I spent a lot of years trying to sanctify the life I had lived, the decisions I had made, and possibly even my family of origin. The Baptist church I was baptized in at 19 said some really cool things about me coming “Just as I am” and the new bible I was reading said some pretty amazing stuff about forgiveness; past, present, and future. I think I intellectually accepted all of that, but I am not sure that I really believed it at the deepest level. Not in the core of my being… at the level of the heart.
As a very driven guy who wants to excel at whatever I put my shoulder to, I leaned hard into Christianity. I read all their books, watched all their movies, listened only to their music, and comprehensively set out to modify my actions with the all the best tips and techniques and behavior modification I could muster. I knew perfection was out of the question, but I certainly wasn’t going to let anyone try harder than me.
The harder I worked, the greater the divide grew. The distance between me and my wife, my children, friends, the standards I set, and even from God, seemed to be widening. Raising the expectations of myself and my children in particular, seemed to only increase the sense of discouragement and failure.
Heart knowledge of God, as a primary category, came like a revelation to me. And a rescue. With the heart as the primary operating system, I not only had the desire to be more the man that God intended, I seemed to have more of the ability. Rather than furiously working to modify my behavior, operating out of a changed heart led to:
- Greater conversational intimacy with God
- Ability to elicit and walk with the Holy Spirit
- Finding more of the desires of my heart aligning with the desires of my Father
Not trying as hard, but living out of this new operating system, seemed to more radically change my heart and my behavior. I finally felt encouraged with momentum toward my Father’s desire for my life.
The other revelation was that the behavior modification I was driving my children with would likely not sustain them when they ventured from my side. If they learned to modify their behavior based on the cultural norms of our home and Christian culture without a truly changed heart, what would happen when the cultural norms they were predominantly around changed?
My legalistic need to drive behavior modification in both my life and that of my children, came from a very broken place where the love and intimacy of a relationship with the Father was an unknown category.
What my children really needed was:
- A new operating system
- A heart of flesh
- Intimacy and heart knowledge of God as their true Father
The new understanding that was changing and sustaining me, would do the same for them. It is also the answer for everyone else I feel called to lead in my personal or professional arenas. I need to continue the arduous journey from head to my heart, getting lost in Him… and invite as many people as I possibly can to join me for the ride.
Are you frustrated, discouraged, and losing momentum?
How much of your life is consumed by doing life on your own, apart from God?
Is your head or your heart the primary operating system for your life?