“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience
unto righteousness” (Romans 6:16). If you consider a broad range of people you will find them motivated in life by a variety of factors. Each person’s everyday choices and decisions are steered by one primary, motivating factor. The person may not even realize what that factor is, but when they stop and consider the decisions that bring them to the point where they are in
life, they see it. The realization may not be a pleasant experience, but it can be life-changing.
Have you sat down and analyzed your decisions in life? Have you honestly asked why you have done the things you have done? Pause
for a moment and ask if any of the following things could be driving your life. I have listed many things which lead one away from God. I have also listed some things which have their proper place in one’s priorities (behind Christ). For emphasis, I have placed the lordship of Christ last. Keep in mind, these things are to be honestly and soberly assessed. If the one that best fits you is the lordship of Christ, rejoice!
— You are doing well. But if the motivating force of your life is sinful, or is a misplaced priority, please change . . . Now, what is controlling your life?
“Love for family?”
Every man and woman has two hearts. One is the physical organ called the heart that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the human body. The other is spiritual in nature. Some refer to it as the mind of man. Others call it the soul. It is this second heart about which we are speaking in this article.
The heart is referenced hundreds of times in the Bible. In the New Testament alone, the heart is mentioned 106 times in 99 verses. The Greek word for heart is “kardia.” Strong defines the word “heart” as “the heart, that is, (figuratively) the thoughts or feelings (the mind).” Thayer gives a much more detailed definition of the heart:
“The heart, denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life: the centre and seat of spiritual life; the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors; of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence; the will and character; of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad way or good, or of the soul as the seat of sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions.”
The heart of man is his control center. Every thought, emotion, word, and action originates first in the heart of man.
Ultimately, each human being is the one who controls his/her heart. We sit in the driver’s seat. We are at the control panel. God longs to be in control, but He will not force anyone to yield the control of his heart to Him.
There is a sense in which we only “think” we have control of our hearts. The reality is that our hearts are influenced by the things that we allow in them. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Prov. 23:7). The things upon which we think, reflect, and meditate are what really control our hearts. This is why the wise Solomon wrote: “Keep they heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). If we think about positive things, our lives will be positive. If we think on good things, our lives will be good. If we dwell upon evil things, our lives will be evil. Our control is manifested in our choices of what goes into our hearts. Jesus summed it up with these words: “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matt. 12:35).
Who is controlling your heart? Who are you allowing inside you heart? There are really only two answers: Satan or Jesus Christ. If we want to think right, speak right, and act right, we need to give our hearts to Jesus. We do this by submitting ourselves fully to His will found in the New Testament. Listen to Paul’s word to the Corinthians: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5). A war is being waged in the minds of men. Strong holds, imaginations, and high things from Satan seek to influence us. We cannot allow these things to control us. We conquer these things by “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Will our hearts be influenced by good or evil? Will our hearts be influence by truth or error? Will our hearts be influenced by the Spirit or the flesh? Will our hearts be influenced by love or hate? Will hearts be influenced by holiness or by sin? These are our choices. This is where each one of us is in control. Paul understood this and wrote to the Philippians, saying: “”Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8).
Fortunately, it is easy for us to see who is controlling our hearts. All we have to do is examine our lives. We audit our thoughts. We listen to our words. We inspect our behaviors. We probe into our motives. This must be done sincerely and honestly. There can be no excuses or justifications. If we find all of these things to be in line with the truth of the gospel, we are fine. On the other hand, if we find our thoughts, words, motives, and behaviors to be evil, we know that we are allowing something other than God’s will to influence us.
It is possible for us to deceive ourselves if we are not careful. If the Jews had been asked: “Do you love God?” They would have responded with a bold affirmative. But listen to what Jesus had to say about them. “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:7-8). There are Christians who would assert that they love God with all of their hearts (Matt. 22:37-38), but they are deceived because they hate a brother or sister in Christ. John tell us: “If a man say, I love God and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he that not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21).
Dear reader, you are in ultimate control of your heart. You have the ability to allow Christ’s words into your heart to direct you, or, you can allow Satan’s evil influences into your heart to lead your life. Your attitude, your motives, your words, your emotions, and your behaviors scream out to the world who you are serving. Too, God knows exactly who you are allowing to control your heart. We will close with David’s words to Solomon found in 1 Chronicles 28:9. “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever.”
“Your salvation doesn’t depend on your quality as a human being but on the value of the blood of Christ. We have to stop looking at the magnitude of our sin and start looking at the magnitude of the cross.” – Gary Massey; 2 Cor. 3:5
Yes, you can count on me to be your “friend.” Let me give you some
“fatherly” advice. Dear Young Person:
Do you at times feel neglected, that no one is interested in you?
Please do not ever feel that way again. I am keenly interested in you,
for I realize that you are most impressionable in your youth. I cannot
reach many of your “old fogy,” “know it all,” “set in their ways”
parents. Consequently, perhaps most of my most valuable time,
attractive “tactics,” and smooth conversion “techniques” are spent
One, do not spend much time in studying the Bible. I want to help
you make vital decisions, those which will affect you for a lifetime,
even for eternity. However, those who meditate upon the Word of
God find themselves not desiring to listen to me. Do not feel that you
need to quote scriptures, like Christ when He was tempted.
Two, please do not really think that you need to attend every worship
service. Just look at the examples of many so-called Christians who
are grown; when you grow up, you will be able to forsake the
assembly also. You see, you too will learn that other things are more
Three, it is vital to remember that you are young only once. My,
everybody has the “right” to sow his wild oats, does he not? Have you
not observed that religion is really for old folks? Besides, do you wish
to give the impression to your friends that you are a coward, that you are
not the master of your own life, that you cannot think for yourself?
Four, expect the church to entertain you. Do you not have every right to
expect the same excitement within and without the worship of the church
that you receive from television, the movies, at the ball park, etc.? If they do
not have a comedian in the pulpit and a ministry of recreation, be loud in
If this fails, show your disapproval by staying home or by seeking out a
church which is “really interested” in young people. Remember, “ask not
what you can do for the Lord, but rather what He and the church can do for
you”! Five, demand a Bible that reads like a comic book. No one should
expect you young people to study hard to understand God’s will for your
lives. It is just so frustrating not to have a “Bible” that you can understand.
Certainly, that old archaic King James Version and even the American
Standard Version are just beyond your ability to grasp.
Six, do not let anyone tell you how to live your life. Anyway, how can one
really “know the truth” from a Bible so full of contradictions? Oh, have
you been told you can trust the Bible? Do not believe it! Your guess as
to what the Bible teaches is as good as that of anyone else. Besides, have
you not heard? It is the age of “do your own thing.” Have you not
learned by now that certain things are “wrong” only in certain situations?
What was “wrong” when your parents came along (dancing, drinking,
smoking, immodest dress, gambling, sex outside of marriage, drugs, etc.)
is not wrong now. They warn you of these “forbidden pleasures” only
because they do not want you to have a good time.
If any of your friends need to feel “loved,” pass my letter on to them.
However, if your parents, the elders, or the preacher see it, they may not be
impressed. I am interested in having you spend eternity with me, also.
Your friend (?),