By: Bill Delvaux
Bill Delvaux has written a book that cuts to the core of many of our spiritual challenges—the gulf between knowing and doing, knowing and being known, rightly thinking and truly valuing—the division of the head and the heart.
It is a simple problem common in many of us, and it is one far too familiar to me to ever go overlooked. We know many good things, we can understand correctly how to know God, and yet our affections and behaviors can be difficult to penetrate and change. Delvaux knows this struggle as well, and he shares how the divide can leave a stronghold in our heart:
“It’s not that knowledge or concepts are in and of themselves wrong or even evil. Far from it. It’s just that the energy behind them is so often avoidance, fear, control. We can never close the divide by simply trying to understand it more, by even reading this book again. We have to let go. We have to trust. We have to allow ourselves to be known. It’s a counterintuitive leap that is only understood after the jump.”
What are we do when we know that we are divided internally? Delvaux tells us there are three terrains we must navigate in order to tackle this divide: surfacing, listening, and telling. First we must uncover, or surface, the source of our division—half-truths and lies we have accepted about ourselves and our responsibility in a fallen world.
The second terrain is listening. Delvaux describes listening as “Hearing the truth with longing hearts, alert to Jesus’ words.” We must listen carefully to how God teaches us to obey. Obedience is at the core of our struggle, and we learn what path God wants us to walk when we listen to His Word, by reading, by prayer, and responding in obedience. As I read this section, I was reminded of the description I have heard of abiding in God—described simply by doing the following: believe, obey, and stay.
The final terrain is telling. Obeying God cannot be done on our own. If we try to, we risk exposing our heart to the one of the origins of struggle in the first place—an internal, individualized spirit that does not seek out others. We are part of the Body of Christ, and we are called to support each other. We were never supposed to do this alone, and we must learn to go beyond the comfortable, internal place we created.
The result of obeying God is a continued journey of obedience. As the divide between the head and the heart shrinks, we mature. God begins to rid our heart of idols, and we learn that the heart is the wellspring from which we speak and act. Delvaux cautions us in the following:
“We never get all the guidance we feel we need. Nor do we get all the answers to our questions. We get what He knows we need, not what we think we need. There will still be troubling theological issues, times of wandering, and even inscrutable suffering. We must open ourselves totally to the Father and be willing to obey whatever comes, for we are dealing with Someone whose love for us is unrelenting. At times He will ask us to do things that seem unreasonable or even impossible in order to make us more like His Son.”
And making each of us more like His Son is the promise of God we can claim as we mature in our faith.
Thank you to HarperCollins Christian Publishing for a copy of this book for review.