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Prone To Wander Myth

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 What if your heart is no longer 'prone to wander?'  What if God is more interested in releasing a noble goodness He's already placed within you, rather than pressuring you to be more 'holy?'  Discover the book by Jim Robbins.

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Entries in new heart (29)


Un-bridled Freedom

Grace is even better than
, "God's not mad at you anymore."  It's also better than "unmerited favor," or "unconditional acceptance."


In order to control a horse, the headgear that the reins are attached to includes the bridle that fits over his face, and a metal bit that goes into the tender part of a horse's mouth. Those who don't yet know how to intuitively move with a horse often jerk the horse's reins, causing the metal bit to bite into the horse's mouth.  This bit-and-bridle method uses discomfort and force in order to get the horse to comply.

Under grace, the "bridle" [Old Covenant Rules] and "mouth bit" [painful pressure] are taken off -  removed from the Christian, because the Spirit has given us new hearts that are no longer "prone to wander."

We no longer need bit and bridle to get us to move in the right direction.  The horse [we] can move intuitively with the rider [the Spirit].

My book, Recover Your Good Heart, exposes the 'gospel' of pressure - getting jerked around by messages that claim you're a "new creation" but treat you like you're an unruly horse that needs to be "broken."



The Cure for Shame

Shame will be our default position and the virus in every relationship -  unless it is healed. Shame says, "You are flawed to the marrow, have nothing significant to offer,  hopelessly addicted,  and inherently prone to blow it.   The good in you can never outweigh the bad in you.  You will never be enough."

A shame-consciousness will be the Achille's Heal for every leader, organization, and every family and parent-child relationship, unless we find the cure.  And there is a cure.

But when we look to the pulpit or Public Television or TED pundits for a cure for shame, it often sounds like one the the following, often reasonable-sounding antidotes:

Acceptance as an antidote to shame:

"I am loved, despite..."

"I am accepted."

Self-confidence as an antidote to shame:

"Practice positive self-talk."

"Believe you are worthy."

Forgiveness as an antidote to shame:

"I am forgiven."

"God's grace is greater than my sin."


Discipline as an antidote for shame:

"Step up your prayer life and spiritual disciplines."

"Try harder not to miss group meetings."


Release from guilt as an antidote to shame:

"It's not your fault."


Positive thinking or better self-talk can't handle this.
Yet, as helpful and often true as most of the above antidotes can be, none of these solutions is sufficient to heal the root of shame.  Most Christians think that one or more of those antidotes I listed above will do the trick; yet it often feels like we're up against something much bigger than positive thinking or healthy self-talk can handle. 

Our best efforts to fend off our critics [whether external or internal] often feel a bit like the leather-tough cowboy who pretends the bullet lodged in his gut doesn't hurt; or the female CEO who tries to casually shake off the brutal criticisms lobbed at her by the Board, while she privately sheds angry tears in the bathroom stall. 

We're tired of pretending we're o.k., and though we are reluctant to admit it, pretending only temporarily shoves away the pecking buzzards, knowing the scavengers will always return until the kill is devoured.    Pretending we're o.k. doesn't actually heal us.


The cure for shame
The best question to ask is, "What does Jesus think the cure for shame is?"  Does Jesus have a way to heal the root system of shame within the human personality, rather than asking us to coax ourselves into positive self-talk or try to act bravely in the face of our critics? 

In Jesus' own words, the cure he offers is this: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you." [Ezekiel 36:26]  His answer is as astoundingly simple as it is unique.  The heart is the root system for a person's relational health.  Jesus restores the root system in order to restore the person.    The moment you enter friendship with Jesus, the diseased root system is removed:  The heart that has driven you into a shame-mindset your whole life is taken away.  In its place is emplanted a remarkable, noble and radiant heart - a new root system.  Everything you hoped you could be is embedded in that new heart you've been given, waiting to be affirmed and released.


What Jesus might say to set us free: 

Jesus might say,

"Let's be truly authentic here, no pretending.  There's no need for that.  You're safe with Me.  No mustering up a sense of worthiness that shields you from the critics;  instead, let's take self-defense off the table forever. 

When the Devil comes to Me and tries to accuse and slander you to My face, I point him to your new and noble heart.  It infuriates the Enemy because self-defense is the only thing he has to teach you.

Your new-hearted nobility is a gift from me, and no one feels compelled to defend something they know is a gift:   If you didn't create it, you're not responsible for defending it, right?  I defend you so that you don't have to.  Your new heart is how I defend you against your critics."

To learn more about recovering your good and noble heart, you can check out Jim's book, Recover Your Good Heart - Living free from religious guilt and the shame of never good-enough.


New podcast: "If I really do have a good and noble heart, then why does the evidence seem to suggest otherwise?" -Guest Joel Brueske joins Jim.

Joel Brueseke [see his insightful GraceRoots podcast] joins me as we try to offer encouragement for Christians who do want to believe that their heart is now good and noble because of Christ's redeeming work for them, but who continue to struggle to live from that new-hearted goodness.

Podcast:  "If I really do have a good and noble heart, then why does the evidence seem to suggest otherwise?"  [Special guest, Joel Brueseke of GraceRoots.com]



In the podcast, Joel and I address:

  • Why does my experience seem to suggest my heart really isn't good, noble and true?

  • Why truth must drive experience and not the other way around.

  • What about us is "finished" and what is still "unfinished?"

  • What happened to the "Accuser" in our worldview?  "Warfare" has been grossly abused in the Church, but for the sake of our hearts, the idea is worth revisiting.

  • Why multiple exposures to the truth is necessary so that our minds, emotions and bodies can catch up to the truth about our new and noble hearts.

  • Should you leave a church that preaches a performance-based, "bad-heart" message?

  • Resources for finding new-hearted community and messages. 


You can find new-hearted community - people who want to live from their good and noble heart - on the "COMMUNITY" page on my website.  The focus is simple:

1.  Where are you finding it difficult to live from your good and noble heart?

2.  Where are you finding encouragement to live from your good and noble heart?


Your new heart is as holy as it ever will be.

Your new nature is fully-completed. 

Your heart is not growing in holiness because it doesn't have to; it is already as holy as it ever will be.  A bucket overflowing can't get any more full.  Even among Christians who believe God has made them new creations, giving them his righteousness, there's a great deal of confusion over this issue.  

Most Christians think their heart is somewhat holier now with a moderate level of improved goodness, but probably isn't thoroughly, 100%, good.  So they mistakenly believe their nature will continue to improve with time.

This view short-changes the biblical view of our new nature.  As a Christian, your nature is no longer fallen or in need of improvement: It is as steadfast towards God as Jesus' heart is.  Your heart no longer possesses false convictions about God, nor harbors any deceit.  Nor is your heart easily mislead or self-centered. 

The old heart that did possess false convictions, deceit and mistaken conclusions about life was replaced.  Not tweaked, not altered or improved.  REPLACED.  It's gone. 

After surgery, Jesus didn't leave the removed heart just lying around your interior world like a rotting organ left in a trash bin after surgery:  That old nature is gone.  Flash-obliterated:  Burned up by his righteousness.

Your completely-new heart only possesses the noble DNA of Jesus and his convictions.

The real question is,

"Then why do Christians still sin?" 

The answer is because the life in our new heart has yet to reach the creases of our mind, our choices and convictions.  The process of sanctification has nothing to do with our hearts growing in goodness:  Our hearts couldn't be more true and noble than they are now.  Rather, sanctification has everything to do with our actions, convictions and relational patterns coming into alignment with that new heart and its goodness.

[There is also our flesh, but that too is no longer your identity.  And the Spirit wages war against the flesh, not you.]

Jesus does not give approximations or half-solutions:
Our new hearts don’t simply possess a purity like Jesus had:  They possess the actual purity Jesus had, his DNA.  Our purity is not an approximation of what Jesus possessed:  It IS the purity Jesus possessed.



Sin is no longer a heart issue.

Bottom line:  Your heart is no longer compatible with sin.  Sin cannot penetrate your heart.  Jesus now lives within your heart, and he isn't compatible with sin.

Your new heart in Christ deflects sin rather than absorbing it!

A friend and I were reflecting on a sermon we had recently heard in which the pastor was urging  people to be more honest in their relationships and toward God. The pastor concluded that the reason people (he was speaking primarily to Christians) are not as honest as they should be was because of a deep-seated condition: “It’s a heart problem,” the pastor said.

So, as my friend and I sat smoking cigars (some of my best conversations have been over a good cigar), I asked him: “What did you think about the pastor’s statement—that it’s a “heart problem.” Is he right?

While my friend paused to think through it, I asked another question: “Is it a heart problem or a flesh problem?” As we talked through it, we agreed that it was, in fact, a struggle with the flesh, or old programming, not with the heart.

When I told my friend that his heart was now pure because of Christ, he  immediately felt a sense of pressure lift from him. Christians may be slow to live from their hearts, but sin is never a “heart problem” in the believer: sin is a flesh problem. As Christians, we don’t reject our hearts: we reject (consider as dead) our flesh through Christ’s cross.

[Excerpted from Jim's book, RECOVER YOUR GOOD HEART.]


Your heart is more faithful than you think.  

On another forum, I recently posed the question:  "As a Christian, do you believe your heart is still 'prone to wander?"  -- still in danger of being unfaithful to God, in other words.

"Yes - by experiance I do believe that although I have a new heart, my old man battles against it.  Therefore Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.  I believe that it is a constant choice to offer my heart up to God. That HE might take and seal it afresh and anew for the courts above.  If my heart was not prone to wander I believe that I  would not have to choose this day who to serve."


When God gave you a new heart, why would he give you one that was still prone to wander?  Wouldn't that leave us exactly where we were before?  It would serve him better to give us a heart that was now steadfast and faithful to him.  Otherwise, that "changed heart" or new creation really isn't all that changed. 

You might be surprised to learn that it's not your new heart that wanders -- it's your flesh; and in fact Paul says your flesh no longer represents the true you.  You can still sin, or course; but your new heart no longer wants to.  Your heart/will is already dedicated to His will because Jesus actually replaced that wandering heart with his own heart and purity.

Although your flesh is at war with the Spirit, your heart is not.  This actually isn't a new message at all:  It's the classic Christian doctrine of "regeneration."  In my book, I point out folks from Martin Luther to J.I. Packer who talk about this surprising biblical truth.

We no longer have to daily recommit our heart out of fear that it will wander off.  Jesus didn't have to do that.  He worshipped God with all his heart certainly, but didn't feel anxious about having to constantly renew his faithfulness to God.  His DNA is now in your heart.


[Note:  As we talked more, the other person and I seemed to be tracking more together; yet I realized that there's often the acknowledgement of a new heart without understanding the quite radical implications of that new identity.   We often want to cling to the dirt in our lives far more than we want to celebrate the radical goodness Jesus has given us.]


Louder doesn't mean truer: Why your false desires shout false things.

"But it feels like I really want that.  How can I enjoy my good and noble heart when I still want the things that trip me up?"

What happens when you hear the message that your heart has been made good and true in Christ, yet your desires pull you in the opposite direction?

  • That desire that seduces you?

  • That pseudo-addiction you "can't help"?

  • The anger at your kids that seems so...automatic?

Here's the problem
We've been taught that powerful feelings and attachments must be true of us.  The louder those feelings shout, the more true we think they are.  We've allowed feelings to be the cornerstone of our identity, rather than God's redemptive assessment of us. 

We mistakenly think that:

If I feel I want that other woman, it must be true that I want her.

If I can't let go of anger, it means my anger must be stronger than my patience.

If I can't let go of control, it means I must be a controlling person who can't let go.

It's destructive circular thinking:  "Because I experience a powerful pull, I must want that.  Worse, I must be the kind of person that wants that."

Here's the lie:  "Yeah, the 'good and noble heart' is a nice ideal; but you're not there yet.  There's no real power in it."

We've forgotten what God knows about us:  That those dishonorable desires are no longer us.  We have a new set of desires waiting to be released within our new hearts.  More accurately, the Holy Spirit is right now in the process of releasing those new and noble desires within us.

Here's how God might answer your doubts:

"You are my son [daughter] in whom I am SO-pleased!  Yes, you may have those wayward desires, but they are no longer you.  You have them, but they no longer have you.  Celebrate the new power, new resources, and new desires I'm now releasing in your good heart."



Indulge Your New Nature

A friend of mine told me that because of the message he was hearing in church each week, he expected to sin.  He didn't expect to love well, follow in Christ's footsteps, or live in the strength of the Holy Spirit.  He expected to sin.

His Christian leaders taught him to expect that.

And this is the message being offered most Christians on any given week.

It's like a Christian suffering with an addiction,  confirming the worst [and least important] thing about him at the weekly meeting:

"Hi.  My name is _______, and I'm an alcoholic."

Stop right there:  Your behavior and struggle is no longer a reliable indicator of your identity.  No matter how it feels to you, you are under a different, more powerful influence. 

The problem with the expectation to sin is that it contradicts the already-remarkable work of Jesus in the Christian.  Rather than fearing we'll indulge dangerous desires, seductive temptations, or selfish ambitions, we ought to think about indulging our new nature. 

  • Bing on our new goodness.

  • Dote on our new, God-given passions and desires.

  • Cater to our circumcized hearts.

  • Nourish our new purity.

  • Pander to our new heart's super-natural potency.

By the way, this is exactly what the Holy Spirit is up to in you:  he is releasing the new and noble goodness he's birthed in your new heart.  He's inviting you to the bash he's throwing there and waiting to see what kinds of unadulterated love gets stirred up in you, spilling and splashing onto those who need your life.  Your new heart is a wellspring of life cascading out and advancing into barren places.  Indulge your new goodness and let it come out and play.


Parenting with the good and noble heart

You can grow up under 'Christian' parents, in a household devoted to Scripture and faithful church attendance, and still develop a debilitating sense of shame.  As a child, your motives and actions will be nitpicked with the sharp stick of displeasure.  Your motives and behavior will be picked apart with forensic and relentless scrutiny by your parents.  You'll conclude that you are not nor ever will be fully-pleasing to somebody -- your family or to God. 

And the parent does this because they believe it is an act of love.

I don't doubt these Christian parents deeply love their children.  I've had to take a close look at my own approach to my children.  We simply have been given a wrong set of assumptions about our kids [and our own] hearts. 

So here's a better set of assumptions you can have about your children who know Christ:

1.  They do not have a rebellious nature any longer.

2.  They are not setting out to make your life difficult:  There's always something going on underneath the "bad behavior."  Is it fear?  Hurt?  Exhaustion?  Do they feel harassed by constant nitpicking?

3.  They need to know Jesus has made their hearts genuinely good.

4.  They need to know that their heart matters more than their behavior.

5.  They need to know that your primary focus is not on their sin or misbehavior:  This is not a fault-finding expedition. Even if their actions need to be exposed because they are dangerous or violate relationship, our highest intent is to draw out the power and resources of their new hearts.  Not every mistake or fault needs to be pointed out.

You can move towards your children with these assumptions because you have a good and noble heart.  You already want to love them in this new way. 




My newest e-book.  It's free, and short [five pages]; but gives what I think is the rest of the 'grace' message:
E-book - The Rest of the Grace Message-Jim Robbins


Trusting your heart is the biblical thing to do.

It's o.k. to trust your heart now.  In fact, Jesus wants you to.

Your heart can be trusted now because it is no longer 'deceitfully wicked.'  If you follow Christ, it would be wrong to mistrust your heart:  It would be at cross-purposes with what God is doing in your life to constantly hold your desires under suspicion.

I recently asked a group of men to raise their hands if they thought that trusting their hearts was the right thing to do.  About a third of the hands went up.  The majority thought that holding their heart under suspicion was the biblical thing to do.  As we unpacked the truth of their new hearts, given to them when they said 'yes' to Jesus, we exposed the debilitating assumptions they were taught about their hearts.

I explained that within the new heart Jesus gave them came new and noble desires -- and that dismissing those desires as selfish or inherently wicked would prevent them from doing certain things like:

  • discovering their unique calling
  • loving God and loving each other

But not all desires are created equal

There are, of course, competing desires that can be whispered to us, but those desires are not ours.  They are either whispered by the Enemy, or our culture, or our 'flesh' (which is no longer us, not our real self);  but those desires are not our desires.  False desires are like thorns lodged in the skin -- they are embedded in our bodies, but not of our bodies.  The thorns cry out for our attention, but our health lies in the vitality already present in our bodies.  Our concern must focus on what's most alive and already present within us.  That's where God focuses his energy.

Ask God to reveal the desires of your heart
Stay with the process.  It's what he's up to in your life.  Trusting your heart is biblical.


Being 'accepted' by God isn't enough.

One of the members of The Good and Noble Heart community I moderate asked a great question.  The core of her question goes to real the offer of Jesus.  Here's her question:

What exactly did Jesus accomplish for us? I really believe that He brought us to a place of being able to be with the Father, unrestricted and free. That's how I life my everyday life with Him. But I really don't know how to see myself...am I really good now and therefore can go to the Father, or still the same old me, but completely accepted through Christ's dying on the cross, and that being accepted as I am gives me the hope and strength to be able then to change.

Her confusion is understandable and common to many Christians:  Am I merely accepted by Jesus (which is a beautiful thing in itself) but am still essentially the same person I was before I met him; or did he do something to me -- making me truly good and pure of heart? 

The trouble with seeing ourselves as only forgiven and accepted is that is doesn't solve the root problem -- a diseased and fatally-incapacitated heart.  If Jesus were to 'accept' us without giving us the capacity to love and relate well to him, we would not be able to live or love as he did -- unable to fulfill the command to "love God with all your heart...."  It would be a cruel and unfair expectation on God's part. 

Further, we would be debilitatated and diminished in our capacity to love others:  "Love one another as I have loved you." You can't love like Jesus unless you have his heart.  And that's exactly why his offer includes acceptance ... and a gloriously new heart.

The salvation Jesus offers is a rescue of the heart. It has to be.  There is no loving and living well without a reborn, alive and supernaturally-vibrant heart. 

Is this understanding of the Gospel what you were taught?



Recovering our desire -- Jim is a guest again on Joel Brueseke's Growing in Grace Together  podcast.  They talk about our fears to trust our desires, because we've mistrusted our hearts.  They also talked about the various sources of desires and the consequences of not trusting the desires that are in our new and good hearts.

Here's Joel's podcast site


Get the podcasts on iTunes here.


LISTEN NOW --new podcast - 'The Heart and the New Covenant'

Joel Brueseke, who hosts the Growing in Grace Together podcast, is a good friend and a guy who really gets the good and noble heart.  Joel interviewed me today for a two-part series.  Here is part one.

Listen in for some great conversation about why Christians tend to walk around in guilt and shame, and why there seems to be such a focus in the church on behavior management and sin management - and how living with a New Covenant mentality rather than an Old Covenant mentality, as well as a proper view of the new heart, will overcome all of that.


LISTEN NOW: 'The Naked Gospel' interview with Andrew Farley

Andrew and I talked about his fantastic new book, The Naked Gospel - the truth you may never hear in church.  Find out what Andrew says about our new identity and freedom.  It really is a lot better than we've been told.

  • Should Christians really obey the moral law in the Ten Commandments?
  • Do we really have pure and good hearts - the very same that Jesus had?
  • Can Christians trust their hearts?

The answers may surprise you!

Click player below to listen.

As always, feel free to leave your comments below!


LISTEN 'live' tonight -- podcast special guest Aida Calder talks about spiritual abuse and the new heart

Aida Calder is the blogger who writes the Forgetting the Former Things blog, which has an international audience.

Join us tonight as we talk about her journey, the new heart, and spiritual abuse.  Listen 'live' at 6:30 pm EST or download the podcast shortly after the show.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO TONIGHT'S PODCAST PAGE.  (I use Blogtalk radio when I have podcasts guests.  You can even ask for show reminders at the show's page.)


As always, feel free to leave your comments below.


Changing our nature...what has already occurred within

Why does God insist on making us loveable, lovely, whole?  For certainly he has always loved us, even when we were unlovable; yet this wasn't enough for him, says C.S. Lewis:

"...it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less."  - C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

"We may wish, indeed, that we were of so little account to God that He left us alone to follow our natural impulses - that he would give over trying to train us into something so unlike our natural selves:  but once again, we are asking not for more Love, but for less."  -- C.S.  Lewis, The Problem of Pain


I want to answer Lewis here (not knowing how he might respond)...   In order to fashion us into the supernaturally glorious creatures he desires and loves into wholeness, God indeed did change our natural selves, our natural impulses -- from unlovely to noble and good.  This he did at the level of the heart. 

We need not wait for heaven for this.  It has already happened.  It is the promise of Ezekiel 36:26 fulfilled (and in other places throughout Scripture).  We now grow out of that new and noble nature with its noble impulses.  We practice our new nature.  Discipleship is learning how to live from that good heart.


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.


A better way to read the Old Testament - without shame

For decades, the manner in which I read the Old Testament only furthered my shame.
I had forgotten to make the critical shift from the Old Way to the New Way--  the old heart to the new heart.  For example, if you read an Old Testament passage like the one below, and forget that something has changed inside you as a result of Christ's work, what would you feel?

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."  - Psalm 51:10

My reaction would be:  "Wow, maybe I should be feeling what David is here; I guess I'm supposed to be confessing my sin, examining my selfish heart and repenting about something.  It sounds pretty spiritual and pretty important.  What, exactly, am I supposed to be feeling bad about?  I'm not sure, but I'd better get to work on this repenting thing and ask God to fix my heart."

The problem with that sort of reaction is that it is out of date.  It is an Old Covenant response to a problem that was solved for you in the New Covenant.  Meaning....David's cry for a clean heart has already been answered in the work on Jesus for you.  You've been given a new and pure heart already because you said 'yes' to him.  (Ezekiel 36:26 -- "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you...") 

As we read the Old Covenant, we must now read it from a new heart perspective (you now have a clean heart that does want what God wants).  We make the shift from guilt and shame...to restoration and freedom of heart.


For more on this, my book Recover Your Good Heart goes into more detail on what Scripture says about our new hearts.


Free e-book from Jim - "THE GOSPEL OF THE HEART"

I'm making this e-book free of charge.  Download or share it as much as you want.
This short e-book exposes the false gospel that manages the externals and sabotages our hearts.

E-Book-The Gospel of the Heart-Author Jim Robbins