Wednesday, September 11, 2019

When God’s Love Wins Our Hearts

One of Satan’s greatest attacks on our relationship with God is to flood our minds with lies about Father’s love for us.[1] If we believe Father couldn’t possibly love us, our whole being will live as though it were true.

As I have become a student of the difference between the outer-roles church folk play and the real condition of their souls, one summary has stood out above all others: many of God’s children believe they are worthless and that there is no hope of that ever changing.

However, since most disciples of Jesus understand that the message of God’s love in his Book opposes the wrong belief about God’s love that rules their lives, why aren’t more professing Christians walking in the enjoyment of their heavenly Father’s love?

The answer is that we are not attaching to God’s love in our hearts.

The following diagram illustrates the way that our humanity is a fellowship of body, soul and spirit. Our physical body enables our soul to relate to the material world, and our spiritual body enables our soul to relate to the spiritual world. As believers in Jesus Christ, our whole humanity is now alive towards God.[2]

 Our soul contains our mind, heart and will just as our physical bodies contain our brains, hearts and flesh.  

As illustrated, the brain’s place in processing thoughts and feelings corresponds to the mind’s greater role in directing what we think and feel.[3] As our brains are central to communicating with the rest of the body what it should do, so our minds are central to communicating with our souls how we should live.

At the same time, our understanding of the way our physical hearts pump through our bodies whatever is in our blood stream, so the immaterial heart pumps through our souls whatever we treasure and hold dear.[4]

This means that, whatever we believe and feel with our minds is pumped through our souls by our hearts. If we believe we are worthless and feel hopeless about that ever changing, our hearts pump that message of despair through our souls with its demoralizing effect.

Why doesn’t it work to put all the focus on trying to think the right things about God’s love for us?

Answer: because most people are trying to add these thoughts to a mind that has not let go of all the wrong beliefs and feelings. We are trying to reason with ourselves to change our minds but without confessing that we understand the wrong beliefs are wrong.

Without touching the core beliefs and feelings (I’m worthless and it feels hopeless), no amount of us trying to “renew our minds” with information about God will bring about genuine transformation since our hearts are still pumping the wrong beliefs and feelings through our souls.[5]

The only way to change this is to change the focus from us trying to transform ourselves by combining true beliefs with false, to coming to Jesus with our wounded hearts and letting him do the transformation.

After all, where do we carry all the things that have convinced our minds that we are worthless and hopeless? In our hearts, of course.

It is in our hearts that we were wounded. It is in our hearts that we were betrayed, and abused, and traumatized, and rejected, and disowned. Everything that convinced our minds that we are worthless and hopeless happened in our hearts.

Which explains why mind-focused discipleship produces so little transformation. It is people trying to do the right thing while their hearts harbor all the hurts and heartaches that have yet to attach to Christ as the healer and redeemer.

Why is our salvation described in terms of confessing with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord and believing in our “hearts” that God raised him from the dead?[6] Why is it that “with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved”?[7]

It is because, from the heart “flow the springs of life.”[8] As our physical hearts pump the blood stream that gives life to our bodies, so the immaterial heart pumps the springs of life through our souls.

This means that, if our hearts are wounded, or our affections are “restricted” in the way Paul described,[9] it won’t matter much what we try to tell ourselves to believe, our hearts will keep pumping the things we believe the most, that we are worthless and there is no hope of that ever changing.

What’s my point?

That we need to take deliberate steps to relate to God from our hearts. This may mean asking God to lead us into our hearts. It may require asking God to show us the true condition of our hearts. It may involve looking up verses on the significance of our hearts in our relationship to God and responding to each one in a heart-to-heart kind of prayer time with our heavenly Father.[10]

One of the Scriptures that has dominated my praying about these things is this one: “God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”[11]

I believe this is the truth for every believer in Jesus Christ, hence Satan’s determined effort to keep us from knowing this by personal heart-experience. So, because this is our Father’s gift of grace to all his children, I find myself constantly praying that God would make this as real in my heart as I could ever experience this side of heaven.

I also take great encouragement from Scriptures like this: “But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”[12]

From this diagram we can see that the soul focuses on our whole personhood, while the heart emphasizes the central activity that pumps whatever we believe through our souls.

Searching for God with all our hearts and souls does not mean we seek him in all the strength of our human effort.

Rather, it means that, our seeking of him is not just some superficial activity to try and convince ourselves that things he says about us are true. It is not trying to stuff beliefs and feelings into our brains when they are already full of a cesspool of worthlessness and hopelessness.

Instead, to seek God with all our hearts and souls means that we have emptied our hearts and souls of all the wrong beliefs and feelings we have thrived on and now open our hearts and souls to God as empty vessels that want him and him alone.

This is why God says, “from there”. The “from there” means wherever you are in the consequences of your fleshly handling of things in your own strength. If you are under discipline for your sin, don’t try to fix your sinfulness, just open your heart and soul to God right where you are.

If you are wounded by the sins of others, don’t try to get better so you can come to God with a heart full of self-effort. Come to him from where you are, with nothing in you except an intense hunger and thirst for the righteousness of being fully alive and well like Jesus.[13]

One Scripture that is now standing out in how to pray for each other in these things is this: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”[14]

No matter how much disconnect we feel between the truth-thoughts we are trying very hard to believe and the lies that are flowing through our inner beings, asking Jesus to direct our hearts to the love of God we are missing, and to the steadfastness of Christ we are doubting, is definitely our Father’s will, and so he will most definitely answer such prayers.

© 2019 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Jesus called the devil “the father of lies” for good reason. See John 8:44, Revelation 12:9.
[2] Ephesians 2:1-10 shows the wonderful transformation of God raising us from our spiritually dead condition to make us fully alive in his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
[3] People often think of the brain/mind as a focus on our thoughts alone. However, the growing understanding of how the left side of our brains are designed to handle more of the thought/language side of our understanding, and the right side of our brains to handle more of the emotional/creative side of our expressions, helps us to see that the mind is also the place where we process thoughts and feelings.
[4] It might not make sense to think that a believer would treasure and hold dear a belief that he/she is worthless and that there is no hope of that ever changing, but consider it from the standpoint of what beliefs do we treat with higher regard as true. Do we value the truth of God’s word so much that the worthlessness and hopelessness stand no chance of survival? Or do we value the lies of the evil one so much that we constantly doubt what God has so clearly revealed in his word?
[5] What God’s word says about transformation through mind renewal is absolutely necessary (see Romans 12:1-2), but it is very common for church folk to “try” to add new thoughts to old in a way that never actually replaces the old thoughts, beliefs and feelings.
[6] Romans 10:9
[7] Romans 10:10
[8] Proverbs 4:23
[9] II Corinthians 6:12
[10] This may included repenting of handling our hearts differently than we find in God’s word, renouncing our belief in the lies of the evil one, and declaring our faith that what God says in his word is true. However, this must be done in our hearts and not only with our minds.
[11] Romans 5:5
[12] Deuteronomy 4:29
[13] I often refer to the “Beatitudinal Journey” of Matthew 5:1-12 where Jesus shows how we are blessed in our poverty of spirit, blessed as we mourn whatever is wrong with us, blessed as we meekly accept we are not the ones to fix ourselves, and blessed as we hunger and thirst for the very realities of righteousness we do not have. We must see this journey as saturated in blessing because it empties our hearts of anything we would try to contribute, and promises us satisfaction as we let ourselves hunger and thirst for what we are still missing in Christ.
[14] II Thessalonians 3:5

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