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Entries in good heart (6)


"I am no longer a good and noble man."

"I am no longer a good and noble man." 

This was the indictment against my heart last week, and my character was on trial.

Why had I come to this aweful conclusion about my heart?  ... My wife exposed my anger.

I'd realized I'd blown it with my wife and kids, and had been blowing it for the last nine months: 

...Chronic impatience and irritability with the kids,

...backing my wife into an ideological corner in order to be "right" and to dominate an argument,

...and treating my family like a dumping ground for all that ailed me.

My anger wasn't explosive or uncontrolled; it was more of a searing, wounded anger.  The kind of anger a man develops when he can't face one more betrayal of friendship, or another day of bleeding alone, or another hour of wondering why his Father has gone off and left him again.

It's the kind of anger a man feels when God is asking him to trust that "there is no shadow of turning" with Him, but the man can't quite believe it yet.

Faced with the knowledge I'd been wounding my dear family for many months, I went to a pretty dark place:  Not a place of simple and honest sorrow, but a destructive form of self-torture.  Indicting yourself is often a cheap substitute for the difficult task of receiving grace.

Here are some thoughts that were going through my head:

I am clearly unworthy of my family and can't be trusted with their well-being.

I am no longer the man I thought I was, and that terrifies me.

I am no longer a man with a good and noble heart.


Thank God he rescued me.  Thank God I have a very gracious wife, and understanding children.  I was able to finally come to my right mind -- like the man of the Gadarene tombs who cut himself with sharp stones and razored accusations...until Jesus broke his chains.

Do you see the treachery of the enemy there?  "Take out his heart by convincing him that he and his sin are one and the same.  Get him to identity so strongly with his sin that the restoring work Jesus has already done in him feels like a sham."

Here's where the truth is so practical [as it always is]:  If you don't believe your heart is good and noble, possessed by the very strength of Jesus' own goodness, you will likely get the emotional snot beaten out of you on a regular basis.  You need to believe you have a good and noble heart so that when kicked in the gut, you can still stand up...again, and again.

Dear brother, Jesus has cancelled Adam's legacy of shame against you.  On your worst day, you are deeply pleasing to God.

Dear sister, Jesus has denounced Eve's claim against you.   Despite your deepest fears, He has not turned from you.


Podcast interview with TrueFaced' John Lynch - Will you let your heart come out and play?

John Lynch is a blast.  He is the co-author of the popular books, Bo's Cafe and TrueFaced.  John and I talked about allowing our 'new nature to come out and play' -- rather than mistrusting our hearts, or assuming our first nature is sin.

Imagine a community that really believes that the heart of every believer is good and noble, and actually lives from that new identity:  recognizing the mess, but knowing that the mess is not our identity.  Imagine that kind of safe place.
Photo:  John Lynch,  co-author of TrueFaced, and Bo's Cafe.


Jim's podcasts on iTunes.


New e-book excerpt: "Enough is Never Enough - Abusing the Good Heart"

Non-commercial www.paulprescott.comThis excerpt is from a new e-book I'm writing on the idea of spiritual abuse -- specifically how spiritual abuse can kill the very life of our hearts.

The particular kind of abuse I'm talking about is reflected in the following description of abuse.  It comes from The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, by Johnson and VanVonderan:

"Spiritual abuse is the mistreatment of a person who is in need of help, support or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining or decreasing that person’s spiritual empowerment."

The authors go further:

"Spiritual abuse can also occur when spirituality is used to make others live up to a ‘spiritual standard.’  This promotes external ‘spiritual performance,’ …or is used as a means of ‘proving’ a person’s spirituality."

This abuse may not even be intentional
, but kills the heart, nonetheless.

Notice the effects of this kind of abuse:

  • weakening, undermining or decreasing that person’s spiritual empowerment.
  • enforcing a 'spiritual standard,' 'spiritual performance,' a means of 'proving a person's spirituality'

The e-book is nearly completed, and I'll be announcing its completion soon.

As always, feel free to click the "Post a Comment" button below.


Danger: Exhortation that ignores the new heart

Much of what passes for the “gospel” these days is a message of exhortation without regeneration—preaching that excludes the New Covenant reality of a transformed heart. (Or more accurately, preaching that is grossly unaware of this transformation having already occurred.)

The message of exhortation translated today says, “You’re not doing enough of this; or you’re doing too much of that:” “You’re too selfish, not committed to your marriage, not serving enough …”

Exhortation becomes an attempt to manage (or manipulate) people’s behavior by pressure and guilt, rather than urging them to release the good stored up in their heart through Christ’s work in them.  Exhortation leans toward the 'not-enough' and 'not yet' rather than relentlessly pursuing the  supernaturally-pure heart Jesus has already given us at our conversion.

[Excerpted from my book: Recover Your Good Heart -- Living Free from Religious Guilt and the Shame of Not Good-Enough.]


Good and also becoming good

How can Christians be both already good, and becoming good?  Here are two verses that lay this out for us:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17)   (Here, there’s a sense of finality. Our goodness is a settled fact.)

But Scripture also show us the ever-increasing process of becoming good …

“ For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge...and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1: 4-8)

(In this verse, we have a sense of Christ’s character developing in us with growing measure, over time.)

As I learn to live from my new and supernaturally-good heart, I mature in the goodness that God has already given me. That goodness may be as yet not expressed, but nevertheless still present in me. Discipleship is the process by which I enjoy and continue to express an already-present holiness and wholeness within me.


New podcast - special guest Joel Brueseke, Graceroots.org

A deeper look at grace.

Joel Brueseke is the founder of graceroots.org and has recently created a graceroots community on Ning network. He's a guy that gets the message of Jesus and understands the message of the new heart.
This is my interview with him.