The Heart Follows the Treasure

12 steps progress recovery Mar 12, 2021

I love porn.

What a crazy statement. I loved the very thing that was destroying my marriage, my ministry, and my purpose and happiness in life. And yet,  I can remember thinking this and even saying it out loud over the years. How could my heart be attached to something so evil and destructive?

The answer is based on a simple statement made by our Lord Jesus Christ:

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34).

Intuitively, it seems like the statement should be reversed. If my heart desires and loves something, then I will pursue it and invest in it. But our Lord’s way is true: my heart will be drawn to the things that I invest my treasure in, treasure being represented by my time, money, and effort.

I invested a lot of treasure in porn and sexual sin. It took a lot of time and effort to live a secret life and try to hide it. I was clever and creative in my deception—and that was my treasure. It’s difficult enough to live a single life, and I was living a double life. “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” and it took a lot of mental energy and focus to maintain a balance.

It’s no wonder, then, that I was in love with the sin I was involved in. I didn’t do it because I loved it; I loved it because I did it.

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Why do men love darkness? They have invested their time, money, and talents into evil deeds and have come to love the darkness of evil. Their hearts are drawn to where they have invested their treasure.

This is one reason that people will stay in abusive, damaging relationships: they have invested so much treasure in the spouse or partner that leaving feels like ripping out their heart. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Someone will say that they have fallen out of love with their spouse. The first thing to check: how much treasure have you been investing in that relationship? Don’t be vague about it, think in terms of time, effort, money, and focus. Think about today and the recent past. The heart follows the treasure. If you want the love to return, then increase the investment in the relationship.

All of this is relevant to recovery. Early on, I would dread going to my 12-step meetings because I didn’t “feel like” going. My heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t want to put the effort into driving there, sharing during the meeting, and making new friends. But once I started doing it consistently, I found my heart changing and I began to desire the meetings. Now some of the people that I love the most are the people I see every week in 12-step meetings. They are now friends I talk to and spend time with outside of meetings.

Duty often gets a bad rap. “Only do what you love,” they say. “Follow your heart and your passion.” They have it backwards—do your duty, even when it is dull, boring, and seems like a waste of time. Invest in recovery, growth, and healing and you will find your desires and passions turning toward your investments.

Change is difficult and the difficulty is usually proportionate to how entrenched your heart is to your old ways. It doesn’t matter how evil or destructive the old ways are, how deep is your love for it? God can change your heart, but you can do your part by investing your treasure in the direction you want to go. Put time, effort, and money into recovery and growth. Given enough treasure, your heart will surely follow.

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