Honestly, my heart is all about me! At times I think that everything I do is actually motivated by what I want. Under the layering of my nicely formed prayers, my petitions, under everything I do—every thought, action and word, all of it, seems to be motivated by what I want, what I need, what I want to see happening. What I desire so that I can be: more comfortable, more happy, more satisfied.
Even recently, I was pleading with the Lord to deal with the fighting and strife in my own household. Always bickering and arguing, four strong personalities make for a noisy household and volatile conversation. So I asked the Lord to show me what was going on and through a course of events, He showed me James 4:1-2 (AMP)
“What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fighting) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? You are jealous and covet (what others have) and your desires go unfulfilled, (so) you become murderers. You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain (the gratification, the contentment and the happiness you seek) so you fight and war.”
During that time in my household, the strife and conflict I was observing had nothing to do with my family and everything to do with me. I was the one fighting because I could not shape them into the people I wanted them to be. Moaning at them, I was “calling them up higher”, correcting them, disciplining them and teaching them. My disappointment in them (not meeting my expectations) translated in behavior motivated by getting what I wanted. I wanted to be comfortable. I wanted to boast about them. I wanted them to create good impressions. I wanted my peace. It was all about me. Once again!
My “sensual desires” were warring in my body. It was what the bible describes in Romans 8:1-14 as the “flesh.” It is the ‘me, myself and I’ that is so prevalent in my life, it is the flesh in me against the leadership of the Spirit in my life. The flesh is described as our carnal nature: the standards of our lives that are set up by our own desires to rule the outcome of our lives, to be in control.
“For if you live according to (the dictates of) the flesh, your will surely die. But if through the power of the (Holy) Spirit you are (habitually) putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the (evil) deeds prompted by the body, you shall (readily and genuinely) live forever.” Romans 8:13 (AMP)
The ‘me, myself and I’ in my heart, with my unfulfilled desires, is required to be constantly subordinated to the Spirit’s leadership. It is my battle, the constant vigilance against ME, who habitually cries: “What about me!” and “I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now!” It is the ME who needs to be killed, deadened, and subdued.
But, when I stop and stand before the Lord, He shows me my heart, I see how I displace His ways, His truths, His Life in me, and then the real passionate cry of my heart is to be who God wants me to be: to have my heart changed, so that it is ruled by the Spirit and not by ‘me, myself and I.’
In the book “Celebrate Jesus” the writers explore the stories behind our favorite songs and I so identify with Eddie Espinoza, who wrote ‘Change my Heart Oh God.’ He described his state of mind when he wrote the song as: “I had a sincere, heartfelt hunger. Yet there were things in the way – complacency and dissatisfaction. I wanted to get closer to the Lord, but there were things in my life, attitudes that weren’t pleasing to God.”
He knew that these were what Paul calls “the flesh” and in desperation Eddie prayed: “God do something, change my appetites, change my desires. That’s the only way I am going to be free, so, God, I need you to change my heart.” The words he wrote are:
Change my heart oh God
Make it ever true
Change my heart oh God
May I be like You
You are the potter
I am the clay
Mold me and make me
This is what I pray
“Change my heart of God, make it ever true,” is becoming the heart cry of my heart. I have seen the destruction that follows when “me, myself and I” rules. I want His ways to rule in my heart.
- How much of your life is motivated by “me, myself and I?”
- Are you taking time to sit in the Lord’s presence to see where the “flesh” in your life is ruling over what God wants?
- What is your heart cry?
“Celebrate Jesus” is written by Phil Christensen and Shari MacDonald and is published by Kregel Publications.