The Mind Cannot Change The Heart

Thursday, March 6, 2008 | Labels: | |

The modern Christian develops for himself the solutions to his own inadequacies. A man who struggles with lust or addiction will follow a twelve step program and seek to avoid any temptations that may lie in front of him. A man who struggles with greed will force himself away from work to spend time with his children. "Ultimately," the modern man will tell himself "avoidance of the thing I struggle with and the changing of my behavior will make me a better man."

The modern man deludes himself. Within his own mind he creates an image of himself and his own sins that need worked on. A checklist of the primary struggles he endures. He tells God, "These are the issues that I fail you in, and these are the issues that I must work on." Once he is done telling God what he must work on, he then moves to change his behavior to fall within the laws of God. "God, if only you could help me not do or think such-and-such, then I could fall within your laws and be good in your eyes." When he does this the power of God in his life is immediately limited.

There are two principle ideas the modern Christian rejects. Firstly, the he rejects the true nature of the evil that lies within his heart. In concluding that he is pure in certain areas of his own life, he has contradicted the truth of his own heart. Moral contentment is dangerous to the Christian heart, it removes the diligence that comes with maintaining purity. Once a man has accepted they have become pure in one particular area of their being, then a vacancy is left for the devil to occupy. No man has met the standards of purity in any aspect of their lives, yet, salvation is gifted to them none-the-less. This is the gift Christ has given, but it should not be manipulated by the mind of the man so that he can delude himself into thinking there is no more work to be done.

Secondly, he has rejected the power of God to change his heart. The man creates for himself a prescriptive solution to the impurities of his own heart. He struggles with lustful temptation, so he fights it by avoiding that temptation. He prays for his behavior to change. However, the temptation is still in his heart. Whilst one will realize that avoidance is necessary, the man also avoided God's purpose in that temptation. Christ deals with the heart, not the forced change of behavior. If man is forcing himself to avoid temptation, then he has not yet fully embraced the saving grace of God into his heart.

Let us make this as clear as possible. Moral behavior does not beget a moral heart. You may want to read that again. The Christian should not fail to understand this completely. Christ wants man to bring him into each and every temptation not to change their behavior, but to change their hearts. Christ wants man to see what he is without God, and desire to bring him into it. Each temptation is a reminder of the evil within our own hearts, and that evil within our hearts can only be conquered by the master of the heart. Evil behavior is only an after-effect of that which a man allows into their heart. This is why it is essential for the modern day Christian to spend time in meditation with the lord, and keep his mind on what is holy. For all other hours of the day, the world is having its impact on the heart, but it is only in worship that we give ours to God.

Once God has been given our hearts completely, and his transforming power is allowed into our hearts at every opportunity of temptation, the true transformation of behavior will begin. The solutions we create in our minds, my friends, cannot change the heart, only Christ can.

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45

Craig Chamberlin