Potpourri -- "If Our Hearts Fail Us"

My good friend and cousin Robert wrote this in his Myspace blog -- you can find it here -- and I asked him about reprinting it here. It did my heart good to read it.


"Several places in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, it says that God looks on the heart. Jesus even says "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." He also taught that we have to keep the law in our hearts. Examples: He said that if you are angry at your brother without cause, then it is sin; also if you look at a woman to lust after her, you have committed adultery with her in your heart.

This worried me in the past, especially when I was a teenager because I had desires that weren't spiritual, they were fleshly (I still struggle at times with lust and pride (among other things)). I took this to mean that sin was in my heart. I also thought that your actions were less important than your intentions. This was especially worrisome because I've always found my actions alot easier to control and direct than the thoughts of my mind or the attitude/desires/feelings (whatever you want to call it) of my heart. I know through prayer the Holy Spirit can create in me a pure and clean heart but with my stubborness and prided it is a long process.

Here is the most wonderful verse you may have never heard of, it's in 1 John (not St. John) 3:18-20:

"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things."

Now getting back to what Jesus said about keeping the law in our hearts. I believe he said this to show that actions (works) aren't enough. That none of us can keep the intent of the law completely (we know that all the law rests on 1) love God with all your heart, mind, and spirit, and 2) love your neighbor as yourself). So, that means that none of us our good enough and all of us need a savior. Okay, that being said...

To me it all boils down to faith. With faith being a little part belief (a little but important part) and a big part action and trust. I say a little part belief because the Bible says that even Satan believes in God but does that mean that he's saved? Now don't get me wrong, we are saved by faith, not by works, but James said to show me your faith without works and I'll show you my faith by my works.

Let me give an example of what I'm trying to get at. Say I have an upcoming church related duty or event (or anything else that involves working for the Lord) but I really don't want to do it. In the past I would have said that I might as well not do it because in my heart I don't want to (my heart's not in it) and God looks on the heart. Today, however, I say to go ahead and do it because then I am working for God inspite of my desires. There is something greater than my heart at work here (refer back to 1 John 3). There is a decision that is born of faith. Maybe all this is just what Paul was talking about when he was discussing the war between the carnal (fleshly) man and the spritual man. Maybe it shows that my heart's true desire is to do God's will and work regardless of what I want.

Your actions show what your heart's desire really is."

Good stuff, huh? Anyone care to share their thoughts on the topic?