The video version of this newsletter is here.
Much of the secular coaching profession as well as pulpit preaching is centered on managing what we think, say and do. Linking attitudes with behaviors and emotions is a popular theme in both camps. The concept is that if we learn to discipline how we think, the words we speak and the actions we take will be more successful, spiritual, etc. Coaching justifies this approach with “science” and the Bible is quoted to make the same case. The problem is… it doesn’t work and it takes a long time to figure that out. The promise that we can mentally manage our lives to please God is a sophisticated version of dead works. Keeping all those thoughts, words and deeds in line with some standard of holiness is an eternal sentence to a game of “whack-a-mole” …see the 20 second video for this prophetic picture of life. Living this way smells just like a religious Pharisee… it’s superficial, aimless, pretentious and lifeless …it taxes our joy and vitality, and leaves us and others spiritually bankrupt… clouds without rain.
From the heart – The real source of what we think, say and do is in our hearts. Our minds are good computers for figuring out how to execute a command. Believing that we can renew our minds by changing our mental computer code is a western myth. We are truly changed from the inside out at the level of our heart.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Prov 4:23 NASU
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
Asking Why – Our minds are all about what to do and how to do it. Our hearts want to know why, and we only act in accord with the current version of “why” that’s already in our hearts. Virtually all of our thoughts, words and actions come straight out of our hearts. Most Christians totally miss this basic premise of maturity because we are not aware of our hearts.
Theology – We’ve been taught that we are a body, soul and spirit. Practically, we understand that our spirit is the organ through which God speaks to us. That’s how we get our orders. Our soul is our mind, will and emotions… those three things basically translate to functions of our mind. Our body is the physical. Did you notice that there is no heart in this formula? Is it any wonder that we produce heartless disciples? When we read verses about renewing our mind, overcoming carnality, or putting on the new, we immediately receive it as an instruction for our minds (whack-a-mole). It’s a theology that creates servants and, ironically, it creates mindless servants who have no higher aim than to carry out the instructions from God (understood to come through their spiritual leadership). We have a complicated theological formula that produces babes incapable of getting past milk. We’ve trained them not to ask why, and kept them out of their hearts.
When we first come to the Lord, we are appropriately under tutors and governors who simply tell us what to do. After some months of being involved in a fellowship, we find a job and enjoy serving others in some capacity that matches our gifts. But eventually the Lord draws into the Kingdom and asks us what role we want to play. Choosing that destiny in a conversation with the Father always goes through the “why” that our heart demands to know.
Opening the eyes of your heart – I want to suggest that this stuff is very practical and easy to apply. Listen to Paul:
Eph 1:17-19 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
18a I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened
18b in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, (Destiny)
18c the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, (Love)
19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (authority and power)
Destiny – Paul is praying for his disciples to have the wisdom and revelation to know Jesus in a practical way. His first request (18a) is for the eyes of their heart to be enlightened. Simply put, he is saying to know the desires of our heart. What is the treasure of your heart? What is your heart invested in? If you want to change that investment to something better, your heart needs a good reason. When we set our hearts on desires that God put there, we come into alignment with our destiny and our natural gifting. Life becomes fun and fruitful at the same time. That’s knowing the hope to which he has called us (18b). It always flows naturally from our heart.
The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath. Pro 11:23 (NIV)
Love – When we grasp something about our own purpose and direction in the Kingdom, it’s very natural to want to pull others into their unique calling and purpose – that’s ministry, and it feels like love. It’s not accomplished by preaching a recipe for thoughts, words and deeds; it happens when we listen to what God wrote in their hearts. We value other people the way God does. He regards the saints as the riches of His glorious inheritance. When we have a direction and cherish it in our own hearts, it becomes very easy to see how God esteems the desires He placed in the hearts of others. This whole process feels like love.
…out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38 NKJV
Power – When we grasp this idea of Kingdom and metron and start to release it in others, it’s something the Father is doing. The release that people feel when they touch the desire of their own hearts that completely overlaps their Kingdom purpose is amazing – it feels like a jailbreak. There is great power and prophetic authority to release Kings. I’m always taken back when I touch it. There is no greater joy than to help another brother or sister release the destiny and anointing that God has written in the desire of their own hearts. I’m continually amazed at what happens by just allowing hearts to express what God has already written there. Listen to them talk to hear what is in their heart, then simply help them to release that desire or trade up for something better. It produces disciples of the heart who love what they do, love the people they touch, and walk in step with the Father. We’ve developed a coaching process along those same lines. It works!
PS: Once you’re in touch with the desires of your heart, then you can discipline your mind, set goals, speak affirmations, write business plans and go to work on your dream. All those things do work when you work with your heart instead of against it.