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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heart Trouble?

So, how's your heart?

No.  Not that heart; the one pumping blood throughout your body.  I'm talking about your other heart.  How's that one doing?

The Scripture tells us in Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."  And Matthew 15:18 says, "But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them."

Author and Pastor Andy Stanley in his book Enemies of the Heart (previously published in 2006 under the title It Came from Within) takes a look at these scriptures and many more to help us understand the seriousness of taking an evaluating look at our hearts - that part of us that is the "mysterious, wonderful, confusing part of you that enables you to love, laugh, fear and experience life.  It's the sphere in which relationships happen.  And it's the sphere in which relationships are broken." (Stanley from Chapter 1)

Stanley identifies four main emotions that control each of us:
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Greed
  • Jealousy
"The heart seeps into every conversation.  It dictates every relationship.  Our very lives emanate from the heart.  We live, parent, lead, relate, romance, confront, react, respond, instruct, manage, problem solve, and love from the heart.  Our hearts impact the intensity of our communication.  Our hearts have the potential to exaggerate our sensitivities and insensitivities.  Every arena of life intersects with what's going on in our hearts.  Everything passes through on its way to wherever it's going.  Everything."
If that statement is true and according to the Scripture it is, then our hearts need to be healthy in order for our words and actions to be God glorifying.  But how can we do that when guilt, anger, greed and jealousy are controlling us?  And how can we conquer the "dynamic debt" that each of the four carry:
  • Guilt - I owe you.
  • Anger - You owe me.
  • Greed - I owe me.
  • Jealousy - God owes me.
The solution according to Stanley is:  Confession, Forgiveness, Generosity, Celebration.  He says,
"Confession allows us to come out from hiding.  Forgiveness allows others to come out from under cover.  Generosity allows us to partner with God as he shows himself in tangible ways to the world around us.  Celebration makes us a vehicle through which God communicates his pleasure.  That's what you were created for, and that's why these habits have the potential to change so much about our lives. Nothing goes untouched."
In short, Stanley really "gets into your business" in Enemies of the Heart.  The book is confrontational, convicting, challenging but encouraging as Stanley points the reader to the Great Cardiologist Jesus Christ.  Stanley is clear through his presentation and exegesis of the Scriptures that Christ alone can bring about the heart transformation we all need.  His writing is conversational and even quite whitty times.

Stanley offers the reader a most valuable gift.  He speaks the truth in love.

You can go HERE to read chapter one.  The book can be ordered from Waterbrook Multnomah by going HERE.  Or you can order through by following the link below:

*I received a copy of the book from Waterbrook as part of their Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.  If this review has been helpful, would you take a moment to rate my review in the box provided below?  This will help me to have a wider access to quality books to review and provide info about to you! Plus, if you rank my review, you will automatically be entered to win a copy of Enemies of the Heart!


jodi said...

I like Andy Stanley. I read another of his books called something about Cheaters or Cheating or something, and it was really good. This looks like another I'd enjoy!