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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009
What hinders you from loving God with all your heart?
Did you ever wonder (Christian), why it is that you have difficulty loving the Lord your God with all your heart?

The answer is in scripture, and I will quickly point you to it. In Ecclesiastes 9 we read:
...the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives.
I know - you thought I was going to jump to Jeremiah 17 first, but I fooled you, I am quoting it second:
The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick;
Seriously, this is describing everyone's heart - Christian, and non-Christian. But you object, right? Isn't the new covenant promise that God will give each one of us a brand spanking new heart? I mean, don't these verses talk about the old heart that we had, and now that we are believers, that heart disappears and we get a new heart?

Well, if you read the bible a little more closely, you would have noticed that the promise of a new heart (c.f. Ezekiel 36:26) was made to Israel as a nation - the old heart was the law, and the new Heart was going to be Christ, when the prophet says that God is going to take the old heart out of Israel and give Israel a new heart, he means that God is going to remove the law as the hub around which the religion of Israel revolves, and replace it with the Messiah - a heart of stone tablets being replaced with a heart of flesh. When we make this promise about us as individuals, it fuddles the whole thing in a way that isn't very helpful.

We make the distinction because when you are joined to Christ through faith, His heart is made available to you through that union and through the indwelling presence of God in the person of the Holy Spirit. In that sense you do have a "new" heart, but not in the sense that it displaces your old one. When you are saved something happens: suddenly, alongside all your old and remaining lusts and sinful desires, you find new and compelling desires - some part of you suddenly want to live a life that is pleasing to God, and you suddenly find yourself aware of, and made guilty over, your sin. This does not come from your "old heart", but from your union with Christ. That is something that the law couldn't do - it (being nothing more than a set of commandments) couldn't produce in you the desire to obey, but when God began to live in you He began to produce a real desire to obey Him. But that desire lives right alongside a desire to indulge yourself in the same old sin you always have indulged yourself in. The flesh and the Spirit are contrary to one another, so that you cannot please one without displeasing the other.

So when we talk about your heart being full of evil and insanity and remaining so all your life, we should not be assuming that because we have come to faith that heart suddenly is vaporized and replaced with a new one. Hardly! Our heart (the core "us") is still more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick, so that when we obey it we cannot please God.

You see, that heart cannot love God at all, and when we try to coax it into loving God, the best we can do is to try and muster up enough guilt or gratitude and hope that doing so will make our old heart suddenly love God. But it can't, and it won't. Love is not something we can coax ourselves into feeling, much less when we realize that our heart is still insane, deceitful and entirely wicked.

How then are we to love the Lord with all our heart?

We do it in Christ, silly!

You see, what we cannot do, God can do. God loves God, and the Holy Spirit within us loves Christ and Loves God, and we can partake of that love - in fact we do partake of that love because it was poured out in us through the Holy Spirit as the scriptures say. Thus instead of trying to muster up a loving feeling towards from your insanely wicked heart, you need to look to God by faith through the Holy Spirit to partake of a love that already is there. It is not being produced by you, but rather it is present with and produced by the Holy Spirit who is in you if you're in Christ. You partake of that love in surrender - thus, you cannot love God unless you surrender to God.

So that's what hinders you from loving God with all your heart.

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posted by Daniel @ 7:11 AM  
  • At 11:32 AM, June 17, 2009, Blogger Jim said…

    Well said, yielding to Christ does seem to be the more difficult part.

  • At 11:32 PM, June 17, 2009, Blogger Breaking from the Pack said…

    When will you write a book with all this great stuff that you point out? This is great for teaching my family. If only we heard stuff like this from the pulpit on Sunday! I praise God for what he reveals through you, Daniel.

  • At 8:13 AM, June 18, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    When we serve a meal for the whole family, there has to be meat for the mature, and milk for the babes. Sometimes there are so many babes, by the time the milk is all passed out, the meal is over. So it is, I think, in some churches. There are a few who are mature enough to digest the deeper truths, but they are not being fed because most of the flock is in spiritual diapers, so most of the sermons are directed at trying to get these babes out of the cradle.

    There are all sorts of reasons why that can happen. In fact, that might make a good post some time.

  • At 6:14 PM, June 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'd be interested in a church that had two services, which, instead of the usual "contemporary" and "traditional" were "milk" and "meat." :)

    Think it could catch on?


  • At 7:43 PM, June 18, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jen - I think it could catch on, but I think the meat sermon would be pretty rare. (Leghorn: that's a joke son, ah say, that's a joke thar boy, meat! rare! A joke boy!)

  • At 10:27 PM, June 18, 2009, Blogger Breaking from the Pack said…


    Even if the sermons were "milk" sermons, I think I could still get something out of them, but they aren't even that. For instance, I would say that Marc Driscoll's sermons are "milk" sermons because his congregation is made up of largely unchurched people. Yet, I still get one of two morsels to chew on from his sermons. I don't live close enough to go to his church, so at the churches I've attended I don't even get a couple morsels. It is really indescribable. There isn't any history of the church or the faith, very little (if any) exegesis of scripture, and little insight or wisdom. Mostly I just hear humorous anecdotes from the pastor's personal life.

    P.S. I have to appreciate someone who enjoys Foghorn Leghorn humor.

  • At 11:33 PM, June 18, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Bftp, the best sermons are one where God teaches me something; I have come to know that I don't need to sit under a great teacher for that. I like a sermon to be interesting and entertaining - as well as edifying - but all I really need is edifying, and whether the pastor is a great communicator, or a flop, I am certain to get more out of his sermon if my heart is tender and expecting God to speak to me through him. If God sent unclean birds to feed the prophet in the wilderness, he probably sends poor communicators to feed saints in the wilderness too.

    But I do suspect that much of the problem wouldn't be there if congregations stopped hiring pastors and started raising them up from within their own congregations. The idea of hiring someone to come and be an elder in a church is pretty far from biblical, and yet we see it is epidemic. We qualify men for the pastorate, not based on where they are at spiritually, but where they got their diploma, and how many letters are behind their name. It is only after they are on salary that the congregation begins to realize that these men, however excellent they may have been as scholars, and students, are by no means leaders, mature, or even cut out to shepherd.

    Find me a congregation who has raised up their own pastor from within and stuck with him for five years or better, and I will show you a group of believers who is close knit, prayerful, and growing.

    But I digress, on account of it being a hobby horse of mine. ;)

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