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continuing the conversation – actions as symptoms

August 31, 2008

Yesterday we talked about Jesus’ example of the tree and fruit.  As simple as this sounds, Jesus taught that our actions and words aren’t “the main thing”, but that to Him our hearts are the main thing and our actions are symptoms of the condition of our hearts.  It’s just like diseased fruit on a tree is a symptom of a diseased tree.  “Diseased” actions are symptoms of a diseased heart.

Honestly, I spend almost all of my time trying to fix my actions instead of working on my heart for no other reason than IT’S EASIER.  It’s so much easier for me just to make sure I don’t use “that tone of voice” or facial expression with Jana than to admit to myself that I’ve got a heart problem and work on my anger… because I don’t want to work on my anger!  I like my anger!  It’s so much easier for me to just try and force myself to spend time with God at the beginning of the day than to admit I don’t want to this week and work on the fact that there’s something wrong with my heart because it wants other things more than God in the morning.  I guess if I’m honest, this passage was disouraging to me this week.

Is this as hard for you as it is for me?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrea Wandell permalink
    September 1, 2008 11:56 am

    I think that’s where this gets tricky because if you want a healthy heart, you have to feed your body nutrients to encourage health. You have to exercise, eat nutritious foods, lower your stress level, sleep well, etc. to nurture the health of a new heart. It does a body little good to have a healthy heart in a sick body, sitting on a couch eating chips and chocolate (this might be a little bit too much of a personal reference! lol). I think it is the same in our spiritual walk. If we want spiritual health, we have to seek (like in Psalm 1) to plant ourselves by streams of water. That means seeking out God daily through His word, walking in community with fellow believers, and just pursuing to know God and honor Him in all we do. This can “look” like pursuing to upgrade our filters because we may use the same means, but the result is different if we are consistently asking God to search, try, and know our heart’s desire and asking Him to lead us His way and not on our own quest for “righteous living” that serves no one and only disguises the disease that we desperately need His tending to.
    Great sermon, Josh. Thank you so much!

  2. howertonjosh permalink
    September 2, 2008 12:11 am

    That’s a good point about the value of doing things that often look like “filter-upgrading”, when in fact they’re channels of grace that God uses to renovate our hearts, Andrea. I’ll be pondering on that one today…

  3. Julie Howerton permalink
    September 2, 2008 1:12 pm

    Piggy backing on Andrea’s wise comments, I know that for myself my desire to spend time with God in the morning only increased AFTER I disciplined myself to do it daily. Since I’m at school, that’s all I have time to write.

  4. Sean permalink
    September 2, 2008 10:14 pm

    I decided to check out this blog thing. Glad I did… I think. My primary reason for checking out the blog was an effort to keep my Sunday sermon experience fresh in my mind. You know the deal, when the pastor says those words, “Remember last week when we talked about…”, and you think to yourself, I do now. I get a lot out of sermons, but to often there is no follow up, and therefor no memory or action on my part.
    My initial thoughts Sunday morning were about how many times I make assumptions about other’s actions with out giving a second thought about what is causing their actions. That thought process made me desire to be more relational with those I might otherwise ignore, scoff at or despise. It made me feel pretty good, coming away with that desire.
    Then I log onto the blog and I get hit with one of my biggest failures. Consistant time with God. I am glad I did. Overcoming failures is difficult. It helps to see comments reminding me of the need (thanks Andrea) , and seeing positive results that can take place (thanks Julie).
    Julie, do you have a device that can help me out. I’ll pay two easy payments of $19.99.

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