Everyday Theology: Just Listen to Your Heart

Back in the 80’s, the Swedish pop group Roxette had a hit song called “Listen to your heart.” If you were either a fan of the group (I’m sorry) or survived the 80’s relatively unscathed (except for the odd Duran Duran flashback) you might remember.

Listen to your heart—when he’s calling for you
Listen to your heart—there’s nothing else you can do

Now you remember, don’t you?

Sadly, this awful song was in my head as I sat in the Zurich Airport waiting for my connection to London Monday morning (yeah, I know). But this song reminded me of something we all too frequently think is a good idea:

Just listen to your heart.

It makes for a great…err, well, it makes for a pop song, but it’s lousy theology. Why?

Because, “my heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick!” (Jer. 17:9)

I’ve written about this subject before, but it bears repeating:

Often the worst thing we can do is listen to our hearts. Because our hearts are naturally inclined to sin, they will always lead us to things that displease God, but seem right in our own eyes. The serpent’s tempting of Eve in the garden is a perfect example. He convinced her to distrust God, that He was holding out something really good from her and Adam. The text says, “[W]hen the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” (Gen 3:6).

We can’t miss that—she saw that it was a delight to the eyes. It seemed like a good thing. Her feelings told her, “Go for it!”

And both she and the man did, which brings us to today; to a culture that continues to pummel us with the same message, over and over again: “Just listen to your heart. Do what feels right. You deserve it.” [Read more…]

Made in the Image of God: Spirit

“For though the divine glory is displayed in man’s outward appearance, it cannot be doubted that the proper seat of the image is in the soul.”
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion Book I, page 163

When discussing man being made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26), we need to understand just how important a good understanding of this truth is. Without a clear understanding that humanity is made in the image of God, it is far to easy for us to write off others as somehow sub-human. That they are less worthy of respect than ourselves. Truly, we cannot live out the greatest Commandments, to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27, Mark 12:30-31), without having this biblical framework. Within this, there are several attributes that we share with God. The first we’ll look at is our spirit.

“God is Spirit,” says Jesus in John 4:24. Throughout the Old Testament, the Spirit of God repeatedly appears, beginning in Genesis 1:2 (“The Spirit of God was hovering over the deep…”). The Spirit of the Lord falls on ordinary people, allowing them to act as God’s voice on Earth (see 2 Samuel 23:2). Through God’s Spirit, His plans, purposes and desires are revealed to us.

When God created humanity in Genesis 1:26-27, God set us apart as unique among all creation. In doing so, he also gave us spirit. At conception we are given a soul, although we do not know exactly how, according to Ecclesiastes 11:5. Zechariah 12:1 tells us that God “form[s] the spirit of man within him.” In death, Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, “the spirit returns to God who gave it.”

[Read more…]