Have you ever found it hard to want to do something that you know is right, or to want to not do something you know is wrong? The human heart is a difficult thing to tame! This is because our hearts have been poisoned by sin so that they no longer function as originally designed, so we naturally love ourselves more than God or other people. The wants and desires of our hearts have been turned inwards. And the result is the mess that human beings have made of the world.
As reformation scholar Ashley Null says, ‘Humanity has to discover a new, stronger ruling love – a love for God instead of a love for self’. But where does this new love for God come from? Can it come from our trying harder to love better, motivated either by guilt or fear or shame or duty or pride? Anybody who has tried this kind of self-improvement knows it is about as effective as holding back the tide at the beach with a sandcastle wall or trying to pull yourself up by the bootstraps.
However, the good news of Jesus Christ is that our hearts can be restored! ‘Only the unconditional love of God made known in free salvation can birth a selfless love for God and others in the human heart’. And this happens day by day when the Holy Spirit assures Christians of their salvation by working supernaturally through the promises of God in the bible. Your prayerful reading the scriptures will build your confidence in God’s goodwill towards you through Jesus Christ, and inflame your heart with a grateful love in return. And this love is a selfless love that will train you to want to love God and love others above yourself.
Rev. Ben Soderlund