There is no greater personal defeat than to know what is right but to do wrong! The guilt and shame that is attached to bad decisions is intensified, when you know within yourself, that you could have done better! So how do we become overwhelmingly inclined to do right, when our flesh wants to do wrong? I could be naming a number of things here; addiction, bad relationships, bad attitudes, responding in anger, and the list goes on.... I'm sure you can think of something for yourself...
Stay with me to the end of this post and you will not regret it....make the right decision...
Purpose is established by God the creator and is revealed through the unction of the Holy Spirit. We are predestined by God to end up at a certain place and following the leading of the Holy Spirit will guide you to that destination.
Although this is revealed to us through the scripture, we still have to realize that destiny is decision based. You will only be as successful as your daily decisions. Although success is guaranteed through Jesus Christ, this guarantee is only given through you decision to follow Christ.
Here's a good example...A car can have a warranty all day long and any type of product can have a guarantee, but that means nothing to the person has not bought that car or product. Let’s just call it being fully convinced… So let me ask you the question? Are you fully convinced? Yes there is a guarantee to your success but are you "ALL IN"? Unless you make a daily decision to follow Christ, the guarantee does not apply.
So why is it so hard to make the right decisions? If we know that our success is determined by our decision-making ability, then we have to uncover the mystery behind the decisions that we make. Cause decisions aren't made by accident.
Have you ever wanted to say no to something in your gut but your "will" just kept saying yes? Maybe it's an addiction or a relationship....I know that we all have been there in some way or another. So why is it that do what we know is wrong for us?
In order to understand why we make the decisions that we make, we have to place our focus on the place within each one of us where we make all of our decisions. Why do we make certain decisions; even if we know those decisions are not prosperous?
Why do you always say yes to that certain type of man? Or woman? What inclines you toward certain responses?
Proverbs 4:23 NLT
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
If we look at the Hebrew translation of this scripture you will see that there is more to these words that what we have translated in English. I have formulated a literal translation based on the Hebrew. I'm sure you will find it interesting...
"Guard (like a prison guard) your heart (your inclinations and the seat of your appetites) because this is the place that produces all that you experience in life. The status of this one place will determine your direction and success."
I have found this statement to be true; the difference in a successful person is in their ability to follow the unction of the Holy Spirit instead of the urges of their flesh.
Paul writes about this common struggle in the book of Romans 7:4-6, 14-25 (NLT). He talks of this personal battle that most all of us face. You know...the wanting to do whats right...but inevitably doing what is wrong, or what we don't want to do. Here's exactly what he says here:
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
So what is this nature within each one of us? And how do we overcome it? Well, this battle is within your mind...more specifically you heart, which is the 2nd compartment of your mind. It's a lot to get into in one blog, but your mind can be described as your conscious thoughts, while your heart is your subconscious thoughts. Or even more specifically, your heart is the filter that you process all other information and experiences through. Some call it a "World View".
It's your heart that must be transformed in order to be able to rightly discern the will of God for you life. You can change your mind temporarily, but if your heart is not transformed the change is not sustainable. Jesus came to give you this heart transplant that you need in order to change the way that you think entirely. Not a momentary change but an eternal change.
Your mind is a spiritual faculty but is also connected to the physical world at the same time. It's a part of your soul, that we as humans are distinct from all other creatures as having. It's what makes us "God like" so to speak. This is because we were made in the image of God and at the same time given physical bodies made of earth.
Stay with me here...cause this could change your life...
The heart is the second compartment of your mind. This is the placement of your urges. This of how your physical heart instinctively pumps blood and sends messages throughout your body by way of the blood. It’s amazing that the human heart can produce life even if the brain is shut off. That means that you can be brain dead but your body is still living because your heart has a mind of it’s own so to speak. But the heart is instinctively driven by a certain code.
That takes me back to what Paul was saying…. My mind is telling me one thing but my heart is producing another thing. My wish is to do one thing but my decisions are following another pattern…your heart will produce what you do as a second nature, so to speak. What you do without really intentionally thinking about it.
Let's understand this heart thing a little more: If you heart is your "World View" than it is like the operating system of a computer. Everything that is viewed through your computer comes through the context of what operating system you are using.
Your worldview tells you how you ought to live. Even if it isn’t Biblical or morally correct…it’s what you believe to be personal truth. Even if it is in conflict with absolute truth, you will still perceive it as truth because it’s the context that you are view life from.
This is because we all experience life through the boundaries of our mind. What you are experiencing by reading this blog right now is defined by your physical senses but it is interpreted by your World View.
To help you understand how each of our World View is formed I have decided to use a Deck of Cards! Each of the following are the things that shape our World View and must be challenged in order to fully transform our perception of the world and our purpose in Christ.
Everyone in life is dealt a hand of cards in life. If you have ever played poker, you know what a poker face is and how important it is in playing your cards to their greatest advantage? This is the same in any card game...where you make sure no one can look in your hand and you make everyone believe you have a great hand when you may not...just to have "confidence" play in your favor.
In life, so many times we believe that we are confined by what we have been dealt in life and this is our current worldview. Everything that we see and experience in life is filtered through this lens. So here is what those cards you've been dealt represent...
SPADES: A spade is a picture of a unique little shovel (I never knew that before). So this represents the geographic location of where you were born and what part of the world you are currently planted in. This refers to your city, your neighborhood. Whether you were born into money or born into poverty…whether you live in a free country or one that is ruled by a dictatorship will shape your world-view. This is your country, state, city…geographically where you are in the world.
CLUBS: This is easy to define. The clubs represent your social constellation. Basically, this is the people in your inner circle of relationships. It represents the people that you can’t help being placed with and those that you have chosen and allowed. Those relationships that you have chosen are in some part based on your past relationship experiences and needs.
HEARTS: This represents your culture. This includes your ethnicity, family traditions, religions, and upbringing. This represents your spiritual experiences and also your natural talents and passions. Just think of it as the things that you love to do and have impacted your personality.
DIAMONDS: Because of the great process that a diamond goes through to become what it is, this represents your past experiences both GOOD and BAD. It represents the way that life has processed you and whether or not those experiences have had a positive or negative impact on you.
So you have all of these cards and most people make the most of what they’ve been dealt…they play the game and are successful in their own right. Other people look at the hand they have been dealt and start comparing in their mind with what they think they know about the person next to them and choose to FOLD…throw in the towel…Unfortunately, the sad thing is that many of those people will get to the end of their life and realize that that there were people winning in life with a worse hand than they had but they didn’t stay long enough to discover that.
And that's where all the "Self-Help" teachers end their advice..."Do the best with what you have been given"
God goes a step further...
The world will lead you to believe that is where the road ends. And people are making millions teaching seminars and writing books on how to play your hand well and in the most positive light. That is all good but God’s plan is better.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NKJV)
9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” (THIS IS THE LABEL—THE CONTEXT THAT HAD TO DEAL WITH) 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me (make me successful) indeed, and enlarge my territory (entrust me with more), that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain (Don’t let me be defined by what was handed to me)! So God granted him what he requested."
This man named Jabez could have been listed among the ordinary, like scripture details, but he refused to be labeled by his story and experiences up to that point. He refused to be limited by his parents idea of what he would become. He said...."God I want your hand!"
That is the mighty power of God's grace at work! He gives us what we need to overcome our present state to become what He had originally intended!
This is what Paul wanted us to understand. We have these urges that come from our old nature or World View but what God will do, is through Jesus Christ introduce you to a Kingdom Paradigm.
A Paradigm (a pattern) is a firm set of beliefs and theories that have been established within a certain discipline.
The Kingdom is not a religious concept but it’s a culture, a mindset, and a new way of life. The interesting thing is that your worldview isn’t completely taken away. The kingdom of God is superimposed over the old so that you still see but with a different context. With a Kingdom Perspective, you still remember your past but you see your life circumstances from a different perspective. You no longer see problems but you see possibility. You see potential!
So you have a new mind that has now been attached to your worldview and it goes in and turns everything that was upside down, right side up.
So how do you allow this process to take place? It doesn’t take place overnight. Sure, there are some instant changes when you are born again…but remember…a baby has all the potential to do everything that you and I can do but has to be taught. It’s something that seeps in over time. That means that God now gives you a new family context and creative outlet as a part of the church (hearts), he plants you in specific geographic areas on purpose with an anointing and an assignment (spades)…. he directs you to a new set of relationships (clubs) and takes the pain from the processes that you have gone through and produces something great (diamonds)! He gives you a testimony!!!
It may take several years of discipline to overcome the urges that exist within your mortal body, but the more you give into the unction of the Holy Spirit, the more you will become like Christ!