Steven Furtick - How To Reset Your Heart
The Psalm said, "I incline my heart". It has to happen within. Not just the behavior but the belief that drives the behavior has to change or the change won't stay. We've found this out over and over again. Every new year we learn it again. Lasting change is what I'm after, and I incline my heart. That's an interesting choice of words. If you incline something, that means it was naturally not in that position. That means you had to act upon it in order to orient it in a different direction. Right? We don't incline something that's already upright. It must have meant his heart was declined. The problem with a lot of us is we go through life reclined.
However we wake up, that's how we stay. However we feel, that's how we act. The psalmist said, "I act upon my attitude, and I incline my heart". Did you know you're in charge of your heart? Quit saying people broke your heart. They can't break it if you don't give it to them. He said, "I'm setting my heart in the direction of heaven". I wonder, is your heart set in a divine direction today? Incline my heart. I don't think this is something you do one time. You just inclined your heart to God when you were 12 at summer Bible camp and you never were tempted again. I think we want it to be that way. I want it to be like the infomercial.
Do you remember the infomercial with the Showtime rotisserie oven? The man said, "Set it and forget it". That's how I want my heart to be, like that infomercial. Set it and forget it. I want my heart to just stay there, you know. "Hey, I went to church the first Sunday in January. That ought to get me by. I set it". The psalmist said it's not enough to set it and forget it. He said it's more like you set it, you check it, you reset it, you check it, because all through your day and all through your year, your heart is going to be tempted to decline to a default position. Maybe it's a default position of discouragement or despair or dysfunction, but when you take charge of your heart…
That's what the writer of Proverbs said. It's not just the psalmist who did it. The writer of Proverbs said, "Guard your heart". It's your heart, and that's where the issues of life flow from. Before we can get the windows working, we have to get our hearts open. Hey man, the doctor was fussing at me a couple of months ago about my cholesterol. It lets me know I'm getting on up there in age. I've never had a conversation like this with a doctor before. He's just talking and talking. Blah, blah, blah. LDL, HDL, triglycerides, all this stuff. I know he could tell he wasn't getting through to me, because he took a really drastic turn.
He said, "Hey! I don't want you to be one of those guys who looks really fit on the outside", which made me feel happy that he said that about me, "but then one day you're just outside running and you just fall over of a heart attack. You need to listen to me". I corrected him. I said, "Doctor, I know you have some degrees that I don't have and all that, but you're wrong about that. I don't run. So if I fall over, it's not going to be on cardio". He said, "You can be blocked on the inside and look good on the outside".
You can be successful and fall over, be sexy and fall over, be married and fall over, get a promotion and fall over, be religious and fall over. It has to happen in the heart. But it doesn't start with the heart; it starts with the habits. Your habits create the condition of your heart. I feel like God is going to help somebody set your heart on things above, get your heart set in the right direction, but it's going to require some habits. They're all right there in the psalm. I want to read you the next two verses, because my three habits are right there in the verses. "I set my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end. I hate…" What's that word doing in the Bible? I thought we were supposed to love everything. "I hate the double-minded, but I love your law".
I don't think we should go on until we talk about that. He said, "I hate this. I hate the double-minded". That's not a person I hate; it's I hate the condition of double-mindedness. I hate it. See, the thing about hate is hate is the most powerful motivation to change, not love. Before you start with wanting to reach your goals, maybe the first thing for you to do is to make a decision about some things you hate. It's going to be complicated, because for me, I have a love/hate relationship with some of the things.
I feel kind of like David. One time David's son Absalom died, and Joab came to him and said, "Your son is dead", and David started weeping. Joab was mad, because Absalom was trying to take the throne from David. Absalom had become David's enemy, but David's heart was connected to Absalom, so he was crying. Joab said, "You need to get it together. You hate those who love you, and you love those who hate you. You hate what's trying to deliver you, and you love what's trying to destroy you". I feel that way about certain things in my life, certain actions, certain behaviors in my life. I love how they feel for a minute, but I hate the crash. Certain things in my life, I hate how they feel when I'm doing them. I hate the plank. Exhibit A.
For years, I was one of these people… I would tell you to your face, "I hate to exercise". You can go back and watch my sermon videos from three years ago. I would stand on the stage and say, "I hate to exercise". Do you know why I hated it? Because it wasn't a habit. I didn't do it enough to love it. I hated it. But you don't have to accept your default attitude toward anything. I incline my heart. The moment of realization for me was when I was paying my tailor $450 to come over to my house and let my pants out. I hated it. I looked at him and said, "I hate this, man. I could be using this money to buy new clothes, and I'm paying it to you to make my clothes bigger. I hate this". He said, "Hey, keep eating. It's job security for me". That's what my tailor said.
I said, "No, man. I hate this. I hate this feeling". Sometimes before you can make a change you have to be motivated by… I know it's a strong word. It's not very pastoral. You have to hate it. You have to hate self-pity. The problem with hating self-pity is it feels good like a bag of Doritos on your tongue. See, it's not that I hate the taste of Doritos. I just hated what it did to my waist. He said, "I hate the double-minded. I love your law". Before I can do what I love, I have to know what to hate. I hate this. I love what it does for me, but I hate what it does to me. It's a complicated relationship. A bag of Doritos does something for me. It might not do anything for you. It does something for me.
I have a long-standing relationship with carbohydrates. They have been there for me. In the midnight hour, when I couldn't call on anybody else, I could call on chocolate. So I love it. I love what it does for me, but I hate what it does to me. I hate all this. I hate anger. It makes me feel good. It even gets me some results. I have a complicated relationship with anger. If you get mad enough, you can get people to do what you want, but then you're all alone after they do it. Nobody wants to be with you. I hate being angry, because I hate being alone. I hate the outcome of this and that. I hate what it does to my marriage. I hate what it does to my relationships. I hate how it disturbs my inner peace and puts me in a state of turmoil. It's complicated. It's a complicated relationship that I have with complaining.
I love to complain. Ooh, I love to tell somebody. You can look at me. "Well, the Bible says don't do it". The Bible says don't do it, but it doesn't say it doesn't feel good. It feels really good to complain. It feels like a choice morsel going down as it's coming out of your mouth. Just to unload on them. When somebody says, "How are you doing"? just let them know for five minutes every ache, every pain, every disappointment, every struggle. But guess what? The next time they see you coming, they're going the other way.
It's the law of diminishing returns. It gets you high for a minute. I love to talk bad about people. I do. I shouldn't say these things. I tell myself every week after I finish on Sunday when I'm watching back my sermon, "Furtick, don't say stuff like that. People put it on YouTube and use it against you as a weapon". I just have to tell you I love… It makes me feel really good about my dysfunction to spend a little time discussing yours. I love to talk about other people's dumb decisions. I love it. It's a natural high, because if I can get you down here, then I feel like I'm right here. The only problem is I'm setting myself up for decline.
Now the next time I see you I can't treat you better than I talk about you, so it ruins my relationships. I love what it does for me. It does something for me. Come on, how many will admit it does something for you to talk about what Henry did and what Suzie wore and what they should have done and what their kids are like? But by the same measure you judge you will be judged. I love the taste, but I hate the outcome. I hate it. The problem with a lot of our resolutions for change is that they are not motivated by a healthy kind of hate. There is a healthy way to hate. I hate racism. I hate poverty. That's the only thing that will motivate me to do anything about it. I have to hate it.
I hate bullying. I was bullied. Tony Wigfall jacked me up against the wall. I still remember my head cracking against the wall and my friend Hamilton looking at me, saying, "Don't look at me, man". I still remember the view from up there. I can't see somebody being picked on without seeing myself from up there, just wondering, "Is this guy going to break my face"? I hate it. Holly said to me the other day, "I hate being late". Notice she didn't say, "I love being early", because she doesn't. You have to get to the point… We were going to see somebody. She said, "I don't want to walk in like that".
Until you hate being late more than you love hitting "snooze", you won't make the change. Get that thing on your mind, that bag of Doritos, and say, "I hate it". I hate the double-minded. I hate indecision. I hate it. I'd rather make a bad decision than make no decision. I hate procrastination. I did it a lot, but I finally got to the point where I hate it. I hate the discipline of preparation too, but I hate the pain of procrastination more than I hate… I actually said to somebody the other day, "I never thought I'd hear myself say this, and I used to hate people who said this. I think I like exercise. After three years of doing it five days a week and finding out what works for me, I think I'm one of those people I used to roll my eyes at. I think I like to exercise. I think I've reset my heart".
I declare reset. There are some things in your life that have been on the decline, but God brought you to church on the first weekend of the year, and you're setting your heart in a different direction. You're going to love the presence of God this year. You're going to love the Word of God this year. You're going to love the right things this year. Train your brain to hate it.
I know that's what my dad was trying to do when he made us eat all the food on our plate when we overfilled it at Ryan's Buffet. Vacation memories. He said, "You're going to eat every bite on that plate". My brother and I took turns causing diversions while the other one stuffed our pockets. We walked out of Ryan's with pockets full of food. I'll never forget it. He wanted me to have an association. He said, "I want you to hate waste". Maybe that's why sometimes God lets us get so low: so I'll hate it, so I will despise Egypt, because if I didn't despise it I would be tempted to go back.