Q and A

W.B. from Peoria, Illinois asks...

Follow Your Heart?

Dear Junebug: I believe we judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. This allows us to condemn others for their "evil" deeds, while seeing our deeds as good, because we meant well. The world says "follow your heart", the Bible says your heart is more deceitful than any other thing and will lie to you. Yet most people justify their actions because their intentions are good, and follow their inner voice guided by their heart. They'll even say this guidance is God leading them. How do so many Christians acknowledge the blatant evil deeds of evil men and women who claim to be lead by God as sin, yet we feed our greed for money, success, affirmation and general fulfillment of the flesh with prayers to God to open doors of what we consider "blessing" for us? Should my first course of action any time I hear "God's voice" be to seek the wisdom of a “multitude of council” to determine whether or not the voice was divine or just mine, or do you believe I can at any point trust my intention and my heart to be pure and decipher God's voice from my own?

Posted in Religion on Tue, Aug 17th 2010

Follow the Shepherd

Dear WB:

I have found that we tend to see ourselves through rose colored glasses and look at others through a magnifying glass. It is imperative that we keep this natural tendency in check. I use three GUIDELINES to help me stay balanced in this area.

GUIDELINES for spiritual maturity: 

1. Be open to criticism. If others in your life do not feel safe in confronting you, then you will stay stagnant and never grow. Growth requires pruning. Pruning is the loving criticism of your friends and family. However, be careful who you allow to "prune" you, for some people have wrong motives. I suspect you already know who these people are so stay far away from their advice. Keep a healthy line of criticism open.

2. Ask yourself HONESTLY what your motive is in what you are doing.  Does it pass through the gate of kindness? Meaning, are your actions sincere and loving regarding the person/situation you are dealing with?

3. Most importantly, do your thoughts and deeds line up with God's Word? Let me give you a clue. If you are not reading His Word daily, then you don't know if your actions are in line with His. Get into the Word and pray. I know you will see yourself with clarity and see others through the lens of forgiveness and mercy.  

When you start using these three "GUIDELINES" regularly, you will be on your way to spiritual maturity. A wise Christian freely admits wrongdoing, and accepts criticism with joy; knowing that he/she is growing into a fully equipped follower of Jesus Christ! 

I trust that if you consistently use the GUIDELINES above, you will most certainly hear from God. He says “my sheep know my voice.”   

Listen using God’s Word,