Wrong Headed Kendall Lankford
May 27, 2018
A right walk with God begins in the head. It starts with right beliefs about God, which then overwhelm the heart with love for Him, and then incite the hands and feet to serve Him. To say this another way, knowing God rightly is the key to loving Him with genuine desires that overflow into righteous affections. And, when godly affections for God begin to take root in the heart, right living for Him will naturally follow. That is why I say that
it all begins in the head.
Now here’s the point I am driving at, if we want to love God best, and live in such a way that is pleasing to Him, we must understand who God is. We must think about Him rightly. This means we cannot skip the head and jump straight to the heart. We cannot get on to the “doing” before we settle the “knowing”.
“We must have right beliefs about Him before we can ever dream to have right affections and actions for Him.”
The inverse is also true
When we begin to notice our hearts are in the wrong place, or that our actions no longer align with Scripture, it is certain that a right belief has gone wrong somewhere inside our heads. This is how Satan attacks us best.
Before he does anything else, he lays a full-scale siege against our minds. Why? Because if we have wrong beliefs about God, it will eventually sour our hearts towards Him. And when our hearts are soured our hands and feet will soon be paralyzed from godly living.
Satan understands where we are most vulnerable. He works hardest and most subtly on our theology before moving along to our bodies.
Let’s examine how this works to illustrate the point. Look at a notable sin like pornography, which affects both men and women. A person who struggles with this sin may assume that pornography is the real issue. And they may assume that stopping is only a matter of doing. They may suppose: "if I would simply stop consuming the material, then I could get back in right standing with God."
But this will not work long term.
Why? Because pornography is not really the issue. If all the pornography sites in the world were outlawed that day, the person would not really be cured from the lust that is lurking inside of them.
Pornography is not really the issue
Why? Because long before the hand navigates to the page, the heart has already become enflamed towards empty hollow pleasures. The heart’s true happiness and joy are no longer yearning after an infinite God that is breathtakingly beautiful and wholly worth pursuing above all things. So, limited, nude, finite flesh is substituted and laid out for the carnal heart to revel in.
But why does this occur? Because almost unnoticeably in the background, the enemy has been quietly attacking the mind. Long before the heart went sour the mind was undermined. The enemy of our soul comes whispering things that challenge our view of God. Things like “Is God really most satisfying?” “Will God deny me pleasure?" or "Won't He forgive me just this time?"...
Do not be mistaken.
These are theological statements that are attempting to undermine God. These are attacks upon the mind by an enemy who wants to see us fall. Regardless of the sin, in the moment of temptation, the enemy is challenging whether God is really is most satisfying. He is inviting the man or woman to believe that God is a pleasure sucking monster that would condemn us to a prudish joyless existence of cold dead religion. He even asserts at times that we may go on sinning because God is abounding in grace for us.
But this could not be further from the truth!
God is most satisfying! And the reason He forbids us to pursue limited pleasures like pornography (or any other sin) is that the pleasure He offers us is infinitely better without all the soul-damaging effects of sin! Like Paul said, we are not to sin so that God's grace may abound (Romans 6:1), we have been freed from sin in order to become slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18).
All of this to say, we must have right thoughts about God!
If we do not have right thoughts about God we are left vulnerable to the enemy's attack
Satan attacks the mind in order to spoil the heart and leave us broken in our walk with God. But, God offers us the truth to overwhelm our hearts and leave us utterly satisfied in Him.
My encouragement for you
Start with the head. Fill your mind full of beautiful and excellent truths about God from the Scriptures. You do not need a systematic theology to do this, only a patient commitment to be schooled under the authority of God's Word. This will not leave you empty, but filled with a richer and more satisfying love for Him, which will spill out into godly living for Him. Then when Satan comes whispering to you, you can rebuke Him with the truth that has been firmly established in your mind.