Would you like to print this sheet and keep it for your own use? You can download the PDF here.
STEP 1: The first thing you do when you go to the doctor is describe your symptoms. Sinful and negative behaviors are symptoms of deeper heart issues. We identified four primary heart issues: 1) guilt, 2) anger, 3) greed, and 4) jealousy. Read the descriptions below of these enemies of our hearts. Circle the symptoms you recognize in your own life and feel need to change, others have pointed out, or you feel convicted of by the Holy Spirit.
1. Guilt — a posture of the heart that feels like I owe you.
I’m doing something wrong — or it may just be that I’m not doing what I know I should be doing. I have this sense of guilt. I’m not what I should be, so I owe you. The people I feel like I owe are usually the people closest to me: my spouse, my children, etc. Hearts infected by guilt do things for others to try to feel better about themselves, or seclude themselves to protect themselves from being fully known.
— Buying things for others to feel better
— Constantly feeling the need to say “I’m sorry”
— Worrying about being found out
— Feeling the need to hide things from others
— Intimacy issues
— Not allowing others to really get to know you
— Ignoring the issues of others because you “feel bad” about your own actions
— Living in seclusion
2. Anger — a posture of the heart that feels like you owe me.
You’ve done something to hurt me, and now you owe me. I’m going to make you pay. The trouble is, when they can’t pay us back — and they never can — we try to make everyone else pay. Have you ever had someone lash out at you or do something really mean to you, and you thought, “What did I do to deserve that?!” For a heart infected by anger, there is an unpayable debt to collect, and you got in their way.
— Getting angry at the mention of someone’s name
— Getting angry at minor things others do
— Feeling the need to yell
— Lashing out at people when they don’t deserve it
— Inability to control temper
3. Greed — a posture of the heart that feels like I owe me.
Most people don’t consider consider themselves greedy people. In fact many people confuse wealth with greed. However, a poor person can be even greedier than a wealthy person. Greed comes out of a heart belief that I OWE ME. I deserve that. It’s my right to have that. I need that to be happy. Greed can manifest itself in different ways. It can drive some people to spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need. However, it can also manifest itself as someone who saves carefully but gives sparingly. Think of Mr. Scrooge. For a heart infected by greed, money or stuff equals life. Lust also falls under the heart category of greed because your heart believes if you can have a sexual experience with the person you are lusting after, you will be happy. It says, if I can have something outside of what is right, then I will be happy.
— Buying things to feel better
— Buying things you do not need
— Buying things you cannot afford
— Buying things because you deserve it
— Not buying things for others they need
— Not giving back to God
— Hoarding what you know would benefit others
— Stockpiling out of fear you will not have enough
— Mindset that a certain thing will make you happy
— Lusting after experiences or people to be happy
4. Lust — a posture of the heart that feels like I owe me.
Lust and greed are closely related — both come from the desire of a material object from a heart belief that I OWE ME. However, they also have an important difference. Greed deals with the accumulation of something whereas lust deals with the experience of something. Lust says that I need to experience a feeling to be happy. Think of all of the anonymous groups: Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Shopaholics Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous. All of these groups share a similar framework — they all originate from the heart issue of lust. In fact, lust is synonymous with “craving” and “desire”.
— Buying things to feel better
— Drinking things to feel better
— Taking things to feel better
— Eating things to feel better
— Looking at things to feel better
— Belief that experiencing something will make you happy
5. Jealousy — a posture of the heart that feels like God owes me.
Jealousy and greed are closely connected. However, jealousy is different from greed, in that it is not focused on what I owe me, but on what GOD OWES ME. Jealousy operates under the assumption that God gave someone else what he should have given me. He played favorites, and I wasn’t his favorite — or at least, that’s how I feel. Therefore, I am owed what someone else has, or I believe I deserve what someone else has more than they do. I want a position, a title, a talent, an honor, an object, or a person who is with someone else.
— Passive aggression
— Undermining others
— Cruelty to others who have what you want
— Bitterness when you think about what they have
— Inability to celebrate someone else’s success
— Inability to be happy for someone else
6. Pride — a posture of the heart that feels like I know better than God.
Pride is different from the other heart conditions — it is not about being owed something, but about believing that I KNOW BETTER THAN GOD. Pride can be a difficult condition to identify, because you don’t often connect the symptoms to the condition — especially for the Christian. Many people naturally only of boastful people as prideful people. However, the reality is, that most people who have the lowest view of themselves suffer from a pride condition as well. They believe their negative feelings about themselves are more true than what God says about them. They believe their fears are more true than what God says about His care for them.
— Thinking more of yourself than you should
— Thinking less of yourself than you should
— Fear of the unknown
— Overconfidence in the unknown
— Comparing yourself to others
— Belief that circumstances are in your control
— Belief that circumstances are beyond God’s control
STEP 2: List the symptoms and deeper heart issues you circled in Step 1.
Psalm 139: 23-24
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”