It Came From Within – Andy Stanley

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February 7, 2011 by Chris French

I got this book from a friend. This is the first time I’ve read any of his work, but I went to McKay’s today to look for more. This guy’s awesome. His stuff is so practical and he’s an easy read. Anyhow on with the book review.

There are four beasts that assault our hearts: guilt, anger, jealously and greed.  

Guilt says, “I owe you”. You’ve got to pay that debt for your guilt to go away. I pay the debt by confessing completely to whoever I’ve hurt.

Anger says, “You owe me.” Some people spend years being angry, but that debt can’t be paid. There’s no way for a father to repay the debt he incurred for walking out on his family. The problem with anger is it won’t stay put. It will spread to every facet of your life! You need to figure out the root cause of your anger and decide to let it go. You do this by stopping using your story as crutches, instead use it as an example of God’s ability to free you from the past. The SOLUTION to anger is forgiveness. (1) You need to identify the people you’re angry with. Make a list (2) Figure out what they owe you. They took something from you, what was it? (3) Cancel the debt. Make it a physical action. Write it down and burn it, nail it to a cross, bury it. (4) Dismiss the case. When those old feelings of anger come up remind yourself that the debt was paid. We need to remember that forgiveness is a decision not a feeling. Sometimes I don’t feel like forgiving, but I must! (Matt. 18.21-35)

Greed says, “I owe me.” Greedy people think that everything that comes their way and everything that could possibly come their way should be theirs. Greed is sneaky, because we’ve turned it into a virtue. Greedy people are savers or they’re making sure their financial future is secure. You can tell you’re greedy if you attach strings to the money you give people. Maybe your family hates to bring up financial issues around you. I have way more than I need, so why is all that there? There are some options (1) So your children can have everything they need. Leaving your children a lot of money usually ruins them. They didn’t work for it so they don’t appreciate it. (2) So you won’t have to worry. You don’t lean on your accumulated assets for peace! In fact, the more you have the more you worry about it. (3) To elevate your standard of living. Our lifestyles don’t even keep up with our income! (4) So you can retire early. This was the farmer’s idea in Luke 12. He didn’t realize that his free time was an asset he needed to steward. So why do we have extra? To give it to others! If one brother has two cookies and his brother doesn’t have any their parents would make the boy with 2 share. We get it with cookies, why not with money? Greed is CONQUERED by generosity. Jesus says you’re greedy if you’re not willing to give to the point that it changes your lifestyle. I’m still working on this one personally, but Stanley’s right when he says that my assets aren’t mine anyhow, I’m just managing them.

Jealously says, “God owes me.” I’m not mad because the person I’m jealous of has what I’m jealous of. I’m mad that I don’t have it! So my problem isn’t with that person, my problem is with God. Jealousy is dangerous because it changes my opinion of the person I’m envious of. It’s hard to actively love someone or submit to someone you’re jealous of. James 4.1 says we fight because of an internal conflict. We want something and can’t have it. The desires James talks about could also be translated pleasures. These pleasures are things that we can never fully fill, like money, power and hunger. Everytime we fill these desires they come back. We need to own the fact that all our fights come from not getting what I want. Instead of getting mad at someone else because they can’t fill those desires we should bring them to God, He’s the One who gave us those desires in the 1st place! I need to confess to God that my root problem is that I’m not getting what I want then dump all my desires on Him. Sometimes God says, “No” to those prayers, but I should still bring them to Him, because I need to learn to depend, ask, lean and cry out to Him. He doesn’t give me some things because they’re not in my best interest. They’re not good for me. I also need to learn to take no as an answer and not take things into my own hands. To KILL JEALOUSY I need to admit it’s not about the person you’re envious of. You’re just not getting what you want. Once you admit this start CELEBRATING the people you’re jealous of. Become their biggest fan and do it vocally.

How do I teach my kids to protect their hearts? I need to teach them the importance of confession, forgiveness, generosity and celebrating others successes. I also need to pray with them, model good habits, make sure they’re in church and look for teachable moments. The heart problems are a big deal because they make intimacy on any level harder. Intimacy with God and others. Fix it before it takes over your life!

Sorry this review was so long, but there’s so much good stuff in this book that you should really just read it yourself.

 

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