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Prone To Wander Myth

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Entries in goodness (3)


Finding your hidden vein of gold

Quite often, we're asked to be honest about our weaknesses and shortcomings -- job interviews ask us to disclose this, churches obsess about it,  and accountability groups major on our failings.  There's nothing wrong with being honest about our weaknesses, but there's something more worthy of our attention:  it's the vein of gold within:

"Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness; yet, perhaps, as few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not of." -- Jonathan Swift

The vein of gold is where God focuses his attention:  he is obsessed with what's most alive, radiant, and strong in you.  A vibrant seam of gold.


Staying with the message of the new heart

Quite frankly, it's difficult to believe I have a good heart sometimes. The evidence against it seems too strong.

Lately, there's been almost an unseen pull downwards, a drain-circling suck towards hopeless futility.  That dark undertow almost got me to draw some fatal conclusions about my own heart.  That pull is towards shame:

I've blown it with my kids a lot lately;  not given myself to my wife as she needs.  I'm actually craving the goodness of Jesus and his choices, begging him to give me his own maturity.  (If you think holiness is hard, try out your favorite addiction or uncontrolled craving for a while.  That's harder to live with.)

In these moments, we have two choices:  fatalism or freedom:

  • Fatalism says:  I am the sum of my failures.  My heart cannot be good -- just look at the evidence against it.
  • Freedom says:  My heart is my hope.  I am a new creation (my heart is now supernaturally restored by Christ.)  Despite the external evidence, there is a new internal reality.  My failures are no longer the truest me.  (Even the apostle Paul says this - Romans 7:20)


  • You can't go by your failures.
  • You can't go by what others think of you.

  • You may not even be able to go by what you've been told by church leaders in the past.

Stay with the truth:  your heart is good now.  Jesus made it so.

To understand your new heart more, Recover Your Good Heart -- Living free from religious guilt and the shame of not good-enough unpacks what Scripture says about your new heart.

Or you can start with the FREE e-book I wrote:  click here.


How spiritual transformation happens

What are the mechanics behind how we change; particularly how the new heart within us is strengthened, nourished and released?  How do we end up doing the things our restored hearts really want to do, while not yielding to false substitutes?

Invitation to the Jesus Life - Experiments in Christ-likeness, by Jan Johnson, is refreshing, gracious and full of well-textured thinking on the spiritual life.  The author suggests that God "loves [us] into goodness, drawing [us] with irresistable grace."   Loves us into goodness.

Isn't it true that when we feel most loved, pursued or valued, we are least likely to fall for lesser things?  So how do we access this loving-into-goodness life?

The means is through new habits of the heart, mind and body (spiritual disciplines), but the goal is not to become better Christians, the author surprisingly points out.  The goal is connecting with God.  When we connect, we receive love, and the Spirit does the transforming.  We, as Dallas Willard suggests, are then becoming the kinds of persons who naturally do and say the things Jesus did and said.  It is an outflow of experiencing love, not conjuring up good religious behavior.

Though the author of Invitation to the Jesus Life doesn't necessarily frame the process in the following way, I would suggest that as we connect with God (through redemptive habits) we experience his affection, and the Spirit nourishes and releases the goodness he seeded within our new hearts at conversion.  The point is connecting with God, not trying to become a better Christian.