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Heart Faith vs. Head Faith: Head Faith Alone Won’t Do

November 22, 2014

The following contains excerpts from Accelerated Transformation: Maturity, Intimacy, and Unity through Emotional Healing, by Tracey Nelson, M.Ed.

Belief-in-an-Angry-God-Now-Linked-to-Mental-IllnessWe cannot live a life of faith, boldness, and conviction if our image of God is terrifying. Not if our heart competes with the head knowledge we’ve gained about our loving Father. Also, if we relate to God from the standpoint of a worm rather than a son or daughter of the King of the Universe, we cannot raise our faith to a level which allows us to believe that He actually desires to give us an abundant life let alone trust that He will back us up when we pray for something as miraculous as a healing. That is much too hard to do.

No, we must first come into possession of two forms of knowledge or faith to do that; head knowledge/faith and heart knowledge/faith. I group knowledge and faith together because we don’t usually trust without knowledge. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

Have you ever wondered why your prayers did not seem to get through? That is likely because you only have head knowledge or faith; knowledge/faith that hasn’t dropped down into your heart yet. It is in the heart where faith comes alive, as follows, “…for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9).

Sure there are times when our prayers get through with head faith. But to get to that level we must know the Truth in both our minds and hearts; the Truth pertaining to, most especially, the knowledge of who God is and who we are in relationship to Him. That is the only way we will be able to have the “heart faith” to fully tap into His loving provision and healing for our lives and others.

royal blue throneBut what if we have a past full of fear and anxiety that makes us see our Heavenly Father through the eyes of fear and doubt? How can we rise up into our position of authority as royal sons and daughters in the Kingdom of God in our present condition?

We can’t… not without help.

That is why God sent us His ministers to minister to the Church “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13). But we also need the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts through various experiences as we walk out our faith and knowledge of God’s Word. Ministers tend to be those with more experience walking their faith out. That is why they can help us so much.

Faith comes through faith-based experiences with His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. That is how this teaching came to me. I had lots of head knowledge for years, but things really took off for me when it moved to my heart. People learn best by experience. David Kolb (1984) the father of Experiential Learning Theory stated that “Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” (p. 38). That transformation happens in the heart.

heart vs. headThankfully, scientists have discovered that the heart isn’t just a blood pump. Its neural structures are like the brain’s. They also have the ability to think. Consequently, the heart is now referred to as a “mini-brain.”[1] (Once again, science is catching up with the Bible.)

According to brain scientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, it’s function is to check for congruence. [2] This makes total sense to me because when we are betrayed by those we have trusted or have cared about, what part of our body feels the pain? Our hearts! So which part of us is going to harden up and become less trusting over time after it has experienced significant hurt? Of course, it is our heart.

Balance Heart And MindWhen it comes time to trust God or have faith in Him, whether that be during our initial salvation experience or it is our 100th time praying the prayer of faith, our heart is going to check for congruence between what we are seeking to accomplish through prayer and our ability to trust God for it. If the heart has been significantly shamed and wounded, our prayer may not manifest to our liking because we are tossed to and fro by doubt. As we learn in James 1, we are “double minded;” tossed between the heart and the head. We know we believe the Bible and others’ testimonies when they speak of God answering prayer, but we know it in our mind. We haven’t walked it out in experience yet. Experience is required to get it into the heart; that, and healing. You see, we are like those people who have been burned by former lovers that, like them, we will eventually live our lives in fear of being betrayed. So unless our hearts are healed, we won’t be able to trust God. That is why the Lord had me write my book and this blog. To show you the way to healing your heart (more on that in a minute). It isnt’ an easy thing to do. Some people spend decades on the psychiatrist’s couch or in church tragically to no avail.

IT STARTS WITH OUR CONCEPT OF GOD

So let’s start with our concept of God. A recent study showed that belief in a punitive God was significantly associated with an increase in psychiatric symptoms such as social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion. [3] On the other hand, belief in a benevolent God was associated with a reduction in those symptoms. [4]

Sure, we may go to church or read the Bible and get the idea that God’s intentions are benevolent, that He desires good things for us. But that is just “head knowledge.” For one reason or the other, though, our hearts are definitely not convinced.

Often, our concept of God comes from our experiences with our earthly fathers and other authority figures. But we can also have difficulty trusting because of our deeply wounded hearts.  Typically painful experiences with shame leave our hearts bruised, anxious, and fearful. Of course, if we are confused about who God is to begin with or that His intentions for us are good, then that must get straightened out first. But if we want the knowledge we have about God and our new identities in Christ to get from our heads down into our hearts, our hearts must be completely healed. This is how God accelerates our transformation into His image. Once healed, we will finally be able us to walk in victory as His royal sons of daughters to become true leaders in the Kingdom of God.

BEING TRANSFORMED INTO CHRIST’S IMAGE

your_royal_calling

Humanity was originally created in God’s Image (see Genesis 1:27-28). Being raised by imperfect humans with the stain of sin upon us all, we lost connection to who we were. It was as if Satan kidnapped a prince or princess and put them into slavery far from any knowledge of their royal parents or true identity. It was at that point that humanity began acting like abused slaves, like the worms I spoke of earlier; survival of the fittest is the motto of many a human worm, “every man for himself!” How does one come out from that sort of narcissistic thinking?

It is only when our hearts are finally able to capture a vision of ourselves from the standpoint of His Love for us as royal princes and princesses that we are healed and forever changed. God came in the form of Jesus to rescue us; to be our example of how sons and daughters living in a fallen world could be. That is why we must daily behold the glory of who Jesus is as if we were looking in a mirror at ourselves to finally understand what all of that truly means (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).

bride-of-christ2

Unfortunately, this concept of seeing ourselves through the eyes of God’s Love may be so foreign to our wounded hearts and clouded minds that it becomes a battle for us to walk into who we really are as God’s children and Christ’s bride. This is what it means to face spiritual warfare.

The Body of Christ

The Body of Christ

Our enemy knows the danger he faces if we are finally able to move beyond our wounds. If we are able to join our heads with our hearts and fully integrate this understanding into our thinking, acting, and feeling, we will walk in the authority of Christ and join Him in destroying the works of the devil. This is the point at which we function individually as the Body of Christ on earth; walking in our identity and in the faith to do the “greater works” of Christ (see John 14:12). But this can’t happen until our hearts are able to catch up with our heads.

Over the last few decades, the Church has been pretty helpful with our process of transformation by teaching us mind-renewal techniques. This usually transpires through a program of Scripture memorization and by writing on one side of a 3×5 inch index card the lies we believed then putting the truth to counteract the lie on the front side. When we put these cards on our mirrors or refrigerators, we will remind ourselves by saying something like, “I renounce the lie that says….” then “I profess the truth over this situation. I believe what God’s word says about this situation which is…” We would do this until the truth eventually became a part of our thinking. But one thing the Church didn’t teach us was how to get this knowledge from our heads into our hearts.

What is the remedy? For one, experience through greater intimacy with God via the Holy Spirit. This has an incredible ability to heal our broken hearts. Jesus told us to make sure we take time out to “abide in the Vine” (John 15:4-5). Of course He is the Vine being spoken of. We are also told to “Be still and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10). But there are several other things required to heal our hearts in an accelerated time frame that I can share with you in my book (see below).

Unfortunately, this information is not readily available in the Church today. Up until I discovered the solution; I, myself, had struggled to make this connection between the head and the heart despite spending 27 years in the Church. Healing is most assuredly required (see Isaiah 61 and Luke 4:18). However, understanding how to make that happen is difficult to get across without some considerable time spent teaching you. That is why I wrote a book. There is only one of me to go around. Though I do offer coaching services and will come do a training weekend with your group to help out if desired. But the book will go a long way to getting you to your healing. As a matter of fact, what I have learned will get you there in a very short amount of time. You see, once Christians are healed, their transformation into Christ’s likeness is accelerated and they are quickly able to utilize the supernatural provision of God to grow into greater maturity, holiness, and power.

Nelson_Transformation_R3-2HOW MY BOOK CAN HELP

I wrote, Accelerated Transformation, to give you, the reader, practical steps and tools as well as cutting edge knowledge to do just that; accelerate your transformation. This occurs through the biblical means of mind renewal, stated above, and I do encourage Scripture memorization. But to get that knowledge into the heart, your relational past and difficult experiences must be explored so you can heal your memories. You are a new creation in Christ, but your memories must catch up to that fact. Your slave or worm mentality must be transformed.

I included two audio recordings for you to download for free once you purchase the book. Each is about an hour long. More on those in a moment. I also added healing worksheets and exercises in the appendix to facilitate your progress as well as adding questions to the end of each chapter to help the new information you are learning to “stick.”

The audio by Graham Cook is set to the piano music of Steve Swanson. In it, Graham speaks many profound truths of God about you in an effort raise you to your royal identity and destiny as a child of God. I felt the Lord wanted me to include this with my book because I experienced benefit from it as these truths are quite transformative in nature and the delivery is special. With Cook’s beautiful British accent and the music in the background this recording has the same capacity that all the arts have; to get past the guard (the lies) we place over our hearts (to protect them from further hurt). Due to the resistance of the heart receive love, to trust, and have faith, the arts are able to create a pathway for truth to slip in unnoticed.

The other audio is a healing prayer session with me leading the prayer. It is also set to music. This new form of prayer leads the person being prayed over to position him or herself to receive a healing touch directly from God to his or her heart.

To purchase this book and get your audio downloads along with everything else, please go to http://www.thespotlessbride.com/#!goals

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Sources:

1) Leaf, C. Who Switched Off My Brain? Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions. Rivonia, South Africa: Switch on Your Brain, 2007.

2) Ibid.

3) Silton NR, Flannelly KJ, Galek K, Ellison CG. “Beliefs About God and Mental Health Among American Adults.” J Relig Health. 2013 Apr 10.

4) Ibid.

 

REFERENCES

Kolb, D. Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1984.

© Tracey Nelson, M.Ed.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by The Spotless Bride Ministries.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Tracey Nelson, M.Ed., author Accelerated Transformation , © Oct. 21, 2014 Website: The Spotless Bride Blog; (Some images, songs, & videos not owned by author).

*Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is meant to serve as medical advice. If you feel you are suffering from a mental illness, you need to seek the counsel of a certified mental health worker. The author is simply a pastoral counselor with Master’s degrees in adult education and conflict negotiation and mediation.

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