The powerful heart
For about the last two weeks there has been a lot of contemplation and wonder over taking me. Many emotions and things occuring and not anything in particular to post. Then a summary of feelings and thoughts collided today for a post.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands. If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.
But, is it really the body part that caused the sin? No. It is the power of the heart. The heart can be so powerful it actually overpowers the mind. I am sure I am not the only one that has experienced the situation there you know in your mind a decision is not the best idea, but for some mystical reason, we do it anyway. This can be as wide a range as eating a handful of cookies over eating something healthy. What about the battles I have had when I knew I should not go out and party with some people, but where did I end up? Yep, the power of the desires of the heart is profound. How about when you have the desire for another person. I have been swayed into relationships more times than I can remember and many times when my mind told me it was not right.
Paul makes it clear in the famous section of Romans, that almost verges on psychotic.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
Now some say that it is the desires of the heart and the heart is the problem, but we must realize a couple of things that have been clearly pointed out to us, multiple times.
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. – Ephesians 3:17
What Paul is referring to is the Holy Spirit that we have in our heart. One of the most critical things we must realize is that our heart is not bad. It is the sin in our heart that is bad and that is what we have to continuously cast out. I can not word this any better than I read in a devotiional the other day from Ransomed Heart, so I will share it here:
God comes down to dwell in us, in our hearts. Now, we know this: God cannot dwell where there is evil. “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell” (Ps. 5:4). Something pretty dramatic must have happened in our hearts, then, to make them fit to be the dwelling place of a holy God.
Of course, none of this can happen for us until we give our lives back to God. We cannot know the joy or the life or the freedom of heart I’ve described here until we surrender our lives to Jesus and surrender them totally. Renouncing all the ways we have turned from God in our hearts, we forsake the idols we have worshiped and given our hearts over to. We turn, and give ourselves body, soul, and spirit back to God, asking him to cleanse our hearts and make them new.
Now as we are challenged with temptations, ideas and desires, we must not just react. We need to take the desires to the Lord for discernment. Is the action we are about to engage in from the Holy Spirit or our sinful nature. There are many times when just taking the idea to the Father has made it clear for myself lately. I admit I still eat too many sweets instead of the healthy food, but that is only because I am not taking that part of my life serious. I can claim victory of drugs and alcohol because of the Holy Spirit that lives in me. There are no longer the desires of the heart for those degrading habits I had. I know that the power that raised Christ from the dead, is the same power in me that I can use for a healthy life, as long as I am wise enough to tap into it.
May this brief collision of ideas find a way to make sense for you or maybe just give you another perspective to ponder…