How can we boil down these matters and issues of the heart? I think of them in both personal and corporate lists. (I'm confident that my lists will morph along the way. Please help me with your feedback.) My aim is to identify some important issues in each category and then identify some key words that distinguish God's uncommon ways from the common ways of broken humanity. My hope is that these words will evoke many thoughts, prayers, insights and elaborations in the hearts and minds of God's people.
We can think about it by stating the matter and then by identifying a word or two that possibly pictures God's relevant core value regarding that matter. Then we can contrast this with a word or two that captures a merely human approach to that issue. Sometimes it's a clear "versus" and sometimes it's simply an "over and above" kind of distinction. Sometimes humanity's "good" ways become the enemy of God's "best. ways." (I will use "vs." as a catch all.) I list these in no particular order ... as I see them all as vitally important.
Let's begin with the personal matters:
1. Life View: Journey vs. Goals
2. Life Focus: God-pleasing vs. Man-pleasing
3. Life Motivation: Identity vs. Performance
4. Learning: Inspiration vs. Information
5. Transformation: Divine Revelation vs. Human Reason
6. Total Devotion: Well-rounded vs. Fanatical
7. Crises: Wisdom/Suffering vs. Use of Force
8. Use of Power: Humility vs. Arrogance
9. Other's Expectations: Voluntary Sacrifice vs. Capitulation
10. Guidance: Spirit-Led vs. Ego-Driven
11. Success: Abiding in Christ vs. Self-Striving
12. Self-Awareness: Responsive vs. Reactive
Now the group/community matters:
1. Teaching Truth: Internal Discovery vs. Indoctrination
2. Group Attraction: Divine Encounter vs. Human Entertainment
3. Joining the Group: Mutual Attraction vs. Recruitment
4. Human Resources : Belonging vs. Utilitarian
5. View of Others: Curiosity vs. Prejudice
6. Structures: Fluidity vs. Institutionalization
7. Constitution: Values vs. Vision
8. Navigating Paradox: Radical Middle Solutions vs. Extreme Dogmas
9. Growth: Organic vs. Mass Production
10. Leadership Style: Example/Facilitation vs. Position/Domination
11. Motivating Others: Joy/Sincerity vs. Fear/Manipulation
12. Public Relations: Excellence vs. Slickness
The heart surely matters when it come to matters of the heart. In Scripture we often see the contrast and disparity between God's values and views of life and those of humanity.
Then he [Jesus] said to them, "You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God. Luke 16:15
For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7b
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13
I believe that through Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit that the gaps between our values and God's can be significantly bridged. As a demonstration and witness to the watching world of a new kind of humanity in Christ, we are invited to rise up in Him and begin to live out the culture of heaven in our personal and community lives here and now.
According to a divine dream that God confirmed to me in a very undeniable way, the Body of Christ needs to gird herself up to re-rout the river of God's Spirit that has periodically been poured out and flowing afresh over the last century across the globe into a "wild life refuge." Even more specifically, a "human life refuge for the wild at heart." That is, to cast a realistic vision for what a "fully alive" woman or man or child looks and lives like and how those kinds of people can band together to live life in healthy interdependence, host God's presence and woo those who have yet to come to Jesus to trust Him with their entire beings.
I'm noodling today about the "issues of life." For me this is a word play on how "from the heart are the issues (springs) of life." But in English, it also works to say "from it are the issues (matters) of life "
"Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23
So ... I've been pondering such heart issues, or matters, that relate to both individual and herd (group) instincts and dynamics. Ideally, there is a symbiotic relationship between the two. We are designed by God with longings to be whole individuals who belong to a healthy family and wider community.
I have sought to be a student of church communities though my 40+ years as a church leader. I have witnessed the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. I have witnessed how similar professed beliefs and terms can be held and practiced in both forms and with outcomes that are often vastly different ... some healthy and good; some toxic and bad ... even evil.
A VOICE OF HOPE
Michael Sullivant's Blog
I am a child of God, husband, father, grandfather, spiritual father, author, speaker and hope coach.