Check Your Heart with Jonathan Edwards

Resolution 60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.

I?ve found this resolution of Jonathan Edwards to be incredibly helpful. Our feelings are typically the manifestation of something that’s going on in our heart. If I?m feeling depressed or anxious, it’s usually because I?m craving something or believing something wrong about God.

A few months ago, Bob Kauflin asked me to do the ?announcements? at Sovereign Grace Ministries? Worship God 08 conference, which really meant I was to attempt to entertain everyone with some humorous comments before the main session speakers.

Ever been asked to be funny in front of others?

Friend: “Come on Mark, do your Bob Dylan imitation for everybody. Mark does this great Bob Dylan imitation. Have you ever heard him? It’s hilarious.”

Me: “No, it’s really not that good…”

Friend: “Are you kidding? It’s incredible. Come on Mark, do Bob Dylan.?

Me: ?Honestly, it?s really not that good??

Others: ?Come on, Mark, let’s hear it. We want Mark, we want Mark?.?

Me: ?Oh, all right.? Clear throat. Begin singing in nasally tone: ?Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to…”

Awkward silence, a cough.

Me: ?See I told you it wasn?t funny!?

I?m always concerned my attempts at humor during the “announcements” will have a similar effect. Though I had run the announcements past my humor advisors (my sons Stephen and David and my wife Kristi) and they thought they?d get some laughs, during the times of corporate worship in the conference I found myself distracted and anxious.

So I prayed, “Lord, what’s going on in my heart? What am I craving? Why am I feeling anxious?”

God graciously revealed to me that I was craving the approval of man (flip side of the fear of man). I wanted everybody to think I was funny. I was more concerned about myself and what everyone would think of me than seeking to glorify God by serving his people. Also, I was not trusting Jesus to help me: unbelief. As I confessed my unbelief and selfish craving of man’s approval, Jesus brought a measure of peace to my heart and I was able to enjoy worship, though I still had to continue battling to focus on Christ.

So the next time you find your feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when you are conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I would encourage you to subject yourself to the strictest examination. Ask the Lord what you are craving that is driving your feelings and ask yourself what you are believing about God at the moment.

photo by practicalowl

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Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.

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