Monday, April 27, 2015

What the heart most wants...

Yay - our first conference as a married couple!
Reflections on Tim Keller session-(Gospel Coalition Conference April 13-15)

I gave Jason a gift of registration for the Gospel Coalition Conference 2015 for Christmas!  He has literally been looking forward to the conference for the past 4 months!  And it turns out that I was able to volunteer and got to attend (at least some of) the sessions for free!  #winwin

What follows are some notes that I took from Tim Keller's session, and a few of my expanded thoughts on them.  Even though these notes all came from the same session, my thoughts don't  all necessarily connect as well as Keller may have intended.  Therefore, I have numbered them, so that they more or less stand as separate thoughts.

#1) Near the beginning of his talk, Keller said, "In the future, we will all fail to live as we ought."  He joked that any secular motivational speakers would leave their hearers with a "You can do it!" mantra.  But any good gospel preaching will leave listeners with the reminder, "You will fail!"

My thoughts: I love this because it reminds me that the Christian life is not our performance, our accomplishments or our ability to do this or that.  We will fail - and it is when we realize the depth of our failure that we most understand God's grace in our lives. #thankfulforgrace

#2) Keller continued by saying, "Everyone knows what we ought to do… the problem is we just won't do it.  Actually we can't do it.  We need the power to do what we don't have the power to do."  He was referring to God's power through the work of the Holy Spirit.

My thoughts: Have you ever felt this?  In a moment of choice between reacting in anger or frustration vs. choosing a path that will relieve tension and foster peace, you do actually know what the right response is.  You actually know what actions or words would be right.  You can picture how someone else who always seems to respond well would respond.  But you don't.  Or you can't.  Or something.

Something blocks the right attitude, or right response from coming out.  What is it?  Our sinful nature.  It is always ready to spring into action when we are tempted, frustrated, tired, anxious, nervous, or even  when we are happy!  It is a daily, and sometimes moment-to-moment fight - and it's a fight that we will never win on our own.  Thankful, the Holy Spirit is sent by Jesus himself to aid us in our Christian life on earth - the power to choose the right response comes from Him.  #thankfulfortheholyspirit

#3) Keller talked a lot about our hearts...

All hearts trust in something.
All hearts treasure something.
All hearts decide what their passion is going to be.

"What the heart most wants,
the mind finds reasonable,
the emotions find desirable
and the will finds do-able."

My thoughts: If this quote is indeed true, and I am sure that it is, then the argument would follow that what we do, what we desire and what we think are all a reflection of what is in our hearts.

This of course is right in line with Matthew 12:34-35:

 For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.

Jesus is speaking the Pharisees here, a group of religious leaders who were quite skilled at hiding their evil intentions among good deeds.  His challenge to them was to actually 'be good' instead of just saying and doing good things (Matthew Henry Commentary)
We had seats close to the front
to hear Keller!

If we know ourselves at all, we know that our hearts are indeed inherently evil.  This would be problem enough, but what makes it worse is that the Pharisees refused to believe this about themselves, although they were quick to point out the evil or fault in others.

Still, even for those of us today who excel at hiding our evil motives, no matter how slight or how immense, there is hope.

Again, the Holy Spirit's power is needed to truly convict us.  We need His help to repent not only of the evil that has come out of our mouths, but even of the evil stirrings of our heart.  #weareallpharisees #whetherweadmititornot #

#4) At one point, Keller quoted: Archbishop, William Temple,
"Your religion is what you do with your solitude.

My thoughts: After a week thinking about this, and feeling condemned by Satan for the intensions of my heart whether in solitude or in public, the Lord has graciously revealed something to me.

While running around my neighborhood one day, last week I feel like the Lord said: "Yes, what you do in your solitude does reflect what is in your heart.  But that's exactly why I died for you!"

Ahh, breathe again.

Jesus came to die for all of me -- the part of me that I think is good (but know is not), and the part of me that only I know, that comes out in my thoughts or in solitude.  #howgreatishislove #sogreatitcansaveanyone 

"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." ~ Luke 5:32

#5) Near the end, Keller said, "When what you most want to do, and what you most ought to do are the same -- that is when you have a true circumcised heart."

He then shared a verse from a John Newton hymn:

"Our pleasure and our duty,
though opposite before,
since we have seen His beauty
are joined apart no more

To see the law by Christ fulfilled
and hear his pardoning voice
changes a slave into a child
and duty into choice

My thoughts: My prayer is that what I want to do, and what I most ought to do would begin to align themselves together.  How?  Through the grace of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit... through repentance and faith.  Again and again.  And again.


Watch Keller's video and all of the speakers from the Gospel Coalition 2015 Conference here.

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