Hearts and Discipline

Posted: August 4, 2019 in Between the lines, Heart, mind, spirit, Morality, Personal, Serious
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A disciple applies discipline to his or her heart to become like his or her master, right? If we are a “hearty” Democrat or Republican, we discipline ourselves to represent these values. If we are a “hearty” fan of MLS soccer, we disciple ourselves to attend to all things MLS, we pick our team, wear their colors, and clear our schedules when they play.

This is interesting—we train our hearts to think and do as our priorities demand—we bend our wills to our heart’s desires. Every heart has a master—usually the owner. Though naturally self-determinate, the heart can be given away to a variety of masters—political parties, MLS, NFL, Mary Kay, greed, lust, power, mercy, love, or service.

Our hearts are undisciplined—going from thrill to thrill looking for fulfillment. The heart is filled with appetites—each an inclination toward obsession. We indulge an appetite and it becomes an addiction. Like Lays Potato Chips—“no one can eat just one!”

Before we go any further, let’s examine how people work. We have three elements at work in us: heart, mind, and spirit. The heart produces desires. The mind rationalizes our desires and makes plans to attain them. The spirit is our inner truth—a set of disciplines or rules for remaining true to our purpose in life. Our spirit admonishes or reprimands us when we break our principles. That voice that says, “You shouldn’t,” or “You should,” is your spirit. Spirits run from saint to sociopath.

If the heart is good, the thoughts and spirit are probably likewise. But, if the heart is undisciplined, it goes from appetite to appetite, chasing desires. This chaos becomes a discipline in itself, and this discipline becomes a “spirit.”

What’s a spirit? A spirit is what suggests or governs desires. We are a spirit unto ourselves—a sociopath’s spirit says, “There’s no one but me.” A typical person’s spirit adapts to the spirit of culture or whatever is trending. We are familiar with good and bad spirits—hopeful, depressed, expectant, disappointed, pessimistic, loving, hateful, etc.

Here’s the problem: Your heart doesn’t like to be told what to do. It is a spirit unto itself. Without a spirit’s interference, the heart is driven by pure desire. The ends justify the means. Your heart is a spirit that makes everything up as it goes along and relies on the mind to find a way to reconcile conflicts.

The Prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (17:9, NASV). This is practically the opposite of our culture’s spirit, which says, “Follow your heart—be your authentic self.” The heart is naturally self-centered and we typically discipline it to serve ourselves.  The heart always says, “I want—make me happy!” Your “authentic” spirit is selfish, and often foolish.

What spirit(s) are guiding you?

A wise person chooses a great and good spirit and becomes a disciple. He or she disciplines him or herself to listen closely to the spirit and be governed or “walk” in that particular spirit. A fool has no discernment when it comes to spirits. He or she does whatever feels good at the moment, without reference beyond self.

The saddest people in the world are those who know a good and great spirit, but live as a fool. They are plagued by regret, remorse, guilt because they are undisciplined.

For the life of TR8S I have tried to write about the spirit of Jesus and those who choose to be his disciples. This entry is clearly different from the previous. Before I used abstractions and analogies, here, I’m speaking concretely.

Today’s TR8 is obvious. Choose the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, as your spirit. Give yourself to Him because he is demonstrably the greatest and best of all who have walked on this planet. You’ll find His spirit in the Gospels and nudging at your heart if you listen closely. Jesus said, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6, NASV).

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TR8: Let the Spirit of Jesus guide you. Become His disciple and discipline yourself to His way.

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