God's purpose ought to be our heart's desire.
1 Kings 22:5 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the LORD.”
2 Chronicles 18:4 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the LORD.”
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone."
1 Corinthians 7:19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.
Hebrews 7:19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
Our actions dictate what we value. We ought to look at our actions to see what we value because many of us can easily fall into justifying our actions to avoid the shame and guilt we probably ought to experience to better guide us toward God. If we will not examine ourselves there will be little chance at improvement. We cannot correct what we will not evaluate. God gave us instructions to follow, but because the instructions can create discomfort we often times make excuses not to do it. We ought to seek God's character and any discomfort from doing so will be the affect of self-improvement. Suffering for improvement is good.
"When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?" Pg. 53 Alcoholics Anonymous
We ought to be in training.
Luke 6:40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
1 Corinthians 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
1 Timothy 4:7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.
1 Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
We are trained by our decisions. We cannot act before we decide to act.
By the scripture above it is easy to understand that we ought to be in training. God calls us into active committed engagement of study, practice, sharing, listening, and coaching. People are trained in school, careers, sports, relationships, conformity (society's rules, work, family, etc.), books, and simple skills.
Training is happening everywhere we go. We see signs of instruction, but mostly follow the crowd. We often learn what to do by listening to and watching others. There are many customs and traditions in families, groups, and societies. We have been trained and are still being trained. We learn trends, dances, handshakes, songs, how to dress, and cliches. We download new apps and update our software on our many devices. We learn whatever society tells us we ought to learn by basically following the crowd. If all of our friends are doing it, then we need to do it too! Who wants to the oddball? This includes the Rebels. They are in a group as well. Rebels have their own trends, fashion, and cliches. They do what rebels do.
But what if there was something we felt the need to learn or do that was contrary toward our group? What if the Spirit within us was calling us to be different which would be upsetting to our friends? What if God desired for us to practice and discover things which our friends hoped to avoid? Are they really our friends? Are we really living with and for God? If so, how much? What percent of our day is spent seeking, praying, listening, studying, and talking with God? On a scale of one to ten where one is the typical worldly non-Chrisitan and ten is Jesus where would we be? Are we progressively becoming more like Christ? Are we so much like Christ that our work, words, and hearts are noticeably different from others? Is our love greater than the average non-christian?
Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Many people move through their day following trends, taking advice from friends, and going through motions. Monkey see, monkey do. It’s not very difficult to understand. Society is disciplined through acceptance and pleasing others. We do what our families, friends, groups, and societies see as good or important. People are trained to value being accepted by others. It feels good to be welcomed and recognized with a smile or compliment. It hurts to be rejected, unwelcomed, gossiped about, and unappreciated. Very few people have what it takes to carve their own path or walk the unique path God designed for them. People are conformists. At the very least each individual is influenced by a crowd if not controlled by it.
How can we train ourselves to walk the unique path God designed for us while minimizing the opposing messages from of our pears, church, family, work, groups, school, marketing, music, movies, trends, hobbies, etc.? We ought to value higher our growth in God in our minds and hearts than anything else including our family, friends, careers, and social status. We ought to be progressively becoming more reliant upon God's character than what other people think. We ought to seek alignment with God over alignment with the world.
Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
Luke 21:16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.
One concordance search on ‘brothers and sisters’ found 132 references. The old testament had four of them. Jesus says that we are family by our spirit, those who give themselves to and serve God. We are no longer connected to those who do not serve God from their heart and mind. Yet we are to build the family of believers and followers by helping others to know God and to build Godly character. The error people make in the bible comes from focusing upon material things; blood, genealogies, rituals, and symbols. The correct focus on the ways of God; Holy spirit, love, mercy, peace, etc. The correct recognize the bible's teachings which focus upon the inward content and emphasize it. We ought to align first our spirituality with God which can enable us to correctly perform spiritual traditions and customs. Our teaching and resources out to emphasize strongly and frequently how to build our relationship with God lastly how to perform customary activities. Performing customary activities without spiritual development can lead to an empty experience. It's not the experience that builds the spirit, its the spiritual attitude brought to the experience.
Matthew 12:50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Mark 3:35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
There is a difference between the earthly family and the spiritual family. Some from our bloodline will not follow God while some not from our bloodline will follow God. Whatever the situation we ought to choose associations which assist our spiritual development. If God is our father then we belong to those who serve God. Our family then becomes those who love God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength. We can know who is part of the spiritual family by being connected to God and following the guidance of the Spirit. People who gain wisdom through obedience to God will know what obedience to God looks like. People who are not obedient will not understand it. This is how we will be able to recognize our spiritual family.
If our blood family is destructive and reducing our spiritual productivity we ought to seek God for help. God may invite us to leave that family. This is not an easy choice, but one which may produce freedom and perhaps save some of the family. By our demonstration in doing right others may be influenced. We have a new way of living, a new family, a separation of the old and a putting on of the new. It is dying to the old way of living and welcoming a new way of living. We are to serve God above anything or anyone else. We are not to be part of evil, lies, or spiritual destruction. We are to honor our parents, but not participate in action which harms the soul. We honor with love, truth, mercy, forgiveness and kindness.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
A continued gradual progression of development is the usual procedure for education and training. An overnight complete overhaul of the heart, spirit, mind, and body would indeed be a miracle, but even Jesus went through the productive training of trials. Jesus studied and asked scholars questions as a child. Jesus spent his life learning. Can we teach a five year old child algebra in a day? People do not become educated over night with wisdom and knowledge of experience. Even Paul’s vision in the desert came after years of being around Christians witnessing their devotion to each other which must have been an amazing testimony of God. We require study, prayer, experience of suffering, obedience, God's love, mercy, forgiveness, and the experience of compassion for one another.
2 Peter 1:8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This training, living for God, is a choice. We can be with God and the Holy Spirit or live separately. We can receive grace or deny it. We can seek God or our fleshly desires, speak truth or lie, love or hate, seek peace or conflict. We can be different and experience the spiritual journey, or live a life seeking the material world avoiding the deep inner workings of our spirit. Either way, our spirit will be affected. Our hearts and minds will be affected. The condition of our soul is affected by the thoughts of our hearts. We must make the choice…continually.
Increasing measure; Peter explains the process of growing in Christ. We are to train and train well. We are to commit ourselves toward continued growth and dependence upon God. We will be tested by our fleshly desires and we will give into them here and there. We must be patient with each other in brotherly and sisterly love, forgiveness, mercy, and compassion, but always persevering through self-sacrifice toward God’s commands. There will be mistakes, failures, disappointments, humbling of pride, emotional discomfort, fear, and selfish thoughts set to sabotage our continuing in the journey. And after that, as we walk through forgiveness, submission to God, prayer, and increasing faith, we may have peace, contentment, love, and freedom. We may experience joy greater than anything the world has to offer. We can be welcomed into the kingdom of God.
Willingness to grow, experiment, test, take new action, learn, be a student, have an open mind, and own our own faults are necessary before beginning the journey. If you are ready and desire a continued growth toward God through biblical teachings then this site can help. Read as often as you can the scripture provided, pray often, discuss with others, participate in the character, and reflect upon the inward experiences daily.
Love is the attitude of God's spirit within us
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind...." [Luke 10:27]
Every part of us that thinks, feels, and senses ought to be turned to love God.
To the ancient Hebrews the heart was the mind including all thoughts and emotions. When we are told to love God with all our heart (Deut 6:5) it is not only speaking of an emotional love but to keep our emotions and all our thoughts working for God. The first picture in this Hebrew word is a shepherd staff and represents authority as the shepherd has authority over his flock. The second letter is the picture of the floor plan of the nomadic tent and represents the idea of being inside as the family resides within the tent. When combined they mean "the authority within". http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/27_heart.html
The word for "heart" here is "kardia" = "the thoughts or feelings (mind)" It does not refer to the flesh of the heart that pumps blood, but really our "mind" in the sense of our "soul" or "spirit." The word translated "soul" in the verse is "psuche" (breath). But the word translated "mind" here is not referring to our "soul or spirit" for the Greek word used is "dianoia" which refers to our "deep thoughts" that is, the exercise of our minds. So the verse used "heart and soul" was for emphasis, since they really refer to the same thing: the "spirit," and then adds that we are to love our God with our actual thoughts.
So in summary, the "soul" and the "spirit" are one and the same, just two words meaning the same thing: the eternal immaterial part of each person. I might note that when a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit comes and resides inside our "soul/spirit." http://www.biblebb.com/files/tonyqa/tc00-107.htm
The Bible mentions the human heart almost 300 times. In essence, this is what it says: the heart is that spiritual part of us where our emotions and desires dwell. Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-the-heart.html#ixzz2dwQsgFp3
1. The mind is a constituent of the subtle material body, whereas the soul is spiritual.
2. The heart can refer to the biological heart or the emotional heart: the seat of emotions. The emotional heart can refer either to the soul which is the source of emotions or the conceptual entity where one conceives the beloved to be present. http://www.thespiritualscientist.com/2012/01/what-is-the-difference-between-mind-heart-and-soul/
The heart speaks:
Genesis 8:21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
The heart thinks:
Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
The heart prays:
Genesis 24:45 “Before I finished praying in my heart,
The heart Hardens:
Exodus 4:21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.
Proverbs 23:19 Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path
Our goal ought to be an undivided heart toward God. This means our motivation, inspiration, aspiration, goal-setting, focus, attention, thoughts, eyes, and ears are to be toward God all the time. This is our target and to intentionally not to try with every effort might be sin. We are to apply every effort. Are we living on selfish ambition or are we seeking God's will and applying it into our daily lives?
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
James 3:14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
We make mistakes. But let's not use our imperfection as an excuse not to improve, grow, and change to increase with God. As Christians who have died and surrendered our selfish ambitions, we begin a new life in Christ, serving God as Christ demonstrated, and live toward a new purpose. Our hearts are key in becoming more sensitive and attentive toward the Holy Spirit within us.
We ought to feel God's presence in and around us as we serve God and others by God's Spirit. We understand that God is love and other intangible and immeasurable feeling experiences like forgiveness and mercy. Who can understand forgiveness if they have never experienced it. The experience is required for understanding. We must take action to experience God. We are to socially, spiritually, emotionally and mentally experience love and peace as we forgive, have mercy, and apply generosity. We are to be emotionally aware and present toward these Godly characteristics in life.
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
Deuteronomy 26:16 The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.
We are to observe with all our heart, soul, and the spirit within us. To have ears that hear and eyes that see we are to pay close attention to God's inward sensing and guiding tools, love, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness.
Anger, fear, and shame are also teaching and guiding experiences leading to wisdom. Yet these teach us about separation from God and that there may be something wrong with our faith. We might be living under an understanding that is destructive. We may have learned something that developed in us resistance and defensiveness toward God's desires. We ought to examine ourselves to understand more completely the thoughts and beliefs that drive such an inward posture. God's goal for us is peace and love. God is peace, love, forgiveness, mercy, generosity, compassion, gentleness, etc. If we maintain resistance toward these qualities we might be standing in resistance toward God and our salvation.
We are to set our heart with God
2 Chronicles 19:3 There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God.”
Luke 12:29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.
Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Mark 7:14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” ... 20 “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
There is a significant difference between a person who uses every bit of their heart, soul, mind, and strength compared to someone simply going through the motions . When we serve God, what ever reason we believe for not putting every bit of ourselves into it is the excuse we use to diminish our spiritual condition. Our effort ought to be strong toward God, not weak. The bible is clear that God wants all of us, heart, mind, soul, and strength (see the greatest commandment).
Mark 7:6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."
Romans 2:29 "No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God."
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 "You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
Revelation 1:3 "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near."
May God bless you as you set your heart, mind, and soul toward him each day.
Psalm 34:22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Watch for Idolatry.
Idolatry is placing a higher value on something other than God. God is clear over and over how we are to worship one God. When our hearts long for anything else then we make that person or thing our God. When we give anyone or anything else more time, attention, interest, or desire we make ourselves a slave to it and God secondary.
Increasing interest in other things decreases our interest and reliance upon God. We ought to seek God first always.
Moving away from love and toward pride, lust, vanity, envy, gluttony, greed, or sloth leads us toward destruction. We begin to lose love, mercy, peace, faith, and grace. We build anxiety, stress, worry, frustration, anger, loneliness, and emptiness.