The Established Heart 5 - Recovering Your Childlike Heart - David Mitts
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5 (NASB)
Solomon realizes this principle and directs those who pursue truth and wisdom to return or to repent in the trust of their heart to the Lord. The contrast or the way of the fool is to lean on our own understanding. Why does Solomon use the metaphor of leaning and not just say also to not trust our own understanding? Leaning implies support outside of one's self. But you might answer he said our own understanding?
Yes, it is ours but it wasn’t always. It became our understanding but came from outside of ourselves. We learned our understanding of life through the voices we listened to and learned to trust.
Every child learns to mimic certain voices. These voices may come from our parents or teachers at school. They may come from the media or more recently, the internet. Today there is such a proliferation of voice sources.
The voices we listen to are prophets into our heart. They come from a source of confusion called the “world”.
"Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 John 2:15 (NASB)
Solomon calls this our own understanding that we lean on. The “world” is the source of most of our understanding of life. Its primary method of impartation is through desires and attachments.
"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world." 1Jn 2:16
These three categories, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life describe the desires and attachments of the world, which builds our “understanding” of life. The flesh and its lust describe the desires that we have attached to with the goal of being happy and satisfied “when we get them”. They fill in the blank of: “when I get __________, I’ll be happier”. This can be money, or power, or anything that makes us feel like we are in control. This system of desires quickly devolves into attachments that we convince ourselves we cannot live without.
As we mentioned in the last chapter, it isn’t so bad when it is just dead material objects. No it is when we attach to living beings that we enter into the corruption of our heart which gives birth to the lust of the flesh. This leads us to develop “eyes” for the ones we want in our life.
This is the next level of corruption, the lust of the eyes. You see, pardon the pun, kingdom reality is all about perception. Once we corrupt perception, we corrupt authority.
"Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."" Joh 3:3
When we hear unless we are born again, that we cannot see the kingdom of God, many of us might think this is speaking about some spiritual gift of seeing. This might also be true but I think this is about authority, what rules our life. Our natural birth and education by the kingdom of the world train us in worldly sight. By this I mean worldly values. The currency of the world is possessions. We want to possess things. Next, we want to possess people. This is called power and is the root of all worldly authority systems. How we “see” life reveals the authority in our lives. If we see life through the authority of fear, say the fear of identity death, the identity we think we are because of the words we heard others say about us, what we have unconsciously accepted as “how we are”, then we tend to live obeying that picture, that authority. Our perceptions are then driven by the lust or the desires of that perspective.
An example might help here. Say I have always heard how smart I am. I don’t actually know what that means because I just am me. But I notice when people say that I am smart, I feel more powerful and in control of life. As a “smart” person, I now see the world through things and people that either threaten or reinforce that inner image that lives in my heart as a partial reality. I feel the need to be “right” and I limit my exposure to information and perspectives that support that self-image.
John calls this the lust of the eyes. My eyes see what the lust in my heart has determined I need to fulfill my desires and attachments. This is a selective focus.
When I first saw this drawing, I only “saw” one of the words “the” which is duplicated. My brain made the jump to “fix” the picture. This is how our mind works. We jump to conclusions. This is called the lust of the eyes. The eyes lust to be in control over our lives by selectively seeing what we desire to be complete.
Over time the lust of the eyes develops into the final stage, the boastful pride of life. This is the hardest of heart conditions. This is when we stop listening and just defend what we call truth. Even when the truth is truth, we turn it into a lie by the boastful pride of life. We can take any truth and make it a lie by our pride. This is what turns people off to the gospel. This is the most dangerous place because our pride blinds us to reality. Then to justify our positional truth which is really a lie we surround ourselves with people who agree with our dogma. Yeshua called this the blind leading the blind.
"But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be rooted up. "Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit."" Matthew 15:13-14 (NAS77)
The “plants” which the Father has not planted is those who have aligned their hearts with the world. This is the place of stumbling that happens when we lean on our own understanding. Our own “understanding” is the system of belief, our faith, that we have learned through the statements we have internalized, the conversation of our hearts. The people around us, the education system, even the church we have attended have fashioned us as we have leaned upon this conversation. For most of us, this is the conversation of the world.
""Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!" Matthew 18:7 (NAS77)
Stumbling blocks comes from the Greek word “skandalon” where we derive the idea of a scandal. What is a scandal? It is an action or a perceived action that reflects a moral failure that causes people around us to withdraw from us or to protect themselves from being associated with us. It is one of the chief weapons of the political realm. If someone reveals a scandal about a public figure, that revelation has the power to diminish their standing, or if you will, the conversation about them. Why is this the root that the LORD WARNS ABOUT?
Scandals are about using words to invoke shame. Shame is a tool of the world system to deny the destiny of each child of God. Look with me, at Matthew 18:
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:1-6 (NAS77)
Our destiny, the glory of God manifested in each of His children is dependent on our ability to return to a child-like state of being. The Lord calls this a conversion. In the Passion Bible translation it says this:
"“Learn this well: Unless you dramatically change your way of thinking and become teachable, and learn about heaven’s kingdom realm with the wide-eyed wonder of a child, you will never be able to enter in." Matthew 18:3 (TPT)
I love this picture! The scandals of the world, the stumbling blocks are there to steal our freedom from being like a child in the simplicity of our way of thinking and being. This is hugely important. I am not talking about maturity here. I am talking about living in a state of wonder and openness to God without the fear of shame.
Shame is the goal of the scandal strategy. You just have to see it work on another and it causes you to recoil. Shame or rather the fear of shame is the power of death. It is of the adversary, the devil.
"For Thou hast rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the LORD In the land of the living." Psalms 116:8-9 (NAS77)
The tears and the stumbling come from the trap of our soul laid by words of death, shame, scandals. This is also called knowing someone by their mistakes, their flaws, their flesh.
"Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer." 2 Corinthians 5:16 (NAS77)
When we allow the fear of scandal and shame to affect our ability to see the anointing of God on someone we come into agreement with the stumbling block! Let’s read some of Matthew 18 beginning at verse 7
""Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! "And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire. "And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell. "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 18:7-10 (NAS77)
There is a lot to this passage. What we want to emphasize is the stumbling or if you like, offense. Hands, feet, eyes. These are all about perceptions, deeds, and our walk. When we are motivated by shame, we lust with our eyes, we lust with our flesh, and we walk with a prideful step. These are the gateways to steal our child-like spontaneous being. Shame and scandal are tools of the Kingdom of Darkness to mock and pressure us to conform with the world.
The image of the angels before the throne is a warning to us not to be ignorant of this strategy of Satan.
Then the Lord shares how much more He values us:
"["For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.] "What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? "And if it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. "Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish." Matthew 18:11-14 (NAS77)
This is the true advocacy we have with Lord! He is the champion of the little ones. The ones who trust in Him with all of their heart and lean not on their own understanding will walk in victory
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (New American Standard Bible)
Activation: Profaning shame. Ask the Lord to show you when you changed course in life because of shame. This may be something that happened to you or something you saw that happened to someone else. Ask Him what you lost because of it. Yeshua came to save what was lost. Ask Him to restore what the locust has eaten. Make a special restoration offering.
Malachi 3:10-12 (New American Standard Bible)