Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Don't Follow Your Heart!

Faith is not the same as religious experience or pious activity. Rather, it is turning away from both in order to cling to Christ as he is clothed in his gospel. We live in a 'follow your heart' culture, where it is simply assumed that this will get us to the right destination. It is this philosophy that yields infidelity in marriage and friendships, because it is simply another way of following our immediate desires without any obligation to God or our neighbors. 'Follow your heart' equals 'Believe and do whatever you want, no matter what.' This idea that the deeper we go into ourselves the cleaner, purer, and truer things get is just a fantasy. If, as Jeremiah, Jesus, and the rest of Scripture teaches, our corrupt hearts are the wellspring of sinful actions, relationships, and structural systems that make us simultaneously victim and perpetrator, then this sentimental greeting card theology of 'follow your heart' will just not do...

The gospel transforms us in heart, mind, will, and actions precisely because it is not itself a message about our transformation. Nothing that I am or that I feel, choose, or do qualifies as Good News. On my best days, my experience of transformation is weak, but the gospel is an announcement of a certain state of affairs that exists because of something in God, not something in me; something that God has done, not something that I have done; the love in God's heart which he has shown in his Son, not the love in my heart that I exhibit in my relationships. Precisely as the Good News of a completed, sufficient, and perfect work of God in Christ accomplished for me and outside of me in history, the gospel is 'the power of God unto salvation' not only at the beginning but throughout the Christian life.

Michael Horton from The Gospel-Driven Life (pp. 75-77)

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