The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to the Human Experience by Jeremy Pierre (New Growth Press, 2016, $19.99)

The human heart is complex, and each of our responses to life circumstances indicate a deeper spiritual condition, writes Jeremy Pierre, SBTS associate professor of biblical counseling, in his new book The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life. The book was written for pastors, counselors, and anyone hoping to help others develop a spiritual awareness and sober self-reflection. 

“Intuitive responses are the active emanations of a dynamic hearts,” Pierre writes. “The seemingly automatic responses that characterize people’s daily experience flow from the dynamic functions of the heart. As people grow in self-awareness, they begin to understand how their beliefs, desires, and commitments result in their knee-jerk responses to life.” 

Pierre, who has taught biblical counseling classes and himself has years of counseling experience, depicts the human heart as functionally three-dimensional — equally cognitive, volitional, and affective. Human beings, created in the image of God, have hearts that are interrelatedly thinking, desiring, and willing, writes Pierre, and good counseling addresses each of these aspects. 

“God designed the heart’s functions for worship: he wants people to respond to him with the complex beauty that reflects his own,” Pierre writes. “Dynamic hearts worship God in daily life — in the way they think, the things they want, the choices they make. When people use those aspects of their heart in a way that reflects God’s character, they are worshipping.” 

The heart is not only dynamic in its functional expressions, but also in its relationships — to circumstances, others, self, and ultimately, God. Each of these four relationship types are relevant to any issue felt and experienced in life, rooted fundamentally in a God-given impulse toward worship. Good counselors must ask thoughtful questions and tune into their counselees’ relationships.

These two categories for heart dynamics — the three facets of heart expressions and the four trajectories of heart relationships — form a grid every counselor must be aware of when trying to read someone’s heart. It also provides a framework for healthy self-reflection. 

“A good counselor will listen to where people go, how they interpret the events that surround them, what they emphasize as important, what they fail to mention, and where they are most emotionally tender. In all their talk, a counselor is looking for clues as to how their heart is responding in context,” Pierre writes. “And so, questions ought to come from a theological framework for human experience as counselors listen to how counselees’ hearts are responding cognitively, affectively, and volitionally to the various contexts around them — to God, to self, to others, and to circumstances.”