This past February I got to enjoy some wonderful instruction in biblical counseling. (Link here https://www.faithlafayette.org/counseling)
One counselor named Jeremy Pierre shared a biblical model of the human heart (find out more here: https://www.sbts.edu/academics/faculty/jeremy-p-pierre/). In the more comprehensive understanding of the heart from Scripture, it is much more than sentimentality. In fact, it can be better described with at least three overlapping areas: emotional, rational, and volitional. Emotional registers feelings and desires, which are tied to our values – the depths of pain and fear, sadness and joy. The rational portion instructs our minds, making connections and comprehending situations. The volitional involves our intention and will, where we make commitments on what we will be and do, and the direction we turn leading to every decision we make.
Recall Jeremiah 17:9 NIV: “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, who can understand it?”
Sin twists us in each and every area. We avoid painful or scary emotions, even when they make us healthy, resilient and more mature. We seek pleasure and gratification whether through drugs or immoral sex, or adrenaline-fueled experience even if it may kill us. We look for rational excuses that back up what we already believe instead of acknowledging new information which doesn’t fit or disproves what we thought. We bend our wills around these lusts and desires regardless of the impact on others, the counsel of godly people, or the warning from God’s Word or how far we deviate from God’s will.
I can easily find areas in my own heart where sin has twisted my emotions, how I think about those, and then the decisions or even vows I have made as a result. Whether it’s avoiding going to the gym or avoiding difficult conversations that I know are needed, falling into the lure of pornography, or the rationale that tunes into one source of news that I like and tunes out all the others, or the beliefs and decisions earlier in my life that kept me out of church for decades, I can see sin working its way all through my heart.
What kind of spirit are you of? (That’s a reference to Luke 9:55, but you will have to look at the KJV or the NAS versions, because it does not show up in others.)
Call it what it is.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9 NIV)
There is forgiveness, and there is a better way. Look for His Spirit to guard and to guide. Let’s be the ones who live in truth, who acknowledge both the sentiments and the sin, but never rest until each and every area of our hearts are made clean by the lover of our souls.