It's All About the Heart

  • Jan. 23, 2012
  • #7756

Joni shares that disobedience is always personal because life is personal.

Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I confess, I wasn’t a model teenager!

Now we’re talking those years between 1964 and 67, okay? Sure, it was a long time ago, but sometimes when I hear about the things teenagers do nowadays, I can’t say it shocks me. I know what it's like to disobey your parents. I'm ashamed to say that when I was 17 years old, I occasionally even snuck out of the house on a Friday night to meet my friends at a local drive-in restaurant where the cool kids from all the different high schools were hanging out. Did I feel guilty when I did that? Yes, but not too much. Because I never thought my disobedience was anything personal against my parents – I loved my mother and my father! Really, I did! So I never really considered those Friday night jaunts as acts of rebellion. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything against anyone. I never intended to hurt my parents, it just felt like an indulgence that was a little less than innocent. Sure, if someone had asked, I would have said it wasn’t very honoring to my mom and dad, but like I said, the disobedience didn’t feel personal; it just felt like I was doing what I wanted to do, and the fact that my parents didn’t know about it made it okay. Where was my head?!

Years later, after the diving accident in which I became paralyzed, and after I got serious about the Lordship of Christ in my life, I looked back on those Friday nights and felt deeply ashamed. When I was 17 years old, I may have assumed my disobedience was "nothing personal" against my mom and dad, yet it was personal. As personal as if I had slapped them in the face. Funny how, on those Friday nights, I never stopped to think of it that way. Maybe if I did, it would have been a stronger deterrent, because all disobedience is personal. In fact, all of life is personal.

And it's the same way when it comes to God. Life does not feel like it’s always about God, but it is. When we do things that are wrong, even if they seem small, we are doing them against God; in active opposition and rebellion against him, slapping him in the face, as it were. Funny how, when we catch ourselves doing something wrong, we never think of it that way. We like God. We love him. We don't want to hurt him. And so we deceive ourselves into thinking he is blind to our actions, or is somehow far away and not involved. But Jeremiah chapter 17 says he is close, very close. It says that God is the searcher of hearts, which is why we need to know how the heart is wicked and deceitful above all things, resisting God's intrusive ways and trying to ignore or avoid him... always it is. "We suppress the truth" that we know, says Romans chapter 1.

Because all life is personal and because all of life is about God, I believe we do well to better understand the nature and character of our heart, it's the root that determines whether the fruit of the tree will be good or bad. The heart is our true self. Which is why the Puritans used to say, "sinner, know thyself." Friend, learn to recognize and understand who you really are – yes, as a Christian, the selfish desires of your heart are gradually replaced by a desire to love God and live for him, but that takes work. And to help you along the way, I have a great little booklet called "Motives: Why We Do the Things We Do" which I would love to send you. Just go to my radio page today at and ask for your free copy. Get to know the nature and character of your heart. It'll tell you a lot about yourself and your view of God.

© Joni and Friends

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