How to Deal with Gunk in Your Heart
Paul DeanDr. Paul J. Dean's Weblog
- 2020 Jan 09
There’s one thing we have to get right if we’re going to deal with gunk in our hearts. More on that momentarily.
Deal with Gunk in Your Heart: Learn to Think Biblically
We face a variety of temptations every day and all day. It’s easy to ignore what we might call little sins like impatience, anger, frustration, pride, gossip, etc. But even the little sins are still sin, and they plague us.
At the same time, so often we think or act like certain sins are mere feelings, that they just happen, and that we have no control over them. I might feel unhappy, angry, or anxious, and I might feel as though I can’t help it. I might feel depressed, and I feel I can’t help it.
We think this way because the world thinks this way. The world tells us that depression is a psychological problem to be coped with in one way or another. Some will say you need some non-directive counsel in the form of understanding and affirmation. You might be given some coping techniques that may or may not make you feel better. Others will say you have a chemical imbalance in the brain and what you need is medication. You may have a chemical imbalance, you may not. They don’t know. But they do know that psychotropic medication doesn’t relieve depression symptoms in as many cases as it does, or that in countless instances it makes persons feel worse and is often a catalyst for suicide. Of course, if you’re on medication, don’t stop taking it without your doctor’s supervision. That could be deadly as well. Regardless, there’s something spiritual going on if you’re depressed.
Deal with Gunk in Your Heart: Christ is the Answer
The truth is that we have two kinds of problems: spiritual or physiological. There is no third set of problems the world calls psychological. In fact, we get the word psychology from two Greek words put together. It literally means a word about the soul, or the study of the soul. Who better to deal with the soul than God? Psychological problems are spiritual problems, and in the Scriptures we have everything we need to deal with those problems (2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16). And it’s that reality we have to get right if we’re going to deal with gunk in our hearts.
Deal with Gunk in Your Heart: Understand the Real Problem
But what about overlap? Aren’t there things that affect our mood like hormones for example? Yes indeed. A woman’s hormones are out of balance after she’s given birth. A person with diabetes will have sugar and insulin issues. These are physiological dynamics that often affect the spiritual dynamic. We think of mood swings in postpartum mothers and diabetics. However, the anxiety or anger these individuals may experience are not caused by the hormonal issues. The anxiety or anger is already in their hearts. Postpartum conditions and diabetes are like a barking dog outside your window when you’re trying to sleep or a person screaming in your face. They don’t cause your irritation but only stir up the issues already in your heart. Remember, out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).
Now, here’s the point. He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 Jn. 4:4). The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22). Your postpartum state, your diabetes, or whatever you face cannot keep the Holy Spirit from bearing His fruit in you. The truth is that depression and anger are rooted in faulty thinking: sinful thinking. But the good news is that Christ came to deliver us from our sin. He came to enable us to overcome our sin. In Christ we can have peace and joy (Phil. 4:4; Jn. 16:33).
Deal with Gunk in Your Heart: Fight the Real Battle
You can deal with gunk in your heart. It may not be easy. It may take time. It will take time. It will take effort. You’re in a spiritual battle, and the battlefield is your mind. You have to recognize that, and then you have to decide to fight the battle – long term. You have to constantly make a decision to stop thinking sinful thoughts and replace them with godly thoughts. You do that through the renewing of your mind (Col. 3:8-17). You meditate on God’s word, memorize it, and call it to mind when you are tempted in one way or another. You fight your flesh with God’s word. You fight your sinful inclinations with truth. Let me say it one more time; if you want to deal with gunk in your heart you have to fight. And fight some more. But remember, the battle is the Lord’s and He will give victory (Eph. 6:10-20)..
Sign up free for "True Worldview News," a weekly e-mail newsletter highlighting relevant news stories affecting Christians. Dr. Dean’s comments on selected stories along with editorials are included. The newsletter also features True Worldview, a twice-weekly podcast hosted by Dr. Dean and his daughter, Christi Johnson. The e-newsletter goes out each Friday. Go to the True Worldview website or email Dr. Dean directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive you first issue.