I came across this book when buying Deep & Wide and was caught completely off guard because I didn’t know the book, Enemies of the Heart existed. To my knowledge, I have read everything written by Andy Stanley and was amazed that a book had made it past my radar. Anyway, I bought it along with D&W and put it in the queue to read later.
A couple of month’s pass and it is time for my next book. I go to the shelf and see that Enemies of the Heart has made it to the front of the line. I am delighted. Andy has a way of taking things I have known since I was a child and bringing them to life for me here and now in a fresh, new way. A couple of chapters into the book, I am feeling a bit of deja vu. I read a little further and I am sure that I have read these words before. I set the book down and get on the Internet to do some checking. Then, I find that the “new” book, Enemies of the Heart, was previously released as It Came from Within.
At first, I felt as if I had been duped. Andy Stanley had pulled a fast one causing me to buy a second copy of a book I already own. Oh well, I like to finish what I start; so, I decided to keep reading.
A couple of chapters later, I begin to see things a little differently. Though I had read this book before, I am in a different place in life during this read. I know I had some good takeaways the first time through, but this time it is as if the book was written for me. Now that I am done, I have decided that God made Andy re-release the book so that I would read it again because I needed it more at this time of life than ever before. Thank you Andy. Thank you God!
This book explores the four emotions that seek to take seed in your heart and grow up to destroy your life. From there, we are taught four habits that will help to destroy these seeds of destruction. The destructive emotions and prevailing habits are:
- Guilt –> Confession
- Anger –> Forgiveness
- Greed –> Generosity
- Jealousy –> Celebration
A few quotes that I highlighted this time through the book include:
- Your heart is out of sync with the rhythm it was created to maintain.
- I modified my behavior to avoid pain, and I’ve been doing that ever since.
- Behavior isn’t always an accurate indicator of what’s going on inside.
- “Bring Me to Life” – Evanescence
- “When our embarrassment level is exceeded by our desperation level we are a candidate for God’s grace.” – Peter Lord
- Show me an angry person and I’ll show you a hurt person.
- People spend much of their lives waiting for debts to be paid that cannot be paid.
- It is when our hearts are stirred that we become most aware of what they contain.
- Anger gains its strength from secrecy.
- These enemies of the heart (guilt, anger, greed, jealousy) cannot withstand the light of exposure.
- While it’s true that you can’t undo what’s been done, it’s equally true that you don’t have to let the past control your future.
- Greed hides behind several virtues.
- I’ve never met anyone who regretted a good habit.
- Guilty people are usually repeat offenders. And as long as you’re carrying a secret, as long as you’re trying to ease your conscience by telling God how sorry you are, you’re setting yourself up to repeat the past. However, confession – the way God designed confession to be applied – breaks the cycle of sin and guilt.
- Public confession has the power to purge our hearts of the guilt that keeps us from living out in the open; secret confession does not.
- The reason you still feel guilty about things in your past is because they’re still unresolved.
- The penalty for our sin, insofar as heaven and hell are concerned, has been dealt with once and for all. The consequences of our sins are a different matter altogether.
- Why pollute my heart with guilt in an effort to protect a reputation I may not have anyway?
- “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
- A victim will always have an excuse.
- Simply put, forgiveness is the decision to cancel a debt.
- Your pain isn’t a trophy to show off. It’s not a story to tell. It’s potentially poison to your soul. To refuse to forgive is to choose to self-destruct.
- In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another. Forgiveness is the gift that ensures my freedom from a prison of bitterness and resentment.
- As a believer, I’m called and liberated to view forgiveness from the perspective of the cross.
- If you’re a Christian, you aren’t expected to treat others the way you’ve been treated by others; you’ve been called to treat people the way you’ve been treated by your Father in heaven. You don’t forgive because the other person deserves it’ you forgive because you’ve been forgiven.
- In the scriptures forgiveness is never presented as a feeling; it’s always described as a decision.
- Trying to forget a debt isn’t the same as canceling it.
- General forgiveness doesn’t heal specific hurts.
- You cannot cancel a debt that you haven’t clearly identified.
- The final process centers on a daily decision not to reopen your case.
- Your memories are not your enemies. Memories are simply memories. What you do with them will determine their impact. Truly forgiving doesn’t always entail truly forgetting.
- “Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” – Jesus
- Greed is always looking for something ‘good’ to hide behind.
- “‘Your money or your life.’ We know what to do when a burglar makes this demand of us, but not when God does.” – Mignon McLaughlin
- When we don’t have enough, we wonder why. Why not wonder when we have more than enough.
- Peace is a fruit of the Spirit, not the by-product of accumulated wealth.
- Greed is not a feeling; it’s a refusal to act.
- Greed is evidenced not by how you feel but by what you do.
- God loves a cheerful giver, but he’ll put your money to good use whether you’re cheerful or not. May advice: Give until you get cheerful.
- Isn’t it interesting that the people we hurt the most are those we claim to love the most? The people who birthed us, raised us, exchanged vows with us – why them, of all people? James would say that’s simple: They’re in close proximity. When I can no longer contain the conflict raging within me, it spills out on those closest to me, even if they’re innocent bystanders.
- The fact is, the common denominator in all my relational conflicts is ME.
- Instead of burdening the people we love with desires they weren’t designed to fulfill in the first place, James instructs us to bring them to our heavenly Father.
- A parent with secrets or a secret life will not create an environment of openness in the home.
- Home environments mirror the hearts of those who head the home.
- When it comes to shaping our children’s hearts, modeling will always win over instruction.
- Confess, forgive, give generously, and celebrate the success of others. These are the habits that keep a heart free from painful clutter.
- Before sin, there was lust.
- Guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy weaken our resolve against sexual temptation.