The lifestyle choices of the heart

From time to time I will simply post unadorned reflections from my readings of Scripture

These are simply thoughts that arise from my own devotions and I don't want to make them into elaborate statements.  Please don't read them as if they are  perfectly worded or theologically precise.  When I do this I simply feel the learning worthy of sharing with friends.  Treat these as conversation starters.  Here is one on Rom.2.....

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.” ~ Romans‬ ‭2:1-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬
  • Huge emphasis here on actions and choices that together form a spiritual lifestyle.
    • We are always disciples (of) one way or another.
      • We are (pre)scripted to live out certain life-styles.
      • Which in turn involves a way of seeing and interpreting the world.
        • A selective perception, a predisposition, and a orienting consciousness, mental model, by which we all negotiate our way through the world.
      • Paul follows the Jewish wisdom tradition in asserting that in the end there are actually only two ways...only two alternatives.  Either we are  disciples of righteousness (and therefore ultimately disciples of Jesus) or we are disciples of unrighteousness.
  • Then there is the emphasis on obeying the truth or obeying unrighteousness
    • Elements of what Lutherans call "tropological hermeneutics" here:
      • That is, it is only by obeying the truth that one can truly understand the truth itself. 
        • Disobedience on the other hand blocks one’s capacity to hear and understand God’s voice.
          • To choose to disobey effectively means eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil all over again as it sets the human as the judge of what is considered good and evil, thus displacing the Word of God.
        • Obedience to truth unlocks the meaning of truth while disobedience, as a fundamental rebellion against truth, leads to a hardened heart...the loss of God-awareness accompanied by a corresponding loss of self awareness and insight into the right order of things.
          • That we have to be precommitted/predisposed to the obedience of God's word to be able to access the meaning of that Word.
            • This is due to the prior suppression of the knowledge of God described in Romans 1:18ff
      • But how can one obey unrighteousness?
        • When ones lifestyle demands obedience by dictating both the orientation and the terms of the majority of one's choices
        • Unrighteousness acts like a moral and spiritual template, an ingrained habitus, that requires obedience.
          • We become "slaves of unrighteousness" (Rom.6).
        • Obeying the truth similarly a habitus comprised of sets of ritually framed ideas-that-are-true.
          • It is discipleship in the Way...the Jesus lifestyle....the Jesus template.
  • Then there is the idea of the hard and impenitent heart and how it plays a role in determining the way in which one walks.
    • Obedience always remains an option and depends directly on the nature of the inner life, the seat of choice, namely the heart.
      • The heart makes the choices one way of another
      • Elements of cognitive dissonance can be discerned in the lifestyle that the heart chooses.
        • The choice, once made and carried out in action will cause human rationalizations to set in....one way or another. Our heart will affirming the rightness of the choice we make...right or wrong. We have to feel--and to prove to ourselves--that what we have chosen to do is the right thing
    • Repentance is the means of keeping the judgemental and constantly sinning heart from becoming hard and unresponsive to the Voice of God.
      • The heart, unless it is completely subsumed into the demonic, always retains the possibility of choice
        • ...it can always turn.
      • This is attained through repentance. The turning towards God that starts in the heart and works its way into daily choices and lifestyle
        • A re-habituation for a righteous (rightly-related) life