The gray areas: here comes confusion
Our hearts will recoil after the Holy Spirit identifies pieces of rubbish that we have treasured, and a battle with ensue. Why is it difficult to let go of rubbish? Because difficult choices frequently deal with grey areas where easy answers and clear cut lines are nonexistent. How then can we make sense of the grey areas? We will continue to cling to the rubbish as long we see potential for value. We will only discard rubbish once we count it as loss. Thus, we need a way to inspect and assay our treasures.
Know your heart
First, we must know our hearts.
Our hearts are deceitful
It is deceitful and desperately wicked. Following the advice to “just follow your heart” will lead you down a crooked path. We must account for these facts if we are to ever deal with the heart on realistic terms when making decisions.
Our hearts do not want to be broken
An aversion to pain is planted so deep within the heart that the seeker of spiritual brokenness will be met almost instantly with a barrage of justifications aimed to lock the heart within the bounds of comfort. This bias frustrates attempts at spiritual discernment. While the Holy Spirit speaks through God’s word on one side, our human idols of comfort, ease, and temporal pleasure beckon to us on the other.
Ploys of the heart to deceive
Since we know that the heart is deceitful and will attempt to avoid brokenness or discomforted, we can apply this knowledge to decision making. The our hearts use justifications to muddy the waters, allowing garbage to infiltrate the treasury. If we call garbage what it is, we probably would not let it into the treasury. Yet our hearts desire the garbage- we fall for sin’s lie that it will be more satisfying than righteousness- so we let it slip in under another name that justifies its presence in the treasury. What are some of these justifications?
- Others do it
- The Bible doesn’t say it is specifically wrong
- It is a spiritual benefit
- I need to do this to be able to relate to the world
- Not all non-spiritual things are evil
The problem is [at least] twofold. First, each of the justifications have a valid argument behind that counters what the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Justifications capitalize off of the uncertainty and obscurity of the situation, causing us to doubt whether or not we are hearing the Holy Spirt or just our own mind. The simple yet strong justification is difficult to dismiss, and attempting to do so feels like getting caught in the crossfire between friendly forces. We doubt, then second guess the sound, then doubt the second guess. Second, something deadly within our heart actually desires the forbidden. We want to do right, yet there is a rival desire for fleshly evil. Our flesh has an edge often simply because of our selfish desire for worldly pleasure, passion that wage war against our soul. The justifications we produce are often a giveaway that this a fleshly desire exists and can not get past our conscience unless rigorously justified. But can we label confidently label that fleshly desire evil? Can we label the thing we desire evil? If it is evil, how to we find out? What if is lawful, just not profitable? How can we move past the justifications to sort it all out?
We will begin to tackle all of that in the next post.
Can you think of other justifications the heart uses, maybe from your own experience?
The value of garbage is still zero (Part 1)
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