Thursday, April 14, 2011

follow your... heart?

Paternò - Burning heartphoto © 2011 Francesco Pappalardo | more info (via: Wylio)
Hunkering down (haha, that is such a funny phrase), I am still in the first chapter of James in my quiet time. [God's word is becoming even more captivating to me as I go deeper into these books of the Bible, so you're going to have to endure another post about James' writing.] ;)

Yesterday I looked at the difference between trials and temptation (for reference, turn to James 1:12-16). Trials seem to be defined as something outside of us, most cases its a situation that we encounter or get into. Temptation on the other hand is all self. It's when we are carried away (v.14) or lured away by our own lust. Lust, obviously, comes in all forms... the physical variety but also lust for control, for money, for recognition, etc.
I think what makes trials so tough is that usually we are weakened during those times: our pride was hit or our health has declined, etc. However, when we are focused on the trial and how it's effecting us, it's then that these lusts creep in and we more easily indulge in temptation. The problem with temptation is that it's sin and when sin is accomplished there is death (v.15, see above) - spiritual death, a "victory" for Satan if you will. It's so easy to be going through a trial and allow yourself to give in to temptation. We think we have rights or something. Like, I don't feel well right now so it's ok that I just mouthed off at my spouse/children. Um, no. Falling into the temptation of anger because you are going through the trial of illness (for example)... don't think so. We have allowed ourselves to be lured into the temptation to sin.

Cross referencing over to Proverbs 6:20-29, the writer is cautioning against the temptation of adultery. Verse 25 talks about not letting the desire get to your heart. Interesting... temptation being linked to the heart... But I thought some of those great mantras in life say that we are supposed to "go with what your heart tells you" or "follow your heart." What I'm reading instead is that the heart is where it can go all downhill? The heart is where temptations are rooted? Here are a few more references to the heart...
Matthew 15:18 "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders." (emphasis mine)

Genesis 8:21 "... the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth ; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done." (emphasis mine)

All through Exodus (start in ch. 7), we read that the "Pharoh's heart was hardened" - therefore he didn't listen to God (via Moses).
The first commandment is to have no other gods besides God. And how are we to do that... Dueteronmy 6:5 says, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might" (emphasis mine). Guard your heart. For out of it has the ability to flow love for God or the power to lead you astray.

What do you think? Have you thought about how much "power" your heart has? Looking back at a temptation you've given into, were you following your heart (i.e. an emotion or a self-justification for a "right" that should be yours)?

Before you follow your heart, make sure you heart is lined up with the source of truth.

1 comment:

Courtney K. said...

One thing that I've had to learn to remember, is that we can't trust our hearts [Jeremiah 17:9] and that we have to control our MINDS. Have you read Joyce Meyer's Battlefield of the Mind? I haven't read the book yet, but I've been watching sermon excerpts based on it and it is POWERFUL. Love the book of James. It's gotten me through some tough times.