“Heart check” or “Above all else…”

I was taken back today…back to a place I’ve longed to be for the past week, or longer. Back to a place where I could hear my heart and test it and find it to be true.

The liar had convinced me my heart bad and couldn’t be trusted–for I had seemingly followed it and ended up in a place I wasn’t supposed to be. So I had to back pedal and reexamine and reorient. And that derailed me. I found myself frustrated and confused.

How do find myself off track so quickly? How do I forget what the fight is all about in a matter of days and get consumed by the world and all its distractions and baggage? Why do I set aside the longings and desires He’s placed within me and substitute them with compromising, unsatisfying replicas?

So I spent the afternoon feeding my heart. In traditional John Eldredge training, I popped in an epic movie. I watched "The Last Samurai" and the final few chapters of "Gladiator," pausing between to seek God’s face in worship and prayer. I found my heart hungering for something good: honor.

Men of honor don’t compromise; they don’t settle; they aren’t distracted; they serve the king; they fight to the death; they go all the way. Jesus was a man of honor. Nathan Algren and Katsumoto were men of honor. Maximus had honor. Every man longs to be a man of honor, because men of honor come through when it counts. They have what it takes.

Being a hero is great and all, but if this longing within me doesn’t take me to the right place–that is, a place of repentance and surrender–then it’s all for naught. So, after a week of my heart failing its tests (it had been leading me to places of frustration and disappointment), it felt good to once again long to be taught by the Maker of Honor how to be a man of honor.

And this brings me full circle to the course he’s had me on the past few months: learning to be discipled my Him and Him alone. Not by books (though they can help), not by movies (once again, today’s an example that they can help), not by pastors or preachers or prophets or mentors or workshops or seminars. But by Him.

I’m on a trail–a long, grueling, up-hill-both-ways, climb-over-rocks-again-and-again, hang-on-for-dear-life trail that only exists as Christ and I pass through the virgin wilderness for the first time. That’s the vision–and promise–I was given. And it will take a man of honor to see it come to pass.

Good thing Jesus is a man of honor.

And good thing He’s a good teacher.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." / Proverbs 4:23, NIV.

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.