You have an iceberg in your heart! Did you know that?
What is above the waterline, what you see in a real iceberg, represents how we behave. We see the actions, reactions, and responses toward life and people and they are either godly or ungodly.
So often, we try to change some ungodly behavior without any consideration of what motivated it. As a result, we often continue struggling with a particular sin. We’ve basically scraped ice off the top but it hasn’t helped because there’s so much ice below where our motives are. We should be paying attention to what’s going on below.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus pointed that out repeatedly.
For instance, He said:
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)
Jesus is saying that above the waterline, we may look really good. Our righteousness seems to look like clear, pure, clean ice. But below the waterline, the ice is corrupted because our motive is wanting the approval of people and there’s no reward in that. It isn’t motivated by wanting God’s glory.
Matthew 6:1 is a summary of many of His statements in Matthew 5. Like:
You have heard that the ancients were told, “You shall not commit murder” and “Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.” But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, “You good-for-nothing,” shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, “You fool,” shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. (verses 21-22).
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery”; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (verses 27-28).
He is referring to the iceberg under the waterline: what the heart wants to do and how it fuels the behavior. Most of us have refrained from committing murder but our heart (below the waterline) is angry. As a result, at times, we can’t even control our anger and it erupts above the waterline, in ways that we justify, “Oh, I only did that because of what she did to me.”
And we may not commit adultery, but our heart demands our sexual needs be satisfied even if it’s through our imagination. No one knows our thoughts so it seems acceptable; but God looks at our hearts and our motives. Again, we have not desired God’s glory.
But both these and other sins are fueled by a lack of trust in God’s power and goodness. We try to get our own needs met in acceptable or in ways we justify yet our evil motives are known by God.
The first important step is to acknowledge we have a “below the waterline” motivating us. That way we won’t just try to continue chipping away at the ice on top.
And the second step is to ask ourselves, “What’s really going on in my heart? What are my true motives? If it’s to protect or provide for myself independent of God’s plan, then my motives are corrupt.”
Yes, we each have an iceberg in our hearts. Thankfully, God wants to reveal what’s under the water and help us deal with it.