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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Heart Change is Life Changing

Jesus once told his disciples the reason he spoke in parables. “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand” (Matthew 13:13, NIV). Then Jesus compared his disciples to the multitude with deaf ears. “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Matthew 13: 16-17, NIV)

Do you also want to hear this spoken to you?  The Holy Spirit seeks the whole earth for those whose heart totally belong to Him—for those who yearn to constantly grow spiritually. To such a person God gives His strength which empowers personal change. Those who constantly experience the renewing power of the Holy Spirit know the wonder of His grace over and over.  They seek for God to reveal where they need to change, and then easily repent. They see, hear, and understand the Holy Spirit's urging and direction. When David’s sin with Bathsheba was brought to his attention by Nathan, David hit the ground in repentance. David experienced God’s immediate forgiveness because of his repentant heart. If his heart had been calloused, he never would have realized at what point the Holy Spirit had left him. But David repented, turned from his sin, and put on a new life.

“You were taught,” Paul wrote,” with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4: 23-23, NIV). We are created to be holy as God is holy (I Peter 1:15), but we cannot be like Him until our attitudes and desires are what He wishes. When we constantly open ourselves to His conviction and direction, we put off the old and put on the new. This is spiritual growth. To be made new in the way we think and act, we need a heart change. When our hearts and minds are constantly renewed, we have the ability to put off the old and put on the new. God is holy, and He looks for holiness of heart in each one of us. Holiness of heart is one day discovered as the result of daily surrender to His grace and decisions to live righteously. This yielded walk with Him continually draws us closer and closer to His heart. If we submit to the renewing change and conviction of the Holy Spirit now on earth, one day we will no longer seek to lead a holy life. We shall see Him face to face and will know Him fully as He has always known us. (I Corinthians 13:12).

Holiness comes as a result of a repentant and rejuvenated heart. It is not the result of living up to a legalistic-type rule. True repentance which inspires heart change comes from experiencing the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. A holy life is not measured in personal outward change as the Pharisees instructed. It is revealed in the change of our heart. Spiritual growth calls for vulnerability to a Holy God and the transforming power of His Word. But His holiness does not “see, hear, and look” for the outward like Jesus' multitude with deaf ears. His holiness “sees, hears, and looks” with the spiritual heart of His life-altering presence.

Jesus makes this heart change personal! “I will give you a clean heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36: 26, NIV). Where once my heart was as hard and unyielding as stone now he promises it shall beat with the pulsating blood of His living sacrifice. Where once calloused inner pain held God’s change in my life at bay, I shall now be energized by His living presence. A new heart and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit fills me with the desire to keep His laws and commandments–not because they are rules to be followed, but because I love Him above all else. His law shall be my delight, and in every way He shall be my God and I shall belong only to Him (Ezekiel 26: 27-28). I shall put off the old and put on the new every day because my beats for Him.

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