Many years ago, there was a worship song that we loved to sing. The title of it is, ‘Change My Heart Oh God.’ Here are a few of the lyrics –
Change my heart oh God
Make it ever true
Change my heart oh God
May I be like You
Why is it so important that we have a changed heart? Consider this teaching from Jesus –
Matthew 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.
Jesus said this in response to the Pharisees who were criticizing Him and His disciples for not ceremonially washing their hands before they ate. The Pharisees’ criticism had nothing to do with good hygiene, but with their religious traditions. Jesus corrected them by saying, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (Matthew 15:11) In other words, we are not made sinful by our stomach, but by our heart. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Only God can cure the sickness of the human heart. No rules or regulations or even a New Year’s Resolution can produce a permanent change. The Bible says, “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11) We cannot change our heart, but God can. How does God change our heart?
BY GIVING US A NEW HEART
We read from Scripture, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26) This promise is a part of the New Covenant. John MacArthur explains this as – “The gift of the ‘new heart’ signifies the new birth, which is regeneration by the Holy Spirit. The ‘heart’ stands for the whole nature. The ‘spirit’ indicates the governing power of the mind which directs thought and conduct. A ‘stony heart’ is stubborn and self-willed. A ‘heart of flesh’ is pliable and responsive.”
BY GIVING US A GUIDED HEART
“I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts…” (Jeremiah 31:33) God gave Moses His law engraved in stone. God gives us His law by writing it on our heart.
BY GIVING US A RENEWED HEART
Paul wrote “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) Every day we are under the pressure to adapt to the ways of the world. To make matters worse, our flesh often craves much of this. Therefore, in order for us to change, we need a constant renewing of our heart. Paul tells us to be ‘conformed to this world’, but to be ‘transformed by the renewing of our mind.’ The word ‘transformed’ is the Greek word from which we get the English word metamorphosis. Like a worm is transformed into a beautiful butterfly, so God wants to transform us into His likeness.
God bless you brethren.
* Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.