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Setting Your Heart

by Chariti Kupiec

Streams Staff 

One day while I was taking The Art of Hearing God, Daniel 10:12 grabbed me and wouldn’t let go:

Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. (NKJV)

That phrase “set your heart” just leaped out at me. Those three words. I kept thinking about what it means to set your heart on understanding and to humble yourself before God. 

This verse is filled with prophetic possibilities, but the most intriguing thing to me is how the setting of Daniel’s heart led to his being heard by God. An angelic visitation ensued—something I long for and repeatedly ask for. I want the supernatural ways of God to become more and more natural to me, and I consistently go before Him and ask for dreams, visions, and angelic visitations as other means of encountering Him.

I’ve come to realize Daniel 10:12 offers a big clue about the things of the Spirit and how they operate.

If we desire more of Him, if we deeply long for His Spirit to come and play with us, we need to commit to the setting of our hearts. 

What Does “Setting Our Hearts” Actually Mean?

The Hebrew word for “set” means to make, apply, appoint, commit, or charge. It’s an active verb—meaning the subject is doing the action (versus having it done to them). 

In other words, setting our hearts is an act of the mind and will—it doesn’t just passively happen. Setting our hearts means we choose to commit to knowing Him. 

What does this sacred decision look like on a daily basis? 

1. Setting Our Hearts Means Committing to God Our Full Exaltation and Worship

Exalt the Lord our God,  And worship at His footstool— He is holy. (Ps. 99:5)

Worship is reverent devotion to God expressed in many different ways. 

In the New Testament church, we often see it as prayer; praise; reading, studying, and teaching of the Word; and a manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. (Numerous examples can be found in Acts, 1 Corinthians, and James). 

Whatever the “activity” of worship, it is singularly focused to the only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and a tethering of our hearts to Him.  

The Need for Purity of Worship

Part of setting our hearts means staying pure in our devotion and worship. The human heart can so easily stray to the things of this world, leaning away from the Savior without realizing it. 

The Hayford Bible Handbook boldly states it this way:

Today believers must understand the vicious nature of idolatry and the potential bondage inherent in submission to the spirit of the world. Besides material objects such as houses, land, and cars, idols can be people, popular heroes, or those whom we love. Objects of worship can even include things like fame, reputation, hobbies, pride, and deeds done in the name of the Lord.

Yet even here, God graciously reveals the truth to us and allows space for repentance. 

His crazy love and grace enable our devotion to rise up from a place of great joy and adoration. He not only saves us—but He draws us back to Himself over and over. 

2. Setting Our Hearts Means Loving God and Other People

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

 (Matt. 22:36–40)

Love God, love others. 

Recently my husband and I started cultivating a good friendship with a couple we love, so we spend a lot of time with them. We don’t always go deep in conversation—actually, most of the time we’re just having fun, but we’re sowing into one another intentionally. 

Why? Because we understand that if we’re going to build the kind of relationship that is authentic, genuine, and intimate at the level where we can be transparent and encourage and challenge one another—it requires time. 

Building such a relationship with the Lord is similar because He’s the Creator of community. 

As we set our hearts on the Lord, I don’t believe we can ever leave off the second part about loving others because it’s such a reflection of our loving relationship with Him. Loving others is a natural byproduct of being loved by Him and loving Him in return. 

Love Is Familiar and Intimate

In Exodus 33 a pillar of cloud stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. He spoke to Moses “face to face as a man speaks to his friend” (v. 11), and finally in verse 18 Moses had one burning desire: 

Please, show me Your glory.

I don’t think any other point in Scripture captures so well the level of intimacy that’s possible with the Lord. That’s what I want with Him. When we set our hearts on the Lord, deeper intimacy with Him becomes our internal cry: “Yes, Lord! Come and be with me like that.”

Known and Being Known

But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him (1 Cor. 8:3). 

Loving God is a knowing and being known far beyond meeting with Him once or twice a week in a church service. Loving God is a personal relationship with Him that requires time. To get to know His heart, we need to spend time in the Word, prayer, worship, and fellowship with Him. 

It is true we love because He first loved us—but it’s also true that love is a choice that comes through action. 

Most of us are familiar with the description of love in 1 Corinthians, but have you ever sat down and really pondered 1 Peter 4:8–10? 

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Do you see the cycle? We really do love because He first loved us!

3. Setting Our Hearts Means Having a Desire for What He Desires

For me, one of the most profound stories in all Scripture occurs in 1 Kings 3 when God shows up in a dream and says to Solomon, “Ask! What shall I give you?” 

Solomon talks about his responsibility to steward God’s people and then makes his request in verse 9: 

Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?

Something happens when we want HIM more than His stuff. John Paul says in The Art of Hearing God:

A good growth experience is a flowing in our relationship with God, a deeper intimacy with Him; and the result will be that our spirit will be attuned to hear from Him.

The very thing we want is to hear from God! To hear from Him, we have to know Him. Simple sentence, profound meaning. The desire to really, intimately know who God is—His character, attributes, heart, and thoughts—becomes the burning drive of our hearts. 

And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. (1 Kings 4:29)

Heart in the original context means inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding. Desiring God literally changes those things inside us. That is the maturing and growth process at work—as we mature and grow in Him, we overcome our character flaws and open our “hearing ears” to hear Him even more. 

I am baffled by those who don’t believe in now-time miracles, because the result of setting our hearts is nothing short of miraculous. It requires an in filling of the Holy Spirit, something completely outside our control, but He is faithful when we ask Him to do that work in us. 

He creates, He calls us to Him, He saves, He calls us to Him more deeply, and then He enables us to say yes to that calling. 

He is good—and worthy of the setting of our hearts.

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