You’ve Got A Heart Problem.

Haley Bodine | November 28, 2023

This past week, Pastor Dave closed out our weekend teaching series, Overflow: the 9 Traits of a Spirit-Filled Life, by talking about the fruit of self-control, the spirit-fueled power to withstand the temptation of something we want now for something we want even more later. 

We’ve all come up against temptations that wear down our resolve for things we ultimately desire. We want to be physically fit, but that donut would be so delicious now. We want to be a safe place for people to share their thoughts and struggles vulnerably, but gossiping about them to someone else somehow feels good in the moment. 

But like the rest of the spirit-filled traits we’ve looked at over the last nine weeks, self-control isn’t about behavior modification but heart transformation. 

You don’t have an anger problem; you’ve got a heart problem. 

You don’t have a spending problem; you have a heart problem. 

You don’t have an eating problem; you have a heart problem. 

You don’t have a pornography problem; you have a heart problem. 

You don’t have a gossip problem; you have a heart problem. 

It feels so futile to try to change. The Apostle Paul understood well when he wrote in Romans 7:21—24: 

I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 

I know I can relate: what a messed-up wreck I am. I can change my behavior, which may bring about temporary change. Maybe it lasts a few weeks or even a month. But then I mess up again, and it feels so utterly hopeless. Who will deliver me from these futile attempts to heal my wounds? 

Paul continues with the good news in Romans 7:25: 

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! 

Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ, my Lord. I don’t need behavior modification. I need salvation. I need a heart transformation. I need something that transforms me from the inside out and supernaturally bolsters me. 

Pastor Dave shared an illustration I haven’t been able to shake: he had two soda cans, one empty, one full. Unopened, the can could not be crushed easily by outside pressure, but the open and empty can did with slight force. The cans were identical; one was filled and pressurized, and the other was not. 

And so, I am reminded that my focus is not to be on fabricating more and more self-control. My emphasis is to be on Jesus, who delivers me from this broken mind and broken body. The only cure is a heart transplant, which is offered only through knowing and following Jesus. 

This week, I hope that in moments of temptation that threaten to short-circuit your healthiest life, you will press into Jesus and hold fast to the promise found in Ezekiel 36: 

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my ways.”