Saturday, February 17
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender responsive heart.” (NLT)
One major obstacle people have when connecting with God is they want to prove to God how worthy and self-reliant they are. The Bible is very clear! We don’t measure up when we compare ourselves with God’s holiness and righteousness. You and I have deep-rooted flaws in our lives which the Bible labels as sin. Even when we put our best foot forward, we rush around in our busyness trying to accomplish this thing and that thing to prove to ourselves or to God that we are worthwhile.
If Christianity teaches us anything, it is that we need outside intervention if true change is to happen. In our focal verse, we are reminded that true change comes only from the inside out. We think that if we just stop a habit or attitude or sinful behavior, we can get ourselves together. The flaw is in thinking that we can change ourselves. The Prophet Jeremiah addressed this issue: “Cursed are those who put trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.” (17:5) What we really need is a healing, a renewal, a transformation from God before this change can come.
We want our own efforts to bring emotional and spiritual change. We are proud, stubborn and selfish. Only God can give us a new heart. So, we must submit, surrender, and rely on Him. Yes! It goes against our nature, but here is the promise: “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.” (Jer. 17:7)
Our hearts can be spiritually stone-like and stubborn toward God, but it is only when we open ourselves to exercise faith in Christ that our hearts can be made tender and responsive to the working of God. And guess what? When the inner change comes, it works its way outward into our behaviors. Our rebellion is replaced with a spirit of obedience to the desires of God. We look to Him with delight and joy. As you consider rebooting your life this week, what hard edge in your heart would you like to invite God to make tender again?
Lord Jesus, I confess I have relied more on me than on You. Help me understand why I keep trying to prove to You that I am worthwhile. Expose those hardened areas of my heart that resist Your tender nudging. Don’t give up on me, as I so often do. Keep nudging me to reflect your image when I try to push it down. Amen
- Pastor Clarence