Wednesday, 20 June 2012

What's At the Heart of It All?

Noted author and lecturer Paul Tripp is convinced that all marriage problems are heart problems and that all heart problems are worship problems.  I thought it would be worth unpacking his statement to provide some insights as to what might be causing turmoil in one’s marriage.

What is meant by a heart problem?  The heart when used in this context represents the mind, will and emotions.  Thus whatever I am thinking, feeling or motivated to do comes from my heart.  Since most often my behavior is a function of what I am thinking about, it follows that my thoughts control my behavior.  The heart can best be changed by the intervention of the Holy Spirit because in our sinful human nature we are usually not desirous of making a change.

The uses of the word worship may also need some further explanation.  When Christians hear the word they most often think of singing hymns or going to a service, or praising God.  In this context however it means anything that we hold in very high honor, we place supreme importance on, and to our way of thinking may be the most important person, place or thing at any given time.  The object of our worship could be our children, a favorite fishing hole, our spouse, our job, etc. 

When we put this together it says that our behavior is controlled by our thoughts which in turn are controlled by what we place a very high importance on.  In other words we worship that on which we place a high value.

The  idols we worship
No self-respecting Christian would ever acknowledge that they worship their children, food, their job, their hobby, their spouse, their solitude, or anything else above God.  And I would say to you everyone on this planet puts something ahead of God at some point each day or each week.  At some point you put your desires for your life ahead of God’s desires for your life.  We are all self-centered.  We all dethrone God and enthrone ourselves when it suits our purposes.

 It can be very subtle.  One of Paul Tripps favorite sayings is that “the desire for even a good thing can become a bad thing when it becomes a ruling thing.”  That is what is meant by worshipping something other than God.  Some parents put their children first, that seems like a good thing but in actuality it may be a bad thing.  The proper hierarchy always has God first, our spouse second, and children third.

Fill in the blanks. “The most important thing in the world to me is _______”  Or, “the one thing I can’t live without is ___________”  Whatever you wrote on those blank lines is, if you were honest, what  you worship.

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