Journal Entry // October 19, 2022
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.Titus 1:16 ESV
Words and actions are important as they reveal the state of your heart for all to see. The inner secret state of my heart is not quite so secret and hidden as I like to think it is. I like to think that my mind and my heart are established and kept in private, but in reality my heart and mind are exposed through the words and actions that are expressed in daily life. They flow from deep within my innermost being and manifest in my relationships and attitude.
It is not simply a one way street though. My words and actions influence my heart and mind just as much as the other way around. My struggle with sin is never simply either external or internal. It is always a matter for consideration on both levels. I must always be fighting the battle on both fronts and I must always be evaluating my status by internal and external indicators.
I find that I betray myself on both levels at all times. As I think about yesterday, I can see where my heart led my mind into areas of discontent that then informed my actions that sought sin. My actions then reinforced those thoughts on my mind and pushed my heart deeper into darkness. In my struggle of battle yesterday, I focused mainly on the actions. I wanted to stop the action as it was a manifestation of guilt in my heart. It was the thing which scared me most. Why? Because I was more worried about what others would think about my actions.
And therein lies the problem for the most part. I am more concerned with what people think about me than I am what God thinks about me. I still want to view sin in my life from this horizontal perspective of being judged by men. To be sure there is a necessity of being concerned about this as Paul writes in this passage. Our actions are important. How we live and engage in this life is important and has consequences. But I am neglecting the true source of freedom if I only focus on godliness for the sake of others opinions.
The true source of freedom comes in my relationship with the Father through Jesus. When I lose my performance based thinking and focus simply on pleasing my Father. This is freedom in the gospel. My freedom allows me to understand that my heart, mind, and actions are all directed at Jesus. I’m not performing acts of righteousness to receive approval. I’m living out of a Spirit of righteousness and obedience because that’s what my Father has given me. It’s not a performance, but a lifestyle. And really not just a lifestyle, but the essential character living inside my heart. Tainted by the world and my own sin, but my central character from Christ. So I will go forth in humility and repentance to set my heart focus on pleasing Christ by living every moment in his love and mercy and grace.