Question:

Hi Jeffrey,

I just read your answer to "I have a hard time controlling my thoughts. I'm scared I might not be saved," and I was wondering: how do we fix the intentions of our heart, so we will have true godly intentions?

Rather than OCD, I have ADHD, anxiety, and a slight autism. I have a really hard time controlling my thoughts. I fantasize all the time. I also notice a lot of ungodliness in me and I've realized that maybe when I'm doing nice things for people and trying to obey that it just fuels my vain-glory and pride. I think I am a narcissist.

I don't like myself because I see myself as someone who is fake and full of idle words. It's like I'm two people at once (I believe that is war between the spirit and the flesh). I've also have known this for a while now: there is some sadism in me or something because sometimes I find people's misfortunes funny. I also think swearing is funny, even though I know I shouldn't because God hates that stuff. Again, I really do not like myself and I feel like, even though I can try to obey, I'll just be like the Pharisees or someone who's truly evil because my heart has evil desires.


Answer:

The problem with your self-criticism is that you aren't certain about your motives. My guess is that you self-dislike is fueling a desire to find something wrong with yourself.

First off, judgment is based on what we have done. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (II Corinthians 5:10). God does consider our intentions or motives as well, but the primary determinationis based on our actual deeds. "Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God" (I Corinthians 4:5).

When you do good deeds, do them because God requires it. In that way God gets the glory and not you. "Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation" (I Peter 2:12). Now when you do good, of course you feel good about what you accomplish and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you only do good when other people are around to notice you, then there is a problem. Then the motivation is not to obey God but to get admiration from other people.

In regards to swearing, perhaps it would help if you understood why swearing is inappropriate. Take a look at Careful What You Say and let me know what you've concluded.

In regards to enjoying the misfortunes of other people, what is missing is sympathy and love for the people around you. To see whether that is true, do you respond the same way to the misfortune of your mother than you do someone you barely know? "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4). This is something you can work on instead of simply accepting the situation.

Successful Christians put their own wants and desires aside to let Jesus control their decisions foremost. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20).