His Philosophy

What is truth?  Have you taken a moment recently to think about this question?  You have beliefs, beliefs that guide your decisions, and even how you react to situations in your life.  But are these ideas true?  If we’re honest with ourselves, every one of us has an imperfect worldview in some way.  We use our experiences, our minds, and God’s Word to guide us, but only One man who has walked the earth had a perfect understanding of truth:  our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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Who Do You Say that I Am?

Many people would say that Jesus was an admirable example, or even a great prophet.  Many people would say that we would do well to become more like Him, and adopt His philosophy.  But few people actually pursue this in their daily lives.  Worse still, many people adopt ideas and philosophies that run in stark contradiction to what Christ taught and stood for.  Instead of reading the Word to learn about what Jesus was really like, many people invent a picture of Christ in their minds that bears little resemblance to ministry on this earth.

You’ve certainly heard of Gentle Jesus, and it is true that He had and has the attribute of gentleness.  Jesus was called the friend of sinners precisely because he sought out prostitutes, thieves, and adulterers to save them from their sin.  He is gentle with us when we stumble and fall on the road of life—even when we rebel against Him, He often corrects us like a gentle and loving Father.  If we will listen to and follow His gentle correction, He often withholds the greater pain and punishment that we truly deserve.

Gentle, But Not Gentle Only

All this being said, Jesus was also a fierce man.  When the situation warranted it, Jesus spoke with boldness and authority, condemning men for their rebellion and the hardness of their hearts.  If we think of Jesus only as a meek lamb and never as a righteous judge, we see him incorrectly.

A striking example of Christ’s anger at those who disregard the Father’s commandments is found in Matthew 21:

12And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13And He said to them, “It is written, MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

Can you imagine one man entering a mall and drivng our droves of merchants by himself?  Imagine the tenacity and fiercness that must have been in our Savior’s eyes.  Now think of your reactions to sin and the profaning of God’s Name.  Do you react as the Lord did?

False Teachers

Another example is found in Matthew 23:

13″But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14[“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation].

15″Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

25″Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26″You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

Here, we see Christ calling out the men who would dare to speak on God’s behalf, perverting His Laws and His character in order to obtain personal benefit.  Jesus called down woes to these false teachers, directing others to avoid their influence and instead follow the true God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Will You Follow Him?

It can be difficult to live like Christ, particularly in a world that rejects our Lord for who He truly is.  We know that Jesus taught that He was the way, the truth, and the life and that none may come to the Father but through Him.  Yet our world rejects this reality, and accuses those of us who follow Christ completely as being radical and narrow-minded.  Instead of bending to the influence of our culture, let’s really take the time to see our Lord for who He is and not shy away from following Him and letting Him make us more like Himself.  If we will choose today to care more about what Christ thinks of us than what the world thinks of us, we will find Him ready and able to meet our every need—for this day and all the millennia to come!

What Are You Doing Tomorrow?

We’re always making plans for tomorrow—whom we’ll see, what we’ll do, and where we’ll go.  Whether it’s fun activities like attending a party or playing a game of basketball, or mundane tasks like cleaning the garage, we assume that our plans will happen and we’ll have the time to accomplish what we set out to do.  But is this assumption secure?

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One in A Million?

Historically, how many people have never died?  Not too many?  Were any of these people less than (gasp) 40 years old when they died?  Of course, we all recognize that death comes to all men, and to many, the end is not at 75, but much much sooner.  While we lament this verity, many of us (and myself definitely included) seem to ignore the obvious fact that these statistics are applicable to us.

James 4:

13Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are [just] a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, [you ought] to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

A Sobering Reminder

Most all of us can think of people in our life, people we may have been very close to, who have passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.  It is a shocking and surreal experience to lose someone whom you thought you’d have many more years with.  When people we love go through this valley, it is our charge to comfort and pray for them, and hold them tightly as they walk through the pain.

But it is also our responsibility to take these moments as reminders that life is fleeting.  And not just life in general, but your life, my life!  I may not have tomorrow, and therefore must use today to do that which truly matters.  Only God’s Kingdom is eternal—am I seeking it first, or letting it get crowded out by many other fleeting things?

How We Spend Our Time

Am I using my gifts and talents to pursue that with is God-glorifying and beneficial to my family and those whom I love?  Or am I settling for mediocrity, more of the same, and the lack of excellence that is common among the time-wasters and complainers?

I hope you’ll join me on the journey toward personal growth and the pursuit of your grand calling.  God has seen fit to give me breath for today, and He has a purpose in mind for this life of mine.  May God bless us both as we grow in grace and knowledge of Him.

The Standard of Wisdom

We live in an information age.  Every day, we are overwhelmed with news, media, advertisements, and opinions of friends, family, and associates.  How can we sort out the claims steeped in wisdom from those dripping with folly?  How can we discern truth from error and the wise path from the highway of fools?  We must have a reliable standard by which we can test all claims, holding fast to that which is good.  That standard is our Creator God and the Word He has given us.  Today we’ll delve into an excerpt from Proverbs 12 and discover how the principles contained in it can guide us into truth and right living.

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22Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,

But those who deal faithfully are His delight.

23A prudent man conceals knowledge,

But the heart of fools proclaims folly.

24The hand of the diligent will rule,

But the slack hand will be put to forced labor.

Easy to Read, Tough to Do

I love the clarity of the Proverbs!  Sometimes they require deep reflection and some digging, but often they are so clear and practical that there is little difficulty understanding them, only difficulty in living them.

In Accord with Reality

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.  God hates deceitfulness and it is against His character to affirm that which is false.  Conversely, when we deal faithfully with our friends and neighbors, this pleases and delights our Father.  How truthful has your tongue been this week?  Do your words and actions accord with reality, or can you think of times recently when you’ve sought to create an appearance that is false?  Have you blamed another for a mistake that was yours?  Or have you withheld information from someone in order to lead them into an inaccurate conclusion?

Not All Sharing is Good

In the second stanza, we see a common device used in proverbs:  pairs of opposites used together.  Notice the contrast in verse 23:  a prudent man versus a fool, concealing versus proclaiming, and knowledge versus folly.  As is often the case in proverbs, the truth can at first appear puzzling to us.  Why should a wise person keep knowledge from people?  Wouldn’t he want to share his insight with everyone within earshot?  Conversely, wouldn’t a fool want to hide his foolishness by remaining silent?

As usual, the wisdom of the proverb is proven right upon careful consideration.  Much like the New Testament concept of not casting pearls before swine, a wise person understands that sharing wisdom with those who are not willing to receive it will only bring sorrow to all involved.  Instead, we ought to share knowledge and council in stages, allowing a student to hear and understand the simple and general things, and later share the deeper and more magnificent pearls.  Let us be careful not to spew forth speech as a fool, painting those around us with a fire hose.  Instead, let us seek out those who wish to behold a beautiful painting, and paint it for them in small and careful strokes.

Choose to Prosper

Finally, we learn a lesson on diligence.  Decide now to apply yourself and work hard for the rewards you desire.  Stick with your efforts even during the tough times and your hard work will be rewarded with honor and authority.  Do not be as the fool, who has the opportunity to work today but chooses instead to sit idly by.  That man will find himself without honor, doing work he despises against his will.  Today you have the choice to find your passion and pursue it with excellence.  Do it, and develop a habit of diligence, that the seeds you plant today my harvest future bounty for the good of your family and country, to the glory of God.

The Intimidated Witness?

Caught Red-Handed

Imagine you walked into a grocery store just in time to see a young man slip an item off the shelf and into his pocket.  As he turns toward the exit, a security guard grabs his arm, saying, “Come with me, sir.”  The man ends up being arrested, and you are called as a witness to the court.

What would you feel like, being asked to honestly tell your story to the court?  Would you be hesitant, or would you share clearly and confidently the plain facts of the day?  Would you tell your friends and coworkers what had happened?

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The Medicine You Need

Or, take a more positive example:  let’s say you came down with a terrible disease.  You began losing function in your fingers and toes, and doctors told you that you only had a few months to live.  Then one day, a bottle of medicine is sitting on your kitchen table, marked simply, “drink me and live.” You drink it, and are immediately and completely healed!  Would you tell people your story?  Would you seek out others with the same disease in order to help them be healed as well?

These stories and questions seem so obvious:  of course we’d want to tell people!  Even though some of us would be intimidated to stand before a court, we’d want the truth to come out, and we’d certainly tell our friends and neighbors the story.  If we were healed from a terminal disease, of course we’d want to share our happiness with others, and find people who are sick too in order to help them.  But do you know that there’s something many of us have that is infinitely more important than any medicine, and concerns a court case much more significant than petty theft?

Something that Matters Much More

This truth is of the most vital importance, and will have lasting consequences.  It is this:  all people are estranged from God.  This all-powerful and holy being who gave us life also gave us a choice.  We could follow Him and live His way, or reject His love and rebel against His commands.  Our parents Adam and Eve chose rebellion, and we have been a sin-stained race ever since.  God requires perfect obedience to every statute in His Word, and to trespass once is to be guilty before Him.  How many lies do you have to tell to be a liar?  Only one.  And God will let no liars into His eternal Kingdom.

This is the disease that you and I have.  It truly is terminal, for if we die in this state of sin, we will spend eternity apart from our Creator.  One day, we will stand in judgment before the Lord of all, and on our own, there is no hope for any verdict but guilty.

Hope for the Hopeless

The gospel is the good news that there is hope for us.  While we were still sinners, God became a man, the man Jesus Christ, and came to the earth to live the perfect life we couldn’t.  When He died on the cross, he took your punishment and mine, and rising from the grave on the third day demonstrated His power and authority over death.  Any who will turn from sin, turn to Christ, and place their exclusive faith in Him will be saved.  Jesus’ blood will wash us white as snow.

Not Too Busy to Understand

During this season of the year, there are many delightful traditions and customs that promote joy, togetherness, and fun!  Whether it’s a jolly fellow dressed in a Santa suit greeting children, a neighborhood party, or Christmas carolers going door to door, there are many great experiences to be had and joy to be shared.  And although we should enjoy and embrace these positive times with family and friends, there one very important thing about Christmas we must take care not to overlook.

Look Deeper

In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy for us to rush from one thing to the next, focusing on the task at hand and missing the beauty around us.  Instead of being sucked into this frantic activity, we’ll do well to pause and remember what Christmas is about.  It is about the love we share with others, but there is a truth deeper than even this lovely sentiment.  That truth is this:  that when we were estranged and distant from our Creator, God came down from heaven to be born a helpless baby in a dirty stable.  Why would the glorious and all-powerful Maker of all things step down from glory to enter the world in such a humiliating way?  Could the One who made the stars and the seas not manage to find a house to be born in?

God’s Gracious Plan

The humility of Christ’s birth was only exceeded by his humility in death, hanging naked on a cross, and these events both took place as they did for the same reason.  That is, Christ came to the earth for us.  He lowered himself to the form of a man so that He could live the perfect life that we never could.  Jesus kept God’s Law perfectly, never transgressing with even a single step.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, he was betrayed into the hands of evil men, suffered torture and an agonizing death, in order to pay your debt and mine.  The punishment he suffered was the punishment we deserved.  But as he takes on our sin, we can, through faith, take on His purity.  Christ’s blood washes us white as snow, if only we will turn from our sin and trust Him exclusively for salvation and cleansing.  Our own good works can never save us, but His perfect life, death, and resurrection will.

Christ Now Lives in Me

This Christmas season, as you enjoy the joy in the air and the wonderful times with family, remember why Christ’s birth is reason to celebrate.  Live not for yourself, but for Him—do what He taught and love what He loves.  Share Him with others who don’t know the peace and joy found in Christ alone, and follow Him as a disciple-making disciple, day by day by day.

Why Do Clean Hands Matter?

Whoever loves Christ has the remarkable privilege of adoption into God’s family.  Since we call God Father, we may inadvertently diminish His great power and His holy wrath toward those who oppose Him.  The following excerpt from Psalm 18 depicts God in his mighty majesty and power, and reminds us that in times when those who pit themselves against God seek to harm us, our Father yet holds the strength and the will to bring down those who lift themselves up.

 

Psalm 18

13The LORD also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.

14He sent out His arrows, and scattered them,
And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them.

15Then the channels of water appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare
At Your rebuke, O LORD,
At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

16He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.

17He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.

18They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the LORD was my stay.

19He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.

20The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.

21For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.

22For all His ordinances were before me,
And I did not put away His statutes from me.

Nature Obeys Him

In verses 13-15 we get a clear picture of the massive strength and power of our Mighty God.  The elements of this earth obey His every word, as he sends forth lightning to scatter groups of men who would oppose Him.

The psalmist remembers past times when the Lord has delivered him from his enemies.  Strength and safety was found in the secure presence of God himself.  This haven was provided to the psalmist because God delighted in him.  He chose righteousness and clean hands, rather than falling to the temptation that undoubtedly surrounded him.

What You Place Before Your Eyes

See in verse 22 how the psalmist continued to keep the ways of the Lord:  by keeping God’s Laws before his eyes.  This is a great example for us to follow—day by day placing the statutes of the Lord in front of us, that we might live in them.

To those who do not understand the ways of God and who He is, it seems silly and pointless to place such restrictions upon ourselves.  For example, why would we choose to “miss out” on all the fun of casual sex or drunken partying?  Many who engage in these things seem to do just fine, and disaster and destruction don’t necessarily rain down on them.  But there is wisdom in the words of this Psalm, and in the example set by the psalmist.  By living God’s way when it seems that we could “get away” with behavior that displeases Him, we are storing up a reward (v20) with Him who holds all things in His Hands.

What Will That Day Be Like?

Days of struggle and even oppression by the unrighteous occur in the lives of Christians more often than we’d like to think about.  When these days come for you, how will you face them?  Will you confidently rest in the comforting protection of your Father God, or will you look back in regret at all the times you broke and disregarded the statutes of the One who stands in power over all things?

In our culture, it can be so easy to push the Laws of God into the back corners of our mind—to focus on so many things which fill our schedules, until there’s no time for reading God’s Word or talking with Him.  Let’s encourage each other to adopt some new habits of placing the statutes of God ever before our eyes.  Let’s work as a group to grow in righteousness and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may face our enemies and disasters with clean hands and a pure heart, watching what our Mighty God will do in defense of His children!

Need a Lift?

Do you ever get discouraged?  Most of us can get excited about a new opportunity when we first hear of it (especially if we’re not yet too jaded!)  But what do you do when the initial fire wears off and you come face to face with difficulties, discouragement, and obstacles?

When You Need a Friend….

In times when you’re struggling, don’t you just wish that a warm, kind friend would seek you out, give you an encouraging word and a thoughtful, sincere compliment?  What if I told you that you could be assured this pick-me-up anytime you desired it?  Would you be interested?

…Be One!

Here’s how you get the vital encouragement you need to pick yourself up when times get tough:  encourage others.  No, I don’t mean that you should encourage friends and neighbors today, in hopes that they’ll reciprocate in the days to come (although that may also happen).  Instead, I’m encouraging you to seek out someone to pay a compliment to because that action will actually encourage you as much, if not more, than it does them.

Building, Building, Building Others Up

The reason why this works falls into the large category of things I don’t quite understand.  I don’t know why it brings us such great encouragement when we encourage others—I only know very simply and clearly that it does.  Incidentally, this idea is something we parents always teach our kids; however, like so many simple concepts that fill children’s books, we adults never seem to practice them!

Be the Leader

If your environment is anything like the workplaces and neighborhoods that most of us live in, the practice of an unsolicited and sincere compliment will be somewhat foreign to you.  It is difficult to start a healthy habit when it’s not modeled for you, but then again, readers of TotalThriver are trailblazers anyway, right???  Thankfully, this practice is one that’s relatively easy to start—people really do appreciate compliments, whether they’re your colleague, boss, or just someone you occasionally pass by.

A Win-Win Situation

Make your compliment specific, genuine, and personal.  When you notice a job well done, a positive attitude, or a bright idea, take a moment to share your delight.  Whether it’s something small or a significant victory, both you and the recipient of your compliment will leave the encounter happier, more positive, and energized for success.  Consider your fire rekindled!

Check Your Heart

We often discuss the habits and principles for becoming wealthy here at TotalThriver.  But if we pursue financial gain with the wrong heart, we are setting ourselves up for disaster.  Today we’ll examine the Master’s teachings on wealth, and learn from him the proper attitudes and perspective.

In Luke 12, we read:

13Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

The Man’s Heart

I love how Jesus always sees us for what we are.  The man in this story asks what might seem to us to be a legitimate question.  He wants Jesus to instruct his brother to give him half of his father’s estate.  Notice how Jesus goes straight to the heart of this issue:  “be on your guard against covetousness.”

The man’s request had little to do estate planning or arbitration and everything to do with his jealousy toward the possessions of his brother.  Not only is this a violation of the tenth commandment, but the man has the audacity to imply wrongdoing on the part of his brother.  No doubt this did not foster a good relationship between the man and his brother.

Looking out for Number One

Jesus explains the foolishness of pursing wealth with the wrong heart in His usual way: through a parable.  The man in the parable had an abundance of wealth, but instead of being thankful to God and praising Him, using the resources to glorify God and help others, the man is solely concerned with his personal comfort.  He plans how he will use his resources to bless himself, and unlike wealthy and righteous Job, does not use his riches for the glory and worship of God.

Too late, the man in the parable realizes how temporal worldly riches are.  He had the opportunity to use his money to expand the kingdom of God, thereby storing up treasure in heaven.  But instead, he sought wealth only for himself and his own security and comfort.

What About You?

Are you like either of these men?  Does your heart hold jealousy toward others who have greater riches than you?  Do you desire that some of their money be taken from them and given to you?  Or, are you like the man in the parable, focused on what you can get for yourself, and indifferent about the kingdom of God and the ways that your money can be used for His glory?

Father God, help us to resist the lies that the world teaches on the value and use of money.  Let us seek financial gain honestly, and use it for your purposes and your purposes alone.  By your grace, may it be so in my heart and each one who reads these words.

You Need a Smaller Vocabulary

Do you know why you only achieve small victories in your life?  Why you may hope or wish for a grand success, but make only meager progress?  Why you’ve always dreamed of making a big impact on the world but can’t seem to turn those dreams into reality?  The answer is in your vocabulary.  You see, you’re letting the word, “impossible” spoil your mind.

But Don’t Jump Off a Building

Don’t misunderstand—there are certain rules of the world we live in which are not to be toyed with; gravity for instance.  I’m not saying that you can fly if you just start with a great mental attitude.  But I am saying that we are all apt to grossly underestimate our capabilities.  When we make up our mind that our dream cannot be done, we have ensured that it will not.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Your mind is an incredible and powerful machine, and in many ways it is programmed by what you pour into it.  When you repeat to yourself that a certain goal or dream is impossible, your mind goes to work to find all the ways that the thing is impossible.  If you surround yourself with negative programming (most TV shows) and negative people, you’re programming your mind to bring you failure.  On the other hand, if you toss the word, “impossible” out of your vocabulary, you do the opposite—you begin programming your mind to find the ways to achieve the goal you’ve set before it.

A Lesson from the Master

When your goals are in line with God’s plan and you’re programming your mind to seek ways to fulfill your vision, you are in a wonderful place indeed.  I believe that this is the concept which Jesus was teaching in this passage in Matthew 17:

14When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, 15“Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16“I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” 17And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.

19Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

Trying Hard Isn’t Enough

Jesus tells the disciples that their lack of faith was the root cause of their inability.  Although it appears that the disciples were trying hard to drive out the demon, nevertheless they failed because they did not believe.  In order to succeed in that which is difficult, we must first choose to believe that that which we seek is possible.  Once we can see the goal clearly and accept that we will be able to reach it, our minds can go to work figuring out how to make it happen.  Oftentimes, God will give us ideas along the way that lead us in the right direction.  And finally, we must use our minds, passion, and resources to take action toward reaching the goal.

Ok, I Get It

A simple concept, huh?  As with most things, this idea is not difficult to understand.  Yet, how hard it is to practice!  It is a great challenge to believe a thing possible when circumstances seem to indicate otherwise, and all one’s loser friends surround the idea with negativity and discouragement.  But of how sweet the reward is for those who will believe their dreams and take action to achieve them.

How about you?  What do you dream of becoming or achieving?  Are you handicapping yourself by repeating, “it’s impossible,” whenever the dream pops back into your mind?  Release yourself from the self-imposed bondage and take action today toward the goal set before you.  You have nothing to lose but mediocrity!

Follow Your Heart?

In many of today’s movies and TV shows, the lesson is put forth that we should follow our hearts above all else.  From Disney cartoons to adult-rated dramas, the idea that what is best for us is to look deep within ourselves and do that which we inwardly desire.  But will this philosophy really bring blessing to our lives?

Hidden Assumptions

Oftentimes, ideas that seem pleasant on their surface carry along with them disastrous and erroneous assumptions which are not readily apparent.  When we are not vigilant to test the truth claims of the society around us, we can mistakenly believe some of these pleasant-sounding lies, right along with the errors contained in them.

In this case, the assumption that lies within the “follow your heart” advice is this:  your inner self is perfect and righteous.  This claim lies in stark opposition to Scripture, which teaches us the following:

The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
(Jeremiah 17:9)

 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
(Romans 7:21-22)

The Corruption of Our Wills

We know that God created us in His image, and that our earthly father Adam was initially without sin.  Yet when Adam rebelled against God in the Garden, he shattered the perfect nature he was given.  Because of his sin, we, his children, have been born corrupted, bent away from the will of God and inclined toward selfishness and self-centered living.

When we look to our inner selves for direction and purpose, we will find nothing but emptiness and ruin.  How many men have abandoned their wives and families because their hearts told them to pursue a fling with a woman at the office?  How many youths have traded their bright future for a life of addiction because their first hit felt like heaven?  Perhaps your own experiences have been less drastic than these examples, but have they not left you empty and unsatisfied?

The Way to Life

There is a better way to live.  Jesus came to give us life, and that abundantly—His atoning death on the cross bought us peace on this earth and with our Father in heaven.  Because He died to take the penalty of your sin and mine, we can be washed clean by placing our faith in Him as Savior and Lord.  He rose from the grave to demonstrate His power over death, and sits now at the right hand of God the Father.

As Christians, we live not to follow our own inner desires, but rather to serve our Lord and Giver of Life.  Living each day to bring God glory will not only fill the emptiness in a way “following your heart” never could, but your life will bring a smile to the face of the Lord Jesus Christ—on the day He welcomes you into His paradise with those wonderful words, “well done, my good and faithful servant!”