in a way that may be compared to observing ants in depth. If you only pass by and give them a glance, you will see what is on the surface — busy bugs. You have to go deeper. When I was in junior high school, I made my own ant farm in a glass jar from mom’s pantry and I was amazed at what these critters were doing underground. Their resourcefulness, organization and purposeful work surprised me. At that age I didn’t know it was Biblical to consider the ways of ants and be wise (Proverbs 6:6).
Hearts for the Kingdom is an ant-farm-in-a-jar kind of observation, revealing the depths of your new heart. We must look deeper than the smiling faces people see at a glance. Join me in considering the changed heart, so we may be wise. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). A kingdom heart is indeed a circumcision of the heart. It is a baptism that penetrates to the depths of our hearts, making our hearts a new creation in Christ to the very core.