The Heart of the Problem (part 1 of 5)

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The Heart of the Problem is the Problem of the Heart!

*This five-part series is an overview of The Heart of the Problem book/workbook. If you discover help in these articles, I encourage you to purchase the workbook at and go deeper in your discovery. For detailed training as a biblical counselor, see

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The Problem of Sin

The next five articles will focus on truths found in the book, “The Heart of the Problem.”

Two words have almost disappeared from the vocabulary of Christians. One of those words is the word sin. The other word is repentance. Many churches and believers avoid talking about sin and repentance because they believe it is a negative subject. It seems as though our world thinks our problems come mostly from our environment. Another words, the things around us is our problem.

It certainly could not be us–could it? Our world has taught us that the reason you are like you are is because of your background, the way you were raised, how your mom and dad treated you, what kind of job you have or don’t have, whether you have been abused, what kind of house you live in, or how much power you have. All of these things determine what we are, don’t they?

Does the world impact us more than the Word? If you stated that these outside forces have nothing to do with the condition of your heart, many Christians would argue the point. The secular humanist says, “If we can just improve our environment, we can be better people.” I wonder if the secular humanists, who own most of the media, have read their newspapers lately? Is our environment getting better? No! To believe that attaining perfection depends upon your environment leads you to hopeless thinking. Our environment will never be perfect.

The Lord Jesus had a different viewpoint of what is going on in our life. He said,

“What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Mark 7:20-23

Jesus teaches that the problem is your heart. The world’s excuses range from, “If you lived with the man I live with, you would know that he is my problem” to, “You don’t know the woman I am married to. She is my problem.”

Other people have nothing to do with you being filled with the Spirit. Stop looking at your external environment and look at your heart. Your wife, husband, friend, or parents do not cause you to be like you are–they reveal what you are. According to Jesus, what comes out of your mouth, or life, proceeds from your heart.

If sin is our problem, there is no human remedy for sin. The world simply offers relief to our problems. God has a cure. The world teaches us how to manage our problems and Christians have learned to manage and live with their sin. The Bible states,

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:21

The express purpose for which Jesus came was to save us from our sins. This is a simple truth. Be warned though, Paul reminded us,

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”  2 Corinthians 11:3

The World Offers Relief From Problems

Alcohol is a great relief to stress, but you have to remember it is not a cure. The world defines drunkenness as a disease, addiction, or a weakness. There are even studies now to prove it is an allergy! Galatians 5:19-20 calls it an act of the sinful nature and it is obvious. If drunkenness is a disease, why would the world form a group called MADD to penalize drunks to the fullest penalty of the law? Why do you penalize a disease? This does not make sense.

The world has great seminars on how to manage your stress or anger. That is just relief. You can learn how to manage your anger without ever giving God a thought. That is just relief. But Jesus did not die on the cross to teach us how to manage sin. He died to save us from our sin.

Relief Is Not A Cure

The world teaches us how to be relieved from our sin. God wants to give us a cure. Relief feels good. It feels good to take a pain pill. Relief feels wonderful. There is nothing wrong with relief. But, relief is not a cure.

The only thing a pain shot or pain medicine can do is keep you comfortably sick. You are still sick, you just feel better about it. Dr. Brandt, the co-author of The Heart of the Problem said, “I used to be an alcoholic before I became a Christian. It’s amazing to me how much relief you can get from alcohol. You can be in a room with people you don’t like and after a drink you think you like these people. The amazing thing is, after two more drinks you get to thinking they like you.”

Just as a pain pill gives you relief and keeps you comfortably sick, sin that is denied, suppressed, or ignored will keep us comfortably separated from God. If convinced that the problem is not sin, you don’t need God.

If sin is the problem, then that is the simplest problem in the world for Jesus to cure. You are just a repentant prayer away from being right back in fellowship with God.

Relief feels good, but it is not a cure. If sin is the problem then medicine, counseling, or a relieving conversation will not get rid of the problem. Christ is the expert at getting rid of sin. That is why He died on the cross!