I am a selfish, narcissistic jerk.
Seriously though. Life for Nathan Roach is about Nathan Roach.
At least when I’m left to my own devices.
You know what’s cool though? I don’t have to live that way. I have a choice now. I can choose to spend time with God and have my heart and mind reoriented back to a Kingdom mindset.
Did you know that is one of the many implications of the gospel? Not that I will always choose the Kingdom, but that I now have the chance to choose the Kingdom.
Before I put my faith in Jesus as my Savior and gave my allegiance to Him as Lord, I had no choice. Everything I did was for Nathan Roach. Even my ‘religious’ actions. Even my morally good choices. Even my generous or loving or kind decisions. It was all ultimately still about me and my glory.
Here’s the way Ephesians 2:1-3 puts it.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. - Ephesians 2:1-3
That’s where I was outside of Christ.
I was dead.
Not morally wrong, not a bad person.
Straight up dead.
Because of the sins that I was walking in, because my entire life was given in allegiance to the enemy of our souls (the prince of the power of the air). Because my flesh and mind were my guide.
I was dead and deserved God’s wrath.
This passage then bursts into glorious gospel truths about the wonderful grace of God given to those who follow Jesus as Lord. But that’s for next time.
What I want to get you to think about is the fact that our hearts and minds, even as followers of Jesus, will regularly lead us astray.
My heart breaks when I see so many churches, or so many followers of Jesus proclaiming some sort of “follow your heart” kind of worldview. Your heart is not a good guide. Your flesh and your mind are not aligned with Jesus.
Notice again what that passage said. When I was not a follower of Jesus, I was carrying out the desires of my body and mind. Those things don’t magically become worth following when you get saved. They will perpetually need to be wrestled against, they will perpetually need to be reoriented. It’s why the people of God in the Old Testament were to talk consistently about and meditate on the words of God. Left to our own devices, we are selfish, narcissistic jerks. Like myself.
The good news of the gospel is that we now have a choice to live differently. You and I can choose to follow Jesus instead of our wicked hearts.
But my natural state, even as a Christian, is to live in such a way that glorifies me and leads to my own blessings and success in this world. Every day where I do not begin my day in His word and in His presence, I live for me. I don’t think about others. I don’t think about the Kingdom of God. I think about my family and our needs.
Church, I plead with you to bring your heart and mind, dreams, aspirations, motivations, intentions, and plans under the word of God and into the presence of God. It’s only by this intentional action that we can live for the Kingdom of God rather than ourselves, even as followers of Jesus.
Left to my own devices, my heart leads me into sin.
I need to teach my heart and mind how to live for the Kingdom.
I do this through time with God in word and prayer.
I plead with you to do the same.
Don’t follow your heart.
Let God teach it.
In His Name,