A Working Model

I can’t tell you how to read your own convictions. This is something already wired into your consciousness and unique to each individual. It’s written into our very nature as creatures made by God. The question is one of awareness; you must pray and seek God’s face to heal your blindness. This is what redemption is all about.

It’s possible that I can use words to help you build a working model of what’s there inside of you. I can tell you that you have emotions, signals emanating from your physical being. They are informative, but should never be trusted to tell you the whole truth of things because emotions have a very poor grasp of moral truth. They aren’t designed for that in the first place, plus they are under the Curse of the Fall. But what you feel about certain things can serve as a useful clue to what’s deeper, things hidden in your soul from your conscious mind.

I can tell you that your have an intellect or mind that is part of your fallen nature, but that it doesn’t like to acknowledge that. It is loaded with the arrogance of its own wisdom and reason.

You also have a separate facility we can call “the will” that can assert its own authority. Once you are alerted to that possibility, you begin to build a confidence in what the will can know and do. You discover that your will holds the very core of your unique individual identity as a living being, a person — this is where you find your convictions. I can’t prove any of that; it’s just a conceptual model.

But I can most assertively affirm to you that your convictions exist and that they can be read. This is a universal human trait. It has nothing to do with your eternal destiny; this is God’s free gift to all humans born. You can do this; you can discover the connection inside of you that links your mind to your ultimate will. Everyone can know their own moral convictions.

And such knowing is a process, not a one-time discovery. There are layers upon layers of deception in your mind about what’s in your convictions. As part of helping you to delve into yourself, I also try to offer a better cultural model than is common in Western Civilization. I’ve tried very hard to introduce the Ancient Hebrew model because this makes better sense of what the Bible says about God’s desire for us. I talk about how Western mythology makes the heart some murky quasi-emotion thing, but in the Bible the heart is the seat of your will, the place where your moral convictions rest.

This is what we mean by the term “heart-led” — not some shadowy and ill-defined quasi-emotional force, but a very clear and sharp source of moral clarity. It’s an awareness of things you simply cannot ignore without a serious risk of neurosis or psychosis. Your convictions tell you what must and must not do lest you fight reality itself. Your convictions are the voice of God.

Thus, the question of sin against God or holiness in obeying Him is a matter of searching your own heart. It’s not something that can be settled in the mind, but must be sourced in your will. Your mind is there to implement that decision written by the finger of God on the bedrock of your personal identity. Redemption is clarifying in your mind what the heart already knows. It is obedience to God’s divine purpose for you individually. God is the one who made it and He is not hiding Himself; He is hidden by our fallen inclinations to ignore Him. He is hidden by the mind’s willful disregard of the heart, an arrogant assertion that intellect and reason is the best way to discern ultimate truth.

Fortunately, you have within you something that is not precisely your mind, but a separate faculty of conscious awareness. We have no cultural image for that, no theoretical model in human behavioral science. There is a traffic cop inside of you that is linked to the mind, but is not the mind itself. Consciousness is not confined to the brain; we don’t have the language to support that concept with any depth, except to call it “the soul.”

So making you aware of that model itself is the best I can do here. I can encourage you to begin by testing things. Stop and consider; don’t assume your mind already has the right answer. Assume that your factual knowledge — reason and perception — is unreliable, and that you must build the habit of bouncing things off your convictions. Somewhere down the line, it can become a reflex so that you instinctively listen to more subtle leadership from your heart.

It is in your heart that you discover real communion with God and His Creation.

About Ed Hurst

Avid cyclist, Disabled Veteran, Bible History teacher, and wannabe writer; retired.
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