Thursday, February 16, 2006

Who's Playing Your Heart Strings?

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." John 1:15

How many times have we as Christians tried to keep ourselves from doing certain activities which we deem to be worldly? In fact, even our understanding of what would be worldly is rather varied depending upon which church you belong to, where you grew up, and your particular view of scripture.

However, here in this verse and the context of this chapter John presents a principle to us that goes much farther than simply refraining from certain questionable activities. As modern christians we like to talk about the heart rather than externals, and this verse expressly deals with the heart in a way that no liberal minded believer could shirk off. You see, John is giving us not simply a command but a profound truth regarding our love for God. When we love the world or anything in the world not only is our love for Christ diminished, but the love of the Father cannot be expressed through us.

Well before you go off in a tangent and run up the flag of legalism let's look at verse 16. There are three things mentioned as relating to the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, and none of these three are from our heavenly Father. Everything that is of the world will be motivated by one of these three aforementioned things. Many times we must confess we find all three of these pulls operating in our being, and soon we find ourselves in a torrent of emotions. What was it that caused such consternation in your life? There is a great need to examine everything we do in this light; is it emanating from the Holy Spirit or from the carnal desires of our fallen flesh? By the fruit you shall know the tree.

I am glad the apostle John did not immediately follow these verses with a list of lustful and prideful activities which we should abstain from. You see, we continually miss the mark by focusing on the external appearances rather than cutting straight to the heart. I can outwardly appear holy and spiritual while at the same time my heart can be consumed with lustful thoughts and prideful ambitions. I can bring my body into subjection and at the same moment lose the battle of the mind. Scripture tells us that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. When I fill my heart with the things of this world, I will naturally speak worldly things. But when I delight after the Word of God and meditate on His laws and precepts, I will keep my heart from sinning. As David said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” So the issue boils down to what is your heart feeding upon?

This is where I would like to address a couple of practical points, namely some worldly activities that rob our heart of the joy for Christ. It seems we as Christians have divided our lives into two parts, the spiritual churchy side and our personal private secular side. We readily admit a certain behaviour and heart attitude is required for fellowship and worship of God, but somehow fail to see that God is interested in our entire week and not just the one or two hours on Sunday morning. Therefore our activities should be in line with the reality of God’s presence.

The area of music has caused much division, destruction, and sadness amongst our last number of generations. We have gradually begun to think of music as amoral and a personal choice. This has led to self justification of any style as long as it is played outside of the church environment. The sad part of this is that most of the secular music today is directly linked to the three points mentioned in verse 16. Almost all secular (and for that matter a growing amount of “Christian”) music stirs up the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, never mind causing our minds to entertain sinful thoughts. When we allow these songs to take root in our heart we force our love for Christ and His word to take second place. This is really a form of idolatry in that we place something above God. If you would honestly examine your own heart, you would acknowledge this to be true. When you are consumed with the things of this world, your heart has little time and energy for spiritual pursuits and the Word of God grows cold and boring.

Rather than simply making rules and regulations regarding “touching not” and “tasting not”, let us be careful to notice the effect that these things have upon our heart and its desire for the things of God. Guard your hearts brothers and sisters, for out of it are the issues of life.


Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Edifying thoughts, Jim.

Jim said...

Thanks Matthew, did I miss the boat on this post or is this something people don't want to talk about?

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Probably. Not an easy subject.

God Bless


Joe said...

I think you are right on with this post.

Being a worship leader, I can tell you that the music thing is nothing new. Every now and then Christian music starts to get flimsy, both doctrinally and artistically.

Guard your hearts, indeed!

Daniel said...

I have found that the deeper the post, the fewer the commenters. I would expect the opposite, but there it is.

Jim said...

Matthew, you are probably correct there.

Joe, very good advice...thanks.

Daniel, I didn't really think of this post as deep but I do appreciate the encouragement. I aim to make 'em deeper yet Lord willing. There is enough mediocrity already out there.

God bless y'all and thanks again for stopping by.