The heart is the garden of the human soul. It is the place where God's Word can be <a href="http://ntehhfc.com">cutatviled</a> and nurtured, but also where sin can be. (see Psalm 119:11). If the heart is perceived as the root of all manifestations of sin David prayed a hopeless prayer when he prayed, Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).Whenever farmers plant new seed in the same soil, a violent and toiling process precedes first. They torch the entire field all the way down to the roots For our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:28-29). The field (garden) is spared but all that was growing there is killed. This process also causes the ground to become fertile for planting new seeds. The new, good seed is planted, takes root, and good fruit is produced as a result. The root of sin is selfish pride, and without the Holy Spirit, it can and will corrupt the entire heart (Jeremiah 17:9). The supreme question is, What are you allowing to grow in your heart? This incorporates the Christian saint as the one who is in charge of maintaining the garden of Christ. The Christian is the landscaper/farmer, and he knows it takes persistent and consistent labor and toil to attack and destroy the weeds of selfish pride that incessantly spring forth. This demonstrates the Apostle Paul's ongoing fight and keeping of the faith in (2 Timothy 4:7) I have FOUGHT the good fight I have KEPT the faith. So why fight against such an unconquerable foe such as selfish pride? Because if we do not, it will consume our garden (heart). Dear struggling Christian, the root problem is not your heart, it is what you love to plant there. There is something in the fruit that your pride produces that you are willing to eat it, knowing there is only 1% good food, and 99% poison. Rats eat rat poison because it is 99% good food and 1% poison. I believe the enemy of our souls laughs at us when we act dumber than rats. The addressing issues are all self-will. For example, self-righteous pride, self-exalting pride, know-it-all pride, vanity pride, spiritual pride, self-gratifying, self-seeking, self-serving, hypocrisy (being a Pharisee); these all say, I want I want I want! Have I not just described to you all the elements of lust and covetousness? When these roots are dealt with and attacked, something amazing happens in the heart (garden). It begins its journey toward becoming clean and fertile. Now new roots can begin to be <a href="http://ntehhfc.com">cutatviled</a> and nurtured, but these selfish pride issues must be fervently dealt with or there will never be true heart change/true repentance! This is the process which we see in many of Paul's epistles called puting-off and puting-on. The more we put-off the old, and put on the new, the more we fall in love with the planter of the new, Jesus Christ. And here is the sustaining power of being an overcomer. Again, being an overcomer means Jesus overcoming YOU in your heart (garden). It starts with brokenness and Godly sorrow over your sin, and seeing yourself right in His exposing light. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly sorrow (sorry you got caught, hating only sin's consequences) brings death (2 Corinth. 7:10). Dear one, you MUST be willing to go through the painful process of allowing God to show you who you really are as He sees you in His exposing Light. Only He can expose the roots in your garden that you cannot and will not see. It is the fear and loathing of this crucial and painful process of repentance that has kept you in your chains. Yes His hand is gentle but the pain comes not from His hand, but from how huge and deep the roots of this cancerous sin have spread and grown down in your heart. As a Biblical Counselor, the hardest thing my counselees face is agreeing with this harsh truth the Holy Spirit brings: The problem is not your sexual sin, the problem is you. But once they are able to come to grips and confess this truth, true heart change actually begins to take place for the first time in their lives. Only then do they see that they have been spitting in Jesus' face all along, taking advantage of His grace. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? The change does take place in the heart. And yes, the heart is where all the activity happens. But sustaining freedom comes when the roots of pride are destroyed there and replaced with righteous new seeds that Christ Jesus plants. What good would it do you if God freed you from your sexual sin but never touched your pride? (Pastor Doug Detert). That would only be self-improvement. God's will is not self-improvement. He wants you to be crucified so you can be resurrected. If anyone wants to be my disciple, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Me (Matt. 16:24). Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean (Matt. 23:27) -JesusDear Heavenly Father, I pray this sobering message reaches the hearts of the confused, hopeless, prisoners of sin's clutches. Jesus, you came to bring a sword. And Lord Jesus it takes no less than Your sword to slash through sin-hardened hearts swindled by self-empowered easy-believism, cheap grace, lullaby messages, and pride. Father, help those going around and around the mountain, through the resurrection power of Your Word, and the sweet conviction of the Holy Spirit, to learn that the way out is by crucifying their stubborn stiff-necked pride and self-will, laying down their lives and becoming crushed grapes and poured out wine for the sake of others. Jesus, You showed us the way up is down, because You were always in the low places being a foot-washer a Servant of all. Lord God, lead all those reading this blog to the right place, the right counselor, at the right time. Give them courage to place themselves on Your operating table so You can perform the heart surgery necessary for holy living that is pleasing and glorifying to only You. In Jesus holy and precious Name above every name, Amen.