THE LORD IS STILL LOOKING, as He was during the time of King David, for men and women after His own heart.1 This book is designed to be a spiritual and intellectual journey that will enable you to relate to yourself as a victorious warrior and leader. In other words, this book will strengthen your heart.
God wants you to have a strong heart. However, when the Bible speaks about “heart,” it is not the cardiopulmonary organ beating within your chest. Nor is it the whimsical Valentine’s Day heart on Hallmark cards. The heart in the Bible refers to the deeply rooted, ingrained, and habitual ways of thinking that shape your entire life. For this reason, having a “change of heart” is far superior to a mere “change of mind.” Thoughts and emotions are like tides of the sea— they ebb and flow, and they come and go. However, a “heart after God” is equatable to a mighty fortress in which the weary take refuge and shelter.
God is always more concerned with the person you are becoming than the things you are doing. And the person you are becoming will be either severely limited or abundantly blessed depending on your thoughts about God. The Bible says, “Although people look at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart.”2 This means that the most important fact about you is not what you do at a particular time (the outward appearance), but rather what, deep in the recesses of your mind, you conceive God to be like (the heart).
By the mysterious law of creation, you tend to move in the direction of your privately held mental image of the Creator. Being made in the image of God, every facet of who you are connects you to God, and every facet of who you are reflects God to those around you. It is imperative that these connections and reflections of God correspond as closely as possible to the true being and nature of God.
If history is evidence of human nature, then your actual ideas about God may very well be inconsistent with His true Being as recorded in His Word and revealed by His Son. For example, the Bible is full of descriptions of people who thought God was other than who He actually is.3 These people substituted for the true God an image based on their own misconception of Him.4 Only a brief and honest recollection of your life would demonstrate that it becomes increasingly difficult to think rightly about yourself when you are not thinking rightly about God, and relating correctly to Him.5
One of the fantastic archetypes of the Old Testament biblical record was that of the warrior. And in the New Testament account, the Apostle Paul did not arbitrarily settle on metaphors and illustrations of soldiering, armor, swords, racing, and leading when teaching his doctrine.6 These examples empower the reader to identify with the personal qualities of courage, determination, resilience, and unequivocal faith in God.
To cultivate a heart for God means that you think rightly about God, and that you think rightly about yourself. This book will empower you to see yourself as a warrior and a leader. Furthermore, this book will shape within your mind the idea that God is good, devoted to your spiritual advancement, and desirous of enabling you to lead yourself and others.
I pray that the ideas in the following pages will inspire you to be a good soldier and that you would fight well, finish the race, and keep the faith.7
— GREG AMUNDSON