With All Your Heart: Orienting Your Mind, Desires and Will toward Christ, by A. Craig Troxel. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020, 220 pages, $13.39, paper.
Every redeemed saint aspires to love God with all his heart—nothing is more precious to him than cultivating a heart for God. But what is the heart? Like so many frequently used words, it can be spoken without much thought. For many, loving from the heart is to have strong feelings for someone else—like a romantic attachment or friendship. At best this is an incomplete understanding and will not satisfy the Christian.
For readers who long for a deeper understanding of the heart, Craig Troxel’s With All Your Heart will prove valuable. With the skill of a mature physician of the soul, he explores what God’s Word reveals about the human heart. This is no small task. Formulating a definition of heart taxes the intellect. After all, the various Old and New Testament words for it appear nearly 1,000 times (17). So, the author surveys biblical vocabulary and usage, and concludes that the heart is
the governing center of the person. When used simply, it reflects the unity of our inner being, and when used comprehensively, it describes the complexity of our inner being—as composed of mind (what we know), desires (what we love), and will (what we choose). (21)
The hero of this book, if I may use that term, is the Lord Jesus Christ as he executes his offices of prophet, priest, and king. The author demonstrates that as a prophet, Jesus teaches and assures sinful minds; as a priest, he redeems and renews iniquitous hearts; and as a king, he subdues and strengthens rebellious wills (22).
Although mind, desires, and will can be distinguished, they can never be separated. They are interrelated aspects of the human heart and together provide the inner direction of a man (47). This threefold “unity of the inner self”’ furnishes the structure of the book: the heart knowing, the heart loving, and the heart choosing become the headings of the book’s first three sections.