Because our ministry is centered around the changes that take place in the heart, it is prudent that from time to time I post about the critical nature of heart change that leads to life change.
If you are a long time or frequent reader of the blog, this weeks series will not be new or news to you. What I suggest if that is the case is that you forward the link to a friend who needs to hear the message of the sufficiency of Scripture to address the problems of life.
And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness."All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man." Mark 7:20-23
“Sin and corruption would bubble out of my heart as naturally as water bubbles out of a fountain.” –John Bunyan—
John Bunyan was not suffering from some sort of mental disorder or from low self-esteem when he wrote this, he was clearly declaring the condition of his heart. He had a very different picture of the heart of man than people do today. Even Christians are being deceived by psychologized teaching that says that man has a "good heart" and 77% of American evangelical Christians believe man is “good natured.”
Sin is out of style and mental disorders are in style. The theology of the heart has been replaced by a non-biblical psychology with an emphasis on feelings and self-worth. The word psychology means the study of the human soul and yet the psychological models rest on subjectivity or how a person feels!
The result of the emphasis switching from the biblical or moral model to a psycholgized model has meant that many believe that they are no longer sinners needing a savior, but victims who are not responsible for their sin. They have a "sickness" that requires treatment which is therapy of some kind or a medication that is intended to make them feel better- a sickness which they can never be rid of. This is tragic as so many people are misled into believing they have a "chemical imbalance" or are "manic depressive" or have some other so called mental illness. This completely steals hope and resigns a person to a lifetime of dependence on medications and therapists.
The truth is leaking out there thanks to organizations like National Association of Biblical Counselors and Association of Biblical Counselors and International Association of Biblical Counselors, but our voices are not nearly as loud as those who would like to convince people that physchology is the answer. Our desire at our counseling center and the purpose of this blog each day are to keep in your face and in mind the truth- that our greatest need is Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers and to understand that sin is really the problem we face.
Sin begins in the heart (Jer. 17:9) and is revealed this way:
"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Mark 7:21-23
This is why guarding the heart is so crucial for us.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7a (NKJV)
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 (NASB)
This is why you must guard your heart with with all diligence-because all of life is tied up in the heart. What we find is that scripturally, heart means mind. If your mind is saturated with bitterness, anger, negativity, self-pity and self-centeredness what will your life display? If as you think in your heart (bitterness, anger, self-pity) you are, then thinking these thoughts will result in living your life displaying bitterness, anger, and self-pity.
Conversely, if your mind is turned toward God, seeking Him and His glory what will your life display? Christians are always presented with a choice- we can seek to glorify ourselves and insist on our desires or we can live to glorify God and insist on His desires.
If your motives are to trust Him and His sovereignty, His glory, leading others to Christ, practicing our faith, then there will be corresponding evidence in your life.
(I wish to credit my friend and co-laborer Bruce Roeder for the outline that this series comes from.)