Overhauling the Heart
by Jonathan Bailey
“Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'”
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father.”
Overhauling the human heart is completely the work of grace. A human surgeon may perform surgery on the physical heart, but no one can heal and restore a spiritual heart. The heart is that “place within us from which outlook, choices, and actions come. The heart has been formed by a world away from God; now it must be transformed (Renovation of the Heart, Pg. 14 – Dallas Willard). The heart is a wicked place, our own actions can easily prove this, and if that does not convince us then we can pick up a history book and look at what human beings did before us and gasp at the evil that has existed (which has not come to an end). The truth of the matter is that the heart is bent toward evil. I have heard it said that “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders (Matt. 14:19).”
Nevertheless be comforted and have hope, “In whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God. (1 John 3:20-21).” Saying the heart is wicked or bent toward evil is like stating the obvious, but is essential for our understanding the overhaul. As we slowly but surely walk along the path of disciplined grace with Jesus our heart will begin to take on his outlook, willings and actions.
This is the promise of God from the beginning, “I will put my law within them and on their heart I will write it (Jeremiah 31:33).” Amazing! I have often said that, “God is no God if He cannot change the desires of a human heart.” This is the business He is in. He is so interested with who we are and who we are becoming, and His goal is to make our heart like Christ’s. To become completely immersed in agape love, that does not regard self, but promotes the good of others for their sake and not our own. This is the God(Trinity) of the Universe. This is the greatest reality in your life.
Heart – Will – Spirit
I am going to make this simple. Your heart is your will. Your heart is your spirit. Whenever you will you reveal the intentions of your heart. Your spirit is that place that God created which reflects His image. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule… (Genesis 1:26)” We rule by excercising our heart, or will, or spirit. Whenever the Bible makes reference of them each term is referring to our exectutive center. So now when you read through the scriptures and run into these words you will know what the writers had in mind.
Our Devestating Problem
“The human will (heart or spirit) in the human being is not only precious, it is a problem. From the strictly human point of view it is a devestating and unsolvable problem (Renovation of the Heart, Pg. 145 Dallas Willard).” In simple language, were calling the shots. That’s not good. If there is anyone who should not be running my life it is definetly me. Think about it. I really have no idea what I am doing. The greatest hinderance to Christlikeness for Jonathan Bailey is Jonathan Bailey. We all need to embrace that, no matter how much it hurts, it’s true. But thanks be to Jesus who says, I will take over. I will show you how to live. “I have come that you may have life, and a good one at that (John 10:10 PAR).”