Okay, blame this one on Andy Stanley and his book Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions that Control You. I’ve only a few pages to go, and there’s a ton to say…but for now, here is the point to ponder:
As long as these four monsters grow unchecked in your heart, your efforts to love will be short-lived, thwarted. No amount of effort on your part can compensate. The purest of motives will not prevail. You cannot love while harboring one or more of these enemies — in the end, they’ll overcome (pp. 203-204).
The “monsters” and “enemies” to which Stanley refers are anger, jealousy, greed and guilt. If we allow them to remain in our hearts unaddressed, then we cheat ourselves from the God-life of love.
Get this — WORKS WON’T DELIVER. Hol’ up, wait a minute! Read that again please. Say it aloud, “Works will not deliver me.” I know some ladies personally whose lives are separating at the seams because they are working themselves into exhaustion with unchanged hearts. Denial and creative avoidance start to stink after a while because they make us stagnant, and we have to live lower to accommodate them.
Then Stanley says that PURE MOTIVES WON’T DEFEAT THE MONSTERS. Uh-oh! Read that again please. Now let’s hear ourselves say it: “My good intentions will not deliver me.” There are some sweet people in this grouping for whom the emphasis is on the attack of others and the exaltation of their clean motives. Their mantra is “I meant well.” Um, no ma’am….not a cluttered heart. Anger, greed, guilt and jealousy cloud over intentions.
I appreciate how Andy Stanley puts words together to make the point understood. In the above quote he seals the deal when he informs us that WE CANNOT LOVE WHEN WE HARBOR ANGER, GREED, GUILT or JEALOUSY. In truth, we know this, but we think we are exempt…because of our works and our good intentions. Maybe Jesus will convince us today. Consider John 20:23 from the Complete Jewish Bible.
If you forgive someone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you hold them, they are held.
Jesus said this AFTER He breathed on the disciples and told them to Receive His Spirit — the Comforter, the One who guides us into all truth, the Helper, the Divine Power in us.
Royal Ones, God-love does not harbor guilt, anger, greed and jealousy. The principle is true: if you hold them, they are held… in the praise, in the dance, through the utterance, at the altar serving others, teaching, preaching, ushering, giving… IF YOU HOLD THEM, THEY ARE HELD.
Our job then, is to follow the Light of Truth. It is to face the music, to sit still in front of the mirror. Our task is to address our hearts, and empty them out. Let that be the offering that God receives, so we can love for real. The pain we don’t want to feel again if we address the issue(s) is not as great as the knowledge of real resolution and a clean heart.
Selah, and love to all.