This one snuck up on me. The discovery that this new life in me wants to do right. I’m not a bad person who believes in a good God. I’m a new person now fused with God. And that new me wants to obey this God from this new heart of love. For years I feared that wouldn’t be enough. I was still carrying enough dark and erratic thoughts to convince me that my heart could not be trusted. I bought that lie all through seminary and into the first few years of preaching.
I loved God, and probably thought that meant I shouldn’t trust me if I wanted to be pleasing to him. I, like millions of others, thought that statement in the Old Testament about my heart being wicked and not trustworthy was true about me. It’s not. Not at all. The result of the Cross and Resurrection were this powerful: I have a good and noble and trustworthy heart, and I am maturing into these new clothes! Not only do I not want to do the bad, I also want to do the right. In the past, with that dead, moralistic theology of shame, I never gave myself a chance to hunger or thirst. I always supplied some artificial band-aid to get me back, even though my heart had not been given a chance to respond from its new life. It was devastating to discover my own safeguards and techniques were actually keeping me from getting a chance to do right.
I’m not sure there is a more life-giving revelation for a believer than discovering I actually want to live for Christ, instead of secretly imagining I must resent myself for not wanting to. As long as you see you as a bad person trusting a good God you will surround yourself with teachers and writers who will compel you to promise, care more, care more about caring more, sell out, give it all up, blah, blah, blah. We were made for so much more. It’s an absolute revelation.