Posts Tagged ‘Happy Hearts’

Stop Lying to Yourself

April 7th, 2013 No comments

stop lying to selfIf we want happy hearts, we have to begin by telling ourselves the truth. Truth and happiness and inextricably linked. Listen to what Jesus said:

“If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”
John 8:31-32, Message

Unfortunately, before the Truth sets us free, it first makes us miserable.

So the choice before us is to live in freedom by embracing the truth or to live in denial. To live in freedom, we must stop lying to ourselves.

Do you remember the story of Jacob? In Genesis 25 we see that Isaac’s wife Rebekah is pregnant with twins. As she is delivering, the first child out of the womb is Esau. As he is delivered, they see something rather strange taking place. The hand of another child is grabbing on to the heel of Esau. We find out shortly that the hand belongs to Esau’s brother Jacob. His name means “supplanter or deceitful.”

And as his life unfolds, we see Jacob living up to the meaning of his name. His entire life is marked by lying and deceit. Finally, he has had enough. He can no longer live under the weight of his deceptive lifestyle. He is desperate for a change.

Jacob decides to return home. He must now face Esau, the brother he swindled. Before they meet, Jacob spent a night wrestling with God. Let’s read about it in Genesis 32:24-28 (Message):

But Jacob stayed behind by himself, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he couldn’t get the best of Jacob as they wrestled, he deliberately threw Jacob’s hip out of joint.
26 The man said, “Let me go; it’s daybreak.”
Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.”
27 The man said, “What’s your name?”
He answered, “Jacob.”
28 The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.”

Before God could bless Jacob, he had to stop lying to himself. God asks him his name because he wanted Jacob to confess his true character. In effect, Jacob is saying, “I’m a lying, cheating conniver!”

The Bible warns us that,

People who conceal their sins will not prosper,
but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
Proverbs 28:13, NLT

When Jacob stopped lying to himself, God transformed his character and blessed his life. God will do the same for you and me if we’ll just be honest about who we are.

The Gospel Safety Net

April 5th, 2013 1 comment

safety netWe are often afraid to look beneath the surface of our lives to discover the true condition of our heart. We hide because we don’t think we’ll be liked or esteemed if we are not strong and all-together.

So what gives us the strength and confidence to be authentic with God and with others?

In a word – the GOSPEL.

What’s the gospel? It means “good news.”

I love the way Pastor Peter Scazzero explains it in his book, The Emotionally Healthy Church:

“The gospel says you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared to believe, yet you are more accepted and loved than you ever dared hope because Jesus lived and died in your place.”

I am valued, loved and accepted by Jesus Christ. My righteousness is separate from anything I do. I am righteous because Jesus, the sinless One, took my place and died for me.

The gospel creates a safe environment for me to look below the surface. I don’t have to be something I’m not. I don’t have to prove that I’m loveable or valuable. I don’t have to be right all the time.

God sees the 90% of the iceberg below the surface and He still loves me!

A revelation of God’s free grace gives us the courage to face the painful truth about ourselves. The gospel, like a safety net, is there to catch me if I fall. With the net firmly in place, I can begin to explore the painful areas of my heart while I allow the Lord to transform me into His likeness!

Going Beneath the Surface

April 2nd, 2013 No comments


While the Church should be a greenhouse for healthy relationships, it is often a place where we are content with growing plastic flowers. We are often guilty of trying to compartmentalize our faith, acting one way at church and behaving in a totally different way at home or work.

Fortunately, this artificial, compartmentalized spirituality is not what we encounter when we read the Scriptures. We see real people who are brutally honest with God, with themselves and with others. They are wrestling with painful emotions, raw feelings and the brutal realities of life in a fallen world.

They were willing to go beneath the surface.

To really get healthy, we have to be willing to move beyond the surface issues to the deeper matters of the heart.

Religious people are great at emphasizing the wrong things. Do you remember Jesus’ confrontational encounters with the Pharisees? He was continually challenging them to move beyond mere appearances to address the deeper issues of their hearts.

25 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.

27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. 28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Matthew 23:25-28, NLT

God hates religious phoniness and pretense. The fact is, we are all sick to some degree. We all need a physician. Jesus said to the Pharisees:

“It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:31-32)

Can you hear the sarcasm in these words? Jesus’ point was clear – there are no healthy people. Just sick sinners in need of a Savior. This is why Jesus often asked, “Do you want to be made whole? (John 5:6)

Jesus went below the surface, moving beyond mere words and external actions to discover the motivating force behind the external behavior.

Jesus tried to refocus people to the “whys” lurking beneath the outside behavior.

Here are some great “why” questions you can ask yourself:

• Why am I always in a hurry?

• Why am I impatient?

• Why am I so anxious?

• Why am I so concerned that others tell me I’m okay?

• Why do I have such a hard time relaxing?

• Why do I discipline my kids in anger?

• Why am I over-concerned that I succeed in my job or ministry?

• Why do I avoid confronting difficult people at church or work?

• Why am I depressed?

• Why is there a knot in my stomach?

• Why am I suffering from tension headaches & insomnia?

Emotional health comes when we are willing to take the time to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us about the deeper issues driving our activity. Give Him permission to go beneath the surface.

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