Fulfilling the Mandate through the Journey of Heart Mapping

God wants us to have a whole heart

God wants us to have a whole heart

If you don’t have a whole heart, how can you obey the mandate to seek God wholeheartedly? The answer is, you can’t.

That’s why when I spend time talking about Heart Mapping, what I’m really talking about is Jesus laying out His agenda for healing your heart.

Jesus wants to source your obedience to this mandate to love God and to love people. He is after that relentlessly. It is the thing that connects us to Him and connects us to each other. Or to put it this way, a whole heart and a functioning heart is a prize to God. He loves wholeheartedness, but I want to tell you something. It’s good for you too. It’s a good thing when your whole heart is working. It’s enjoyable to have a fuller and fuller range of emotion

My friend, Henry, is 8 years old now, but he was born with about 50% or 60% of his heart. There were pieces missing. And so his doctors made a plan to build a heart that would work. The problem is, they couldn’t turn the thing on all the way because his little body couldn’t handle it. So, for the first 6 years of his life they keep the heart function slowed down, and if you watched Henry he was a pretty smart kid, he functioned, he got around, he did everything he was doing, but he was always a little tired. But there came a day when they turned it on fully and he has been at 110% ever since, and that’s on his slow days. On his fast days he is like 150%, 170%. He never slows down!

That’s what happens in our spirit life when God resources a wholeheartedness. It will bring an energy, and a resource, and a joy, and a delight, and a surprise to your experience, and yet for most of us we’re not even familiar with the process.

We need to get introduced to Jesus, this heart doctor guy, who understands how it works, who is trustworthy, who can get in there and do the work; who not only can heal you but he can train you to help others and begin to bring resources to others’ lives so that we can actually, in real-time, experience what God intended for his people to experience. He has always intended for us to have an experience of loving Him and loving one another. This always was His intent.

Committing to a Whole Heart: Prepping for Surgery

Master and Commander (2003)

Master and Commander (2003)

There is a compelling movie, with many compelling images, called Master and Commander (2003). There’s this scene where the surgeon of a ship gets shot and he takes a bullet right in the abdomen, right below the ribs. He is getting sicker and sicker and the only other person on the ship who knows anything about medicine is incompetent. So, he gets to the critical place where he is going to die if they don’t get the bullet out. So you know what he does? He makes himself the patient. He puts a mirror up and he has some assistance, but he does surgery on himself. He actually cuts his own abdomen open, reaches in with the forceps, and pulls out the bullet and does surgery on himself.

If you want to live the mandate of God, and you’re serious about it, there are going to be times when there are things inside of you which are limiting your obedience. It’s not that you lack understanding of what God wants to do. It’s that the inner resources of your life for one reason or another are limited, and God is going to have to open up those places and work on them and you will have to participate. He might put you under light anesthesia, but you’re going to be amazed at just how much you learn and there’s a reason why.

Because, it’s not just about you. Because, there comes a point in the journey when after you’ve been under the care of the master cardiologist, and He wants you to begin to partner and help other people with their broken hearts and so that is the process of becoming wholehearted because the Scripture says if you seek me with your whole heart, you’ll find me.

Well, what happens if your heart is broken and a piece of it is not working or it got lost somewhere? Or you gave your heart to something and someone stole a piece of you and you never got it back? What happens if somehow there is a fracture in your inner heart and pieces that were supposed to be connected got disconnected and it’s not working?

How can you obey the mandate to seek God wholeheartedly if you don’t have a whole heart?

The First Sermon Jesus Preached: Jesus the Heart-Surgeon

Jesus heals all including the brokenhearted

Jesus heals all including the brokenhearted

When Jesus goes to preach His first sermon, He opens up the Scripture and it’s about Him. He reads from Isaiah 61, which says:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, / because the Lord has anointed me / to proclaim good news to the poor. / He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, / to proclaim freedom for the captives / and release from darkness for the prisoners…

What’s in that first “He has sent me” statement about the good news? It’s to bind up the brokenhearted. Because in Jesus definition of the good news, it meant that God was going to source your obedience to His mandate. He is going to get inside of the process, and He is going to source your obedience to His mandate.

In other words, you’re not like Abraham Lincoln, who was left pretty much by himself to figure it out.

Jesus could say, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)

God is going to actively enter into the process and source your obedience to His mandate from the inside out. Jesus said He was going to bind up the brokenhearted.

This is how my inner conversation goes: I am now a student of cardiology. I’m a student of cardiology, and as I become a student of cardiology, guess who is the primary patient? Me. Now, so I’m both an understudy, but I’m also the patient. So as we are learning this fine art of Jesus binding up the brokenhearted, as we are learning the mystery of Him uniting my heart to fear His name and to do all these wonderful heart things, to write His law. I’m the patient, I’m the understudy. I am watching Him and participating with Him as He does surgery on me.


How to Finish Well

King David 3

In spite of his failures, David remained a wholehearted lover of God

The heart journey, heart surgery, and heart mapping

When I get to the end of my life I want to be able to say, “God, at least I tried to follow your mandate for my life. At least I was on that track. At least I was beginning to say, if this is what I’m supposed to be about, then I probably shouldn’t be doing this.”

There starts to become a mechanism in my life for living by God’s two-part mandate. As we do that, as we really begin to embrace that–and I think most of us start with the source material–pretty soon we start in on this heart journey.

Something begins to happen in your heart. God begins to address the limitations inside. It’s not just a cognitive lesson in your brain. There’s something going on in the inside, and you enter into a whole new study of what it means to obey and to experience what God really wants.

That’s what the heart journey, heart surgery, and heart mapping is all about.

David’s Heart Work

King David 2

What made David such a wholehearted lover of God?

The unfinished work for most of us: Finding the resource in our heart to love God first and wholeheartedly

David was the exact opposite of most of us. Most of us have a fairly good handle on the written source material. You can quote the external source material. You can see the legal arguments for obeying God, but the heart work, the interior compass is really the unfinished work for most of us.

David’s life, his passion, and even God’s desire to be with David, are a tremendous encouragement for us to take a really hard look at what it means to be about the things that are important to God.

  • “Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:10
  • “Help me to number my days that I may present to you a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 39:4

David’s Example: A true lover of God

King David was a worshiper and lover of God

King David was a worshiper and lover of God

“But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” (1 Samuel 13:14)

If we look at the Old Testament, this is a fascinating observation: God picked one man in the Old Testament that symbolized what he wanted in someone, if you will, who fulfilled the mandate to be a lover.

His name was David, the consummate lover of the Old Testament.

Over, and over, and over, in all of the prophets, and the Psalms, and in David’s writings themselves, and then again in the New Testament, David is exalted as this man after God’s own heart.

And if you look at David’s life, he had this mandate to be a lover and the way he expressed it in his life was so intuitive. He did things that other people didn’t do.

The problem was, some of the times he didn’t look at the other source material. David was such a heart guy he forgot there was other source material and it got him in trouble. People died because he didn’t follow the written source material.

In spite of all of that, God never seemed to lose his fascination with David. Why? Because there was a heart connection between God and David. Somewhere in David’s journey his heart began to be activated in a way that connected him with God.


The Heart Mandate

heart nebula

The famous “Heart Nebula”

Like Abraham Lincoln, we need two sources–the written and the internal. This may sound “new,” but it’s actually as old as Moses, David, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other Old Testament prophets.

In Deuteronomy, Moses preaches his last sermon. In it, he exhorts God’s people to keep God’s commandments “in your heart” (6:6). He’s speaking of a connection between the inner source material and the outer (legal) source material.

We have to have both sources, not just one. Yet how often we  forget the second source. In Scripture, however, God repeatedly points to both. In fact, He makes a big deal about the condition of our heart, where His Spirit can instruct and lead us.

This reality gets even more emphatic in Jeremiah 31:31-34 when the prophet describes the New Covenant. He describes the work of Jesus by saying that God is going to do something to resource this mandate. It’s something new. This is what it is, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.”

We see this yet again in Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26, which says, “I will take out their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”

Our heart mandate brings the two sources together. It’s how God designed us to operate. We have the written source material. And we have an interior resourcing. Both are promised and prophesied in the Old Testament prophets.

Other verses to read and ponder:

  • 1 Samuel 13:14 (about David)
  • Mark 12:30 (by Jesus)
  • Ephesians 3:17 (by Paul)

Taking Up Our Mandate from Our Written Source, the Bible


The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible.

The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible.

Like Abraham Lincoln, we have a twofold mandate and two source materials.

First, we have a mission mandate based on our written source material, the Bible. Second, we have a motive mandate based on our heart source material, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

If we go into the Scriptures, our source document, how do we pull out our mandate? Does the Bible tell us what our job is?

In order to justify our life’s journey, like Lincoln, we need to look for a mandate to stand behind us and anchor everything we do. Thankfully, the Bible presents an amazingly consistent pattern for our two-part mandate.

10 Scriptures: A biblical pattern of the two-part mandate

1. Mark 12:28-34, The most important commandment

2. Matthew 28:16-20, The Great Commission

3. Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Loving God is not a solo issue. It always has two parts.

4. Exodus 20, Four commandments on loving God, six on loving your brother

5. Psalms 16:1-3, The Psalmist links the two-part mandate

6. Book of Hosea, Loves God and obeys him by loving his people in a dramatic way

7. John 15:9-17, Jesus’ final discourse to his disciples…to love God and love others

8. 1 Corinthians 13, Paul talks to the church “if I don’t have love I am nothing”

9. Ephesians 3:14-21, Established in love (one of my favorite passages of Scripture)

10. Revelation 2:1-7, Church of Ephesus did one part of mandate but not the other

Our Dual Mandate: Lovers of God, Lovers of People

The Nash Papyrus (2nd century BC) contains the Ten Commandments and the Shema Yisrael prayer quoted by Jesus.

The Nash Papyrus (2nd century BC) contains the Ten Commandments and the Shema Yisrael prayer quoted by Jesus.

Imagine you were to ask Jesus to follow the pattern of Abe Lincoln and say, “What’s your mandate? Why do you do what you do?”

Do you want to know what he is going to say to you?

We find the answer in Mark’s Gospel, chapter 12. One of the teachers of the law walks up and hears some hotshots debating with Jesus. Noticing that Jesus has given them a good answer, he asks him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31 NIV)

Listen again to what Jesus says about his dual mandate: “Because I’m a lover of God, and I’m a lover of people. If you look behind the curtain in my life, that’s what you’re going to find. That’s the engine that fuels what I do, and if you want to know how I am going to get where I need to go, I’m going to get there because I’m a lover of God and a lover of people.”

Now I thought, maybe we should just check that out and see if that mandate holds up in our source documents. Jesus pulled his response out of the source documents. He didn’t make that up. He went in, pulled it out, and set it in front of this man who was actually a type of lawyer who asked him the question. He pulled it from their law, in Deuteronomy 6, “The Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. These commandments I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road.”

So there, in Deuteronomy 6, the context again is that loving God has to do with whom? You’re loving God, and who are you sharing that with? The children. So, there is always this context of the people around you. Loving God was never a solo issue. It was always two parts. Loving God and loving people. They’re inseparable: a two-part mandate.”

Like Lincoln, we have a twofold mandate and two source materials. As we continue, it might be helpful to think of it this way. First, we have a mission mandate based on our written source material, the Bible. Second, we have a motive mandate based on our heart source material, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

What’s Your Mandate?

An American family Bible dating to 1859.

An American family Bible dating to 1859.

I love Abraham Lincoln. I love the fact that he had a clear mandate that guided everything he said and did. His mandate was twofold. One was to preserve the nation, and one was to end slavery. Lincoln had two sources for guiding his decision making. One was the law and the constitution, and the other was something profound in his heart. We have a mandate and ours is twofold as well. This is a surprising parallel because our mandate is in Mark chapter 12 from the mouth of Jesus, and the guy talking with him was a lawyer. The guy didn’t say, “Give me your mandate.” Instead, he said to Jesus, “What is the most important of all the commandments?” Jesus’ answer went straight to the law, and then straight to the heart.