–written by Natasha Lovelady
Have you ever asked yourself, “Why in the world did I just do that?” For many years, I would have told you that God cares about my heart-the intent behind my behavior. However, my functional theology didn’t line up. I spent time perfecting my skill of “image maintenance.” I worked hard to modify my behavior, all the while, neglecting to examine my motives. Jesus teaches, “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. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”(Luke 6:45)
While sitting at the Biblical Counseling Training Conference (BCTC) in 2014, I heard the words, “You DO what you DO because you WANT what you WANT!” When the speaker began to unpack that statement, I vividly remember the conviction I felt. “So, you mean I can’t blame my unholy behavior on my circumstances, my children, my ‘whatever else I can think of besides myself?’ But my image is being marred!” God’s word says in James 4:1, “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” I must own that my desires are often unholy. Self promoting. Pharisaical. I need a Savior. I need the transformative power of the Gospel.
Brad Bigney in his book Gospel Treason helps us identify our personal idols by encouraging his readers to ask these three questions about their desires:
- Am I willing to sin to get this?
- Am I willing to sin if I think I’m going to lose this?
- Do I turn to this as a “refuge” and comfort instead of going to God?
Bigney defines an idol as “anything or anyone that captures our hearts, minds, and affections, more than God.” What desires are on the throne of my heart? I want to slay any idol I have placed in competition with God. I want to confess my sin, repent and glorify God with a surrendered heart. Clinging to my idols is hard work and quite-frankly, it’s exhausting! Do I trust God with my life? In Jonah 2:8, Jonah prays, “Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies.”
I am so thankful to be a part of a church family that encourages me to examine my heart. As a church, we are committed to help others glorify God with their thoughts, words, and actions through the community of faith. This is made possible by the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, the conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the instruction of God’s Word!
This past week, 38 people from Southern Hills packed up in vans and headed to BCTC once again. While sitting in those same seats I sat in 2 years prior, God used His word, His Spirit, and His servants to challenge each of us. Thank you to everyone that made that possible! Thanks to the spouses, friends and family that “held down the fort!”
Natasha is married to the Lead Pastor of Southern Hills Christian church, where she also serve as the Soul Care Administrator. They have five children who keep them busy and on their toes.