“So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are.”
Growing up I was taught, and believed, that my heart couldn’t be trusted; it was evil, deceitful, dark. I was unworthy and undeserving of love and grace. That’s why I needed a Savior; to redeem me from the evil within and without that certainly had a firm grip on me.
Sounds grim, right? But that is what I believed.
Maybe not so much on a conscious, daily, “these are my thoughts” level… but culturally? That's where I thought I stood in the world. Needless to say, these beliefs about my origin, amongst other things, cultivated other damaging beliefs and behaviors, too.
If my heart can’t be trusted, what about others?
If evil and darkness are at the foundation of my heart, what about others?
I was desperate to be made right, cured of my inner hell.
I responded to multiple salvation calls (I had a collection of altar call bibles and tracks at one stage there). I lived for approval and atonement. And I did not trust myself one bit. Emotions, desires, dreams, visions, plans… could I trust what came out of my heart? I was always waiting for “a word from God,” which really means that for a long time (most of my twenties… more on that another time and through a different medium) I was immobile, undecided, still, stagnating… I would explain it away to myself as “standing strong, holding to my convictions, being still in the presence of God.” But truthfully? Making decisions was a nightmare.
“Goodness is our original design. And if we dig within ourselves, we’ll find it.”
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What we believe about who and what we are drives our behavior.
The writer of Proverbs knew this when he wrote:
“So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.” (Prov 4:23 TPT).
What is at the heart of our heart? Because what you believe about the answer affects all that you are and do, and how you view others, too.
We’ve been taught that we are inherently sinful; it's hardwired into our being. We can’t get it out or escape it. It is there. Which is true. But what has been largely ignored and forgotten is that before the fall of man, before sin was a factor, at our very origin, God created us and said that his creation was good. Genesis begins the world with six clear statements of original goodness. (Gen 1:10-31).
Original blessing is our truth, too.
Within each and every human being are threads of the Divine, the essence of life itself. We breathe it in and out every day and every night – that first breath that God breathed into Adam, waking him up to life and beauty and goodness, sustains us all, still.
I believe that goodness is our original design. And if we dig within ourselves, we’ll find it.
John Philip Newell said: “To say that the root of every person and creature is in God, rather than opposed to God, has enormous implications for how we view ourselves, and affects the way we view one another, even in the midst of terrible failings and falseness in our lives and world.”
Instead of needing to be rescued from myself; seeking emancipation from my humanness, Christ invites me to be healed and restored to my true nature, which has been there all along. It’s a homecoming, not a rescue mission. The core of my being is not in opposition to God, but harmony.