Wednesday, October 24, 2007

appearance and the heart

Wouldn't it be nice if our good appearances would always match our true selves, who we really are. I can do the right things and look alright on the outside, and yet know in my heart that I'm not alright.

Among the most haunting words in the Bible for me refers to a certain king of Judah who did what was right, but not with his whole heart. It more than makes me wonder whether such a life is right or acceptable at all in God's eyes.

This is when we can look to God for the goal of having our actions and motives or heart be coming together so that we're not "double-minded" or double-souled, but true people of God, in whom there is nothing false, or no guile. Our true self will come out in our actions and lives sooner or later, or will be revealed in God's light.

Let's keep doing what's right, even if your heart is not entirely there. But let's confess and pray that God will change our hearts so that we do God's will with our whole heart, more and more.

It goes without saying that I'd like to hear from anyone who has something to share on this, and that's true on any post of course, whether I mention it or not.


Peter Davidson said...

Yea, come unto Christ -- come and see!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Peter, my friend,

We've been through this at least once before. Your Mormon faith is not the faith of the Christian church through the centuries. Here is one link that gives some of the essential difference:

Ted M. Gossard said...

Here's the link more accessible:

Anonymous said...

hi ted,
ah, i think that if there were a more obvious outward appearance as to what is going on inside...that would be quite shocking.
i can easily deceive myself, and i pray that God keeps me in line. i think that paying attention to God and having a relationship with Him, through Jesus, in the form of the Word, Prayer, and the Holy Spirit is necessary in this walk of truth.

God's Love to you.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Good words. Relationship to God is so key.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Good post. A long time ago I read C.S. Lewis where he talks about the relationship between motivations and good deeds, asking the question of whether fallible human beings can very truly do something good that is completely altruistic.

I do not remember all that he said, but the issue is still stuck in my mind these many years later.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

In me no good thing dwells - so no, in and of myself I can have no altruistic motives or actions. the only things that are really good are those that come purely from the Sprits prompting.

but - to the question you asked - wouldn't it be good if we were totally transparent - if we were holy, yes it would! However, we live in the world of real people - believers and non-believers - and some of the believers as nasty and mean as the believers. So, I'm think for the sake of society just "running well" its a good thing we aren't transparent or we'd just blow each other up immediately and a lot more people would die and go to hell.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks. And yes, I think I remember something of the sort. I think it ends up being our goal that we more and more would run towards that completeness in Christ in which our deeds and our heart are one.

I liked Volf's work related, I think, to this. Only God gives needing nothing back. We give from the overflow and help of God's giving to us. We're ever dependent and end up being interdependent on each other. So that our giving and receiving in the reciprocity of community is needed and important.

But by grace I do think we can give to others not in self-interest but with the interest of Christ, as Paul said Timothy did (Philippians). I share this just to let you know where I'm at on it.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, we can't speak all that is in our minds and hearts. Only God can bear all that.

I do believe by the Spirit and grace our hearts can match our heads. But we will fail in this and fall short. I'm just saying that in acts this can and should be true at times in our lives, and more and more, as we grow, in the whole of them. I don't think this contradicts what you're saying here.

God is altruistic in the pure sense of the word. We can be, but it has its limitations. Even Jesus, as a human being needed to get away and pray to the Father. Of course his Godness made him want to do this as well. So as humans we're ever in need of God's giving, and God has made it so we need to give and receive of his blessing, from each other in Jesus.