- Many of us desire a perfectly balanced manageable life, but God wants us to pursue a much higher goal.
- A well ordered heart is a transformed heart.
- A well ordered heart is perfected by faithful endurance through suffering.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverb 4:23
John tells us that we should devote our lives to attaing a well ordered heart. He qoutes Augustine to show what a well ordered heart is: A well ordered heart is to love…
- The right thing
- To the right degree
- in the right way
- With the right kind of love
When the heart is well ordered we are not only increasingly free from sin, but also free from the deire to sin.
The game plan
First we have a list of questions we must ask ourselves.
- How and when will I pray?
- How will I handle money in a way that allows me to be closer to God?
- How will I approach work in a way that will help Christ be formed in me?
- How am I involved in Christian community?
- How can I fulfill my daily task with a sense of the presence of God?
Paul says whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.(Colossians 3:17)
By doing something in Jesus’ name means doing it in His character. In other words it’s doing everything how Jesus would do it. Some examples John Ortberg gave were: How do we act towards people when we first wake up? Do we act like Jesus when we drive our car? Do we watch TV in Jesus’ name? Do we work in Jesus’ name? Do we view the people we encounter the way Jesus would view them? Look at that verse again “whatever you do, do it all in the name of Jesus”, it tells us to do everything in Jesus’ name.
Now he moves on to endurance. John focuses on building endurance through suffering. James 1:2-3 says, “brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Most of this chapter uses the story of God promising Abraham a child and then asking him to sacrifice that child. All of this was God’s way of testing Abraham. A test is a difficult experience through which a person’s true values, commitments, and beliefs are revealed.In the Old Testament, test are used:
- only in reference to people of faith, never to heathen nations.
- applied only to people of faith never to the ungodly.
Testing was reserved for a covenant relationship with God. Testing is an act of love.John uses the story of Abraham taking Issac to be sacrificed to show us we should:
- Endure in confusion.
- Endure in doubt.
- Endure in loneliness.
- Endure through unanswered prayers.
- Endure when all seems lost.
- Endure in the midst of suffering.
With a well ordered heart we can endure throughout all trials.