A TRANSFORMED HEART...
Welcome back Readers!! It's October and we're gonna talk about putting on a new heart, more specifically putting on Christ's Heart. This topic was inspired from recent occurances in my life that demanded me to do a heart check.
Sometimes it's very easy to say we love, forgive and can show compassion to others because we love God and God loves us but what if I told you that can just be an illusion to most of us until we are placed in a tough situation where we have to demonstrate God's unconditional love to our loved ones and even strangers. It's only then we will know if our heart is in the right placed or aligned to God.
In the month of September I found myself guilty of this very thing, I realized all my life I have experienced God's unconditional love, mercy and forgiveness but when I had extend the same love and forgiveness to a loved one in a situation, my own emotions and heart hurt got the best of me. I hoarded bitterness in my heart for some days until I realized this was not who Christ was or is. Imagine if every time we sinned against God, he lashes out on us or chooses not to forgive us. We would be dammed, won't we? It was an eye opening experience that bought me to a place of total heart surrender. I've traded my once carnal heart in exchange for a new heart, one that resembles Christ's heart.
Major heart surgery had to be done in order for my old heart to be replaced with a new heart. Many times we find ourselves in situations like I did. It's in these situations God exposes our very own heart to us and others. Is your heart in good standing with the Lord? Scripture says man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” We now know it wasn't the height, strength, stature or resume God was looking for. Our heart is the ticket to heaven since it's the most important aspect of us that God is interested in. Do you need Heart Work?
What if, for one day, Jesus were to become you? What if, for twenty-four hours, Jesus wakes up in your bed, walks in your shoes, lives in your house, assumes your schedule? Your boss becomes His boss, your mother becomes His mother, your pains become His pains? With one exception, nothing about your life changes. Your health doesn’t change. Your circumstances don’t change. Your schedule isn’t altered. Your problems aren’t solved. Only one change occurs.
What if, for one day and one night, Jesus lives your life with His heart?
Your heart gets the day off, and your life is led by the heart of Christ. His priorities govern your actions. His passions drive your decisions. His love directs your behavior.
What would you be like? Would people notice a change? Your family – would they see something new? Your coworkers – would they sense a difference? What about the less fortunate? Would you treat them the same? And your friends? Would they detect more joy? How about your enemies? Would they receive more mercy from Christ’s heart than from yours?
And you? How would you feel? What alterations would this transplant have on your stress level? Your mood swings? Your temper? Would you sleep better? Would you see sunsets differently? Death differently? Taxes differently? Any chance you’d need fewer aspirin or sedatives? How about your reaction to traffic delays? (Ouch, that touched a nerve.) Would you still dread what you are dreading? Better yet, would you still do what you are doing?
Pause and think about your schedule. Obligations. Engagements. Outings. Appointments. With Jesus taking over your heart, would anything change?
Keep working on this for a moment. Adjust the lens of your imagination until you have a clear picture of Jesus leading your life, then snap the shutter and frame the image. What you see is what God wants. He wants you to “think and act like Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
God’s plan for you is nothing short of a new heart.
“You were taught to be made new in your hearts, to become a new person. That new person is made to be like God – made to be truly good and holy” (Ephesians 4:23-24).
God wants you to be just like Jesus. He wants you to have a heart like His.
I’m going to risk something here. It’s dangerous to sum up grand truths in one statement, but I’m going to try. If a sentence or two could capture God’s desire for each of us, it might read like this:
God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.
The Heart of Christ
The heart of Jesus was pure. The Savior was adored by thousands, yet content to live a simple life. He was cared for by women (Luke 8:1-3) yet never accused of lustful thoughts, scorned by His own creation but willing to forgive them before they even requested His mercy. Peter, who traveled with Jesus for three and a half years, described Him as a “lamb unblemished and spotless” (1 Peter 1:19). After spending the same amount of time with Jesus, John concluded, “And in Him is no sin” (1 John 3:5).
Jesus’ heart was peaceful. The disciples fretted over the need to feed the thousands, but not Jesus. He thanked God for the problem. The disciples shouted for fear in the storm, but not Jesus. He slept through it. Peter drew his sword to fight the soldiers, but not Jesus. He lifted His hand to heal. His heart was at peace. When His disciples abandoned Him, did He pout and go home? When Peter denied Him, did Jesus lose His temper? When the soldiers spit in His face, did He breathe fire in theirs? Far from it. He was at peace. He forgave them. He refused to be guided by vengeance.
The Heart of Humanity
Our hearts seem so far from His. He is pure; we are greedy. He is peaceful; we are hassled. He is purposeful; we are distracted. He is pleasant; we are cranky. He is spiritual; we are earthbound. The distance between our hearts and His seems so immense. How could we ever hope to have the heart of Jesus?
Ready for a surprise? You already do. You already have the heart of Christ. Why are you looking at me that way? Would I kid you? If you are in Christ, you already have the heart of Christ.
One of the supreme yet unrealized promises of God is simply this: if you have given your life to Jesus, Jesus has given Himself to you. He has made your heart His home. It would be hard to say it more succinctly than Paul did: “Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
He has moved in and unpacked His bags and is ready to change you “into his likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Paul explained it with these words: “Strange as it seems, we Christians actually do have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
PUTTING ON THE HEART OF CHRIST
Even though Jesus knew the condition of our hearts, He still chose to give His life.
For while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Ask God To Change Your Heart
Deuteronomy 30:6 (NLT): “The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!
Who changes hearts? Us?
No, not us! But it is our choice. So let’s ask Him to do that work in us.
And why is God the obvious Go-To for a change?
Practice these three ways to cultivate your new heart.
1. God, give me a discerning heart.
“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:5-6).
In a very real way, the longer we remain in the world, the more likely the eyes of our heart will adjust to the darkness, and more quickly than we realize, we will think we are walking in light. Our hearts are easily deceived (Jeremiah 17:9). We must ask God to give us discernment between good and evil, light and dark. If you don’t believe it, try to remember the first time you watched a movie that was peppered with bad language, graphic violence, or crude, sexual humor after you became a Christ-follower. Your spiritual sense was offended. Is that still true today, or does it simply go by you, unnoticed? Is your heart quick to discern between good and evil, or has it grown used to the darkness?
2. God, give me a willing heart.
“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3).
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).
God desires not only that we obey Him, but that we want to obey Him, so much so that He Himself gives us both the will and the ability to do what He asks us to do. Obedience is important to God because it reveals that our heart has been changed by His indwelling Spirit. Our formerly dead spirits have been brought to life (Ephesians 2:1-7). Living things give evidence that they are alive, just as a seed planted in the ground starts to appear with new growth, eventually becoming a mature plant. Obedience is the fruit of a regenerated soul.
God doesn’t want us to obey reluctantly or unwillingly, even though He knows at times we will not understand His commands. This is why we need His Spirit to give us a willing heart; our unredeemed flesh will always rebel against God’s commands, even as believers. A willing heart is only possible when we surrender our whole heart to the Lord, leaving no hidden corners or closed-off places where we are reluctant for Him to have full access and control. We cannot say to God, “I will obey You in everything except this.” Full obedience comes from a fully surrendered heart, and full surrender is necessary for God to change our stubborn hearts into a willing heart.
3. God, give me a loving heart.
“For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11).
Love is a defining and compelling trait that sets Christ-followers apart from the world. Jesus said the world would know we are His disciples by the way we love one another as believers (John 13:35). Real love can only come from God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8). Truly loving others is possible only as we ourselves know and experience God’s love for us. As we abide in His love, it spills out into our relationships with both other believers and the unsaved (1 John 4:16).
What does it mean to have a loving heart? Is it just a feeling, a rush of emotion that wells up in us when we see or talk to someone? Is it the ability to show affection? How do we know that God has given us a loving heart?
Jesus taught us that all of God’s commandments are summed up in two simple statements: “Love God first with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves” (Luke 10:26-28). He went on to define what it looks like to love our neighbor: Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). Not only did He tell us what love looks like, He demonstrated it when He chose to lay down His life for ours on the cross, out of His love for the Father (John 17:23).
I hope this Blog blessed and ministered to you. Go get that new heart!!!