For about a month now, this series of articles and videos has been considering what it means to be a “whole” person, as defined by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39 and Mark 12:30-31. For, as we noted in the introduction, we tend to be fragmented – spreading our eggs over several different baskets, just in case. That means we rarely give our whole self to anyone or anything. No wonder we rarely grow as a whole person, enjoy moments as a whole person, or invest ourselves in other relationships as a whole person. We give and receive mere pieces that can’t satisfy. And we need so much more.
So today we look at the first part of loving God: “…with all your heart”. If that sounds like superficial butterflies and rainbows, it’s not. Jesus was talking about emotional intelligence (EI), long before the phrase was popular. But He was also talking about the more crucial dynamic under EI: our hearts.
Depending on whom you reference, the mid-1960s to mid-80s witnessed the first articulation of a person’s emotional quotient (EQ) in contrast to their intelligence quotient (IQ). Your IQ is based on an aptitude to understand information and is allegedly set. Your EQ describes an aptitude to understand people and can be grown by 4 cumulative processes: self-awareness, self-management, awareness of others, and management of others (i.e., influence/leadership). Specifically, the process of EI is the awareness of underlying beliefs and values that fuels a person’s behavior. What the secular model does not address is the more fundamental drive that drives EI: who and what a person’s heart should value. Jesus is saying that foundational drive must be our passion for God. For what truly influences our behavior is not our beliefs about facts. It’s who or what we love deeply: the treasure of our heart.
EI is more significant than IQ for least two reasons: 1) a person’s emotions are a better predictor of their behavior than their IQ (the mere data they can understand), and 2) although we can’t see a person’s heart, we can see their emotions and deduce their implied beliefs influencing their behavior. For example, sadness implies belief that a loss has or will occur; anger implies injustice; fear implies threat; and joy implies benefit. Their belief may or may not be accurate, but their perception has elicited an emotion that will cue a related behavior. Sadness cues us to pause and look back; anger cues us to attack; fear cues us to avoid; and joy cues us to pursue. So, recognizing our emotions and others’ emotions can help us to discern perceptions and related actions, especially in relationships.
But…EI cannot even imply what a person’s heart is valuing as lost, violated, threatened, or enjoyed. Nor can EI tell us what they should value. It is descriptive of our inner processes but not prescriptive for our hearts. Only God can tell us what we should desire as “solid gold” and how to discern other things as merely gold-plated or even fool’s gold. Before watching the video, consider the following.
- Read Luke 6:45 and discuss the practical relevance of what we treasure.
- What 2 types of “heart” investments does Jesus describe in Matthew 6:19-21?
- How does He purify our heart for real “treasure”? (Proverbs 17:3, 1 Peter 1:6-7)
- Why does Jesus tell us to love God with all of our heart? (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)
You can see other articles and the embedded videos in this series here.