Sunday, February 28, 2010

Your Heart is a Kingdom

Over the years, a lot of people have told me they like to study people. I guess they sit and watch people, perhaps at a mall or the park, because those people seem interesting and humorous. I don’t know for sure, but I guess most of us study people in some way or another, whether we realize it or not. We can’t help but notice other people’s words and actions, and how they affect us, and we can’t help but think about the consequences of those observations.

I’m intrigued by other people, and I’m often left wondering what they are—or are not—thinking. Sometimes I wonder what internal monologue is occurring in their hearts that causes their external dialogue with the world. I see some people updating their Facebook pages with words of frustration and bittermess, often about trivial things that do not matter in the grand scheme. I feel so sad for their "status updates" but can’t help but question what string of thoughts got them to where they are today.

I almost feel like Anne Shirley, wondering if they have any imagination at all for what other ways life could be, for what other ways they could see and interpret life. I wonder what they think about, and I wonder more importantly what their worldview is like. And I am curious what filter they use to screen what messages are allowed to dig down to their worldview, and how often they ponder their own filter.

A major section of my next book is dedicated to the subject of worldview, so it’s something on my mind nearly every day. Worldview is not what you think about, but simply what you think. It is what happens when the thoughts and intentions of our hearts become so solidified over time that they aren’t even thoughts anymore, but are unconsciously acknowledged assumptions. We usually don’t actively "review" our worldview; it is our worldview which reviews our current experiences.  It is the filter that always trumps surface beliefs.

What we put into our heads and hearts will eventually solidify and become part of us, and develop into the major driver of our character and choices. What you think is what you are and who you will become. Where you start from matters; ideas have consequences; worldview is everything.

We are called to bring every thought captive to Christ. Our goal is to "recapture the imagination," and focus our minds and hearts on eternity … to think God’s thoughts after Him.

We are called to bring ourselves into subjection to the truth, and in that sense, you could say that your heart is a kingdom. You are entrusted by God with its governance, and your call is to rule it well. It’s not something we always manage to do, but it’s something we must do better on today than we did yesterday. As always, it’s not about perfection, but direction.

Ruling our hearts well requires us to dig down to our worldview level to do honest, painful, sometimes messy work, and change. But no other aspect of our calling is worth all that much if we aren’t examining our hearts and replacing error with truth, replacing bad attitudes, mindsets, and mental habits with ones that honor God, so that our motivations are right and our hearts truly reflect God’s heart.

It’s about relinquishing our strategy for how to achieve our dreams and goals, or even our ideas about what our goals should be. It’s about admitting that we have a very limited perspective, even to the point that we all have blinders on in some way. It’s admitting that no matter how strong our faith or worldview, we often have "no scope for the imagination" of what great things God is doing in the world and in our lives. We ask Him for ears to hear and eyes to see, but we constantly admit that we fall short and lose perspective, and ask Him to grant us a fresh perspective every day.

To take our thoughts and imaginations captive, we saturate our minds with the truth. We memorize the Word. We sing of it. And most importantly, we make sure keep our hearts open to the Spirit so that the truth sinks down and changes us for real, from the inside out, on the level of our worldview. Through God’s power we become good stewards, not just of our things or our schedules, but stewards of ourselves, for God's glory.  Your heart is a kingdom; rule it well.

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