Tyler Ulis and the Heart of the Gospel

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

It doesn’t take long to get to the heart of the University of Kentucky basketball team. Standing at 5’9 and 160 pounds, there is much more to Tyler Ulis than meets the eye. The Kentucky point guard excels in the intangibles. Whether it’s distributing the ball perfectly on offense, or getting his hands into every play on defense, he makes everything around him better. He is quickly becoming one of UK’s all time beloved players, while gaining national attention. 
What he lacks in the external, Ulis is quick to make up for with the internal. He has a heart that won’t quit (or even come out of the game, for that matter). What we love most about Ulis is his love & passion for the game. I worry that as time goes on our generation will no longer possess what he has; while Ulis always plays to win, we play not to lose. We spend far too much time pretending and performing, keeping the outside perfect, while the inside rots away. 

This is a problem because who we are on the inside will eventually determine the outside. “The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). 

Your heart (or lack thereof) is the most important part about you because we always do what the heart most wants. You are not ultimately what you think or what you do, but what you most love. Tim Keller explains, “What the heart most wants, the mind finds reasonable, the emotions find valuable, and the will finds doable.” This is why there are still areas of your life you can’t gain control over. This is why addictions form, old habits are hard to kick, and resolutions rarely stick. You can’t just think or perform your way into a new life. You have to find a greater love. 

The answer to your problems might not be believing God more with your mind, or even obeying God more with your will, but “tasting and seeing God” more with your heart (Psalm 34:8). Jonathan Edwards described it like this: “it’s one thing to know that honey is sweet, it’s another thing to taste of that sweetness for yourself.” 

So, I guess the question we are left with is, “how?” How are you going to see lasting change in this life? It can be easy to change your line of thinking. Just read a book or a positive quote. It might even be easier to change some behaviors. Get an accountability group or write out some goals. But how do you change your loves, those desires that your heart wants more than anything?

There is not a 3-step method, which is hard for us. At the end of the day, you have to see God wanting you in Jesus Christ. Your heart must be captured by his real love for you. That every thing you have thought or wanted in this life is to be found in Jesus Christ.  He took your place. He was cursed, so you would be blessed. He was wounded, so you would be healed.  He took the wrath, so you would get the grace. Now the poor are rich; the weak, strong; the dark, light; & the slave, free. The psalmist says, “when the Lord restored our fortunes, we were like those who dream” (Psalm 126:1). Dream and fill your heart full with Jesus Christ for you. 

Luke Rakestraw