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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « Christian Culture is Weird: A Bunch of What-If's | On “Word of Faith” or “Believing Prayer” Movements »
    Wednesday
    Aug222012

    Follow Your (Deceitful) Heart

    The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

     

    Many times in media we hear the phrase, “follow your heart (and make your dreams come true)”. Many times in culture, education, and politics we are exhorted to, “keep an open mind”.

     

    Recently several Christians have chastised me to read books or listen to speakers with an “open heart” and try to look for the good things, rather than focusing on the negative. I have been “reminded” that as Christians we are to encourage one another and build up, not tear down.

     

    I believe balance is the key, and as Christians we are told in Scripture to encourage, but also to 

     teach, rebuke, correct and train in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

     

    One thing Scripture NEVER says is to have an “open heart” toward teaching, ideas, media, etc. This implies checking our brains at the door in order to be pleasant and diplomatic.

    Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)


    “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. “ (Matt. 10:16)


    “Test all things; hold fast what is good.22 Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thess. 5:21-22)


    There is something to be said for tact and respect, but we should never accept un-Biblical ideas or teachings merely because the presenter is nice or we don’t want to cause a fuss. That is pragmatic thinking and leads down a dangerous road of rationalization, justification, and sin.

     

    Keeping an “open mind” is just another way of saying “don’t question, just feel and accept”. This is an idea Satan just loves as the Father of Lies (John 8:44) to get people away from, thinking too hard on, researching about, or reading properly (in context) the Word of God, which is living truth. 

    “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).


    We cannot rely on subjective, ever-changing emotions to determine what is true, we must look at the Bible. If you consider what feels right, what seems true, or what appears good based on your own narrow, personal perspective to determine right and wrong, you are in trouble, my friend.

     

    We need something that transcends time, geography, and culture to tell us what is true, what has always been true, and what will continue to be true since truth transcends all time and cultural barriers. What better Being to tell us, than the God who created the world? And He already has told us in His word. The traditions of men (religion) are subjective and worthless.  

     

    Our Western, postmodern culture isn’t all that different from the human logic of other times and places. C.S. Lewis wrote some very insightful things (as usual) in his novel, “That Hideous Strength”, the third book in a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy.


    Who is more likely to buy into “new” ideas? "I don't believe you can do that," said Mark. "Not with the papers that are read by educated people." "That shows you're still in the nursery, lovey," said Miss Hardcastle...Why you fool, it's the educated reader who can be gulled. All our difficulty comes with the others. When did you meet a workman who believes the papers?...He is our problem. We have to recondition him. But the educated public...don't need reconditioning...They'll believe anything" (p. 97-98).

     

    Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t question; just go with the flow,

    "What on earth is the point of all this?" "There you go again! You grumble about being given nothing to do, and as soon as I suggest a bit of real work you expect to have the whole plan of the campaign told you before you do it...That's not the way to get on here. The great thing is to do what you're told" (pp 96-97).  

     

    One of the main things the Bible teaches is what is known as “Original Sin”, the natural human inclination toward evil (evil being defined as that which is opposed to God’s will/Law). In His mercy God revealed His will and Law through the Bible, so people could know Him and know how He wanted them to live.

     

    But it was, and is, and will always be a struggle to do right by God because of our sinful hearts. So God in His mercy again, sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, so those who decide to make Him Lord of their life can have a “new” heart, being “reborn” and not automatically subject to sin (though Christians do still sin).

     

    The sentiment that we should have an “open heart” is reflected in a sampling of mystic books, all variously titled, “Open Minds, Open Hearts” by Thomas Keating (Catholic), “An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion” by the Dalai Lama (Buddhist), and “Open Heart, Open Mind: Awakening the Power of Essence Love” (Buddhist). 

    http://www.amazon.com/Open-Mind-Heart-Contemplative-Dimension/dp/0826406963

    http://www.amazon.com/An-Open-Heart-Practicing-Compassion/dp/0316989797

    http://www.amazon.com/Open-Heart-Mind-Awakening-Essence/dp/0307888207

     

    All these books (and not just these, nor is this idea only found in books) seek a different salvation than the Bible teaches. These authors and their peers are trying to change the naturally bad human heart for a good one, but apart from new life in Christ. Rather, they try to tap into the supernatural for something like a fill-up at a gas station.

     

    So what is left for the Christian to do, but to diligently seek truth by reading Scripture, and flatly shunning any and all outside beliefs*.  Rather, the Bible exhorts us: 

    “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

    “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

    “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

    “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1)

    “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27)


    The consequences for not being vigilant in this matter can be dire. Hosea 10:2 says,  

    Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones.”  

     

    If we are not careful to reject the ideas of the world, we will start to look just like it. And if we are like the world, we cannot be like Christ.

    “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
     

    In closing, 

     Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

     

    *Please understand, I am all for researching other religions and seeking to understand them. I am all for science, medicine, and tolerating others’ beliefs. But a Christian has no business implementing the beliefs of anything outside Scripture into their own lives. God had a GREAT deal to say to the Israelites when they took on the beliefs of neighboring countries. 

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