“‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.Ezekiel 36:24 – 28
We may be able to change our behavior, but we cannot change our hearts. Mankind proposes reformation; God says we must be transformed … from the inside out! God doesn’t just want accommodation, instead He makes us new creations.
A genuine heart change has these elements –
- Begins and ends with faith … he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
- Involves a spiritual battle … for our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God … (Ephesians 6:12-13)
- Flows out of what God has done for us … his divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)
- Avoids spiritual counterfeits … we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14)
- Is a moment by moment process … because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22 – 23)
- Involves healthy doses of community, word, and Spirit! … let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24 -25)
Advent is a season for soul-searching to prepare
our hearts and minds for Christmas.
It is a time for renewal, transformation.
Give me a new, a perfect heart,
From doubt, and fear, and sorrow free;
The mind which was in Christ impart,
And let my spirit cleave to Thee.
Purge me from every sinful blot,
My idols all be cast aside,
Cleanse me from every sinful thought,
From all the filth of self and pride.
O take this heart of stone away!
Thy sway it doth not, cannot own;
In me no longer let it stay;
O take away this heart of stone!
Cause me to walk in Christ my Way;
And I Thy statutes shall fulfill,
In every point Thy law obey,
And perfectly perform Thy will.
Now let me gain perfection’s height;Charles Wesley, 1742, Public Domain
Now let me into nothing fall,
Be less than nothing in Thy sight,
And feel that Christ is all in all.
As you pray today, thank God for removing your heart of stone, for giving you a new heart. Thank Him for His Spirit, your helper and teacher. Ask Him to point out areas where you may be conforming to the pattern of this world. Repent and rejoice in His forgiveness.