Summary: Part 3 of a 13 week series Hearing Jesus Again. This message looks at the importance of the heart when it comes to the way we live and make choices.
The Kingdom Heart
Part 3 in series Hearing Jesus Again
Wildwind Community Church
May 17, 2008
People live from the heart. We just do. We were meant to. God created us to be people with emotions, with feelings, and those feelings were intended to guide us into living the “good” life – things that are good for ourselves and for others. But this usually does not happen. Look in your own life at your own experience. When you do the things that “feel” right to you, does it usually lead to good things? Probably not. In fact it’s so predictable that our hearts, our feelings, will often lead us into bad things that we have come to absolutely depend on it. Think first of soap operas. Is any character on any soap opera making decisions for their life on any basis at all, other than what “feels” right, or what their “heart” tells them to do? Of course not. And all the resulting drama we see in soap operas comes from the disasters that often come when we do what our hearts tell us to do – which often is some form of what you in fact see on soap operas – adultery, backstabbing, lying, stealing, stirring the pot and creating dissension, name-calling, bitterness, hatred, and revenge.
We live from the heart. And we were created to. Yet it almost always goes wrong. What does that mean? I’ll tell you in a minute. But let’s keep thinking. How about almost any movie or stage play you have ever seen in your life? If you have studied literature and theater, you already know that conflict is what drives any plotline. Have you ever tried to write a story without any kind of conflict?
Think about it. We live on a planet where, without conflict, there is simply nothing to say. And that in itself tells us a great deal about the kind of world we live in, doesn’t it?
Without conflict (and the resulting chaos) that is caused by people doing what seems right to them in their hearts, Hollywood could not function. Nor could most popular songs ever have been written. You and I are creatures who were made to live from the heart, yet when we do, all kinds of pain and problems are the result. Now listen carefully because what I am about to say is extremely important.
Very few people consider themselves to be immoral. They will say, “I’m a good person. I don’t always do good things, but in my heart I’m a good person.” This reflects the fact that most people, in their hearts, deeply desire to be good. They genuinely intend to do good things. The problem with our world is not that people do not desire to do right, the problem is that people are prepared to do wrong. The true goodness or rightness of a person is revealed by what he/she is prepared to do under certain circumstances. For example, I might consider myself a good person, even honest, but if my house is in foreclosure and money is tight, perhaps I am prepared to cheat on my taxes. Perhaps I am even prepared to lie to my own friends and family in order to get the money I need. My readiness to do this shows what is in my heart.
Or take the case of another person who claims to be a good person and generally is – but his girlfriend has broken up with him. He is in great pain, and is suddenly prepared to do great emotional or maybe even physical harm to his ex, and maybe even to her new boyfriend. Now he may do this harm, or he may not, but his readiness to do it shows what is in his heart.
Or another person who considers himself to be a good person, but who routinely sleeps with most people he dates, even though over and over he has seen how it devastates the girls he leaves behind. He basically desires to do good, but if he gets lonely or horny enough, he is prepared to do whatever he has to do to get those needs met.
And this is true of most people. Most of the evil in the world right now is being done by people who consider themselves good and who truly desire to be, but are simply prepared to do evil when they believe it is necessary. This is why in our world today people insist that you can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be in their position. People want to do right but are prepared to do wrong. Then, when they do, they defend it by saying that any reasonable person would have done the same thing under those same circumstances and that you can’t understand unless you have been there.