We Can Do/Have/Be…Wha?! PART 2
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 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. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NLT)
Today’s Freedom Fighter will pick up where I left off last with the subject matter of understanding temptation and finding its antidote. I was at a spot where we needed to understand the heart of it all and today we’ll look at something we find in Ezekiel 36. We can call this something “Spiritual Surgery” and it will be The Great Physician with the scalpel. Just like with any surgery there will be a need to cleanse first because, in this sense, we need to see what the real issue is so that it can be accurately removed (the callused heart of stone) and what needs to transplanted (the new heart of flesh).
I think one of the infamous hardened hearts is Pharaoh’s in The Book of Exodus. “But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2) This verse should resonate for those of us who came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior later on in life. Not only do I think this is one of the most disobedient statements we can find in The Bible maybe we can change a few words to make it sound like something like this…“Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice and let my sins go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let my sins go.” Now please don’t stone me for this but if you really let it soak in…you’ve said it at some time, haven’t you?
And don’t look at this in one dimension either because there are those of us who have obeyed His voice at one time and decided that our voice sounded better and, like the nation of Israel did, found ourselves lead a stray. It’s like this…we are all tempted to live independently from God and it’s been in our hearts for a real long time. Freewill got its introduction in The Garden because God desires worship of Him to be a choice and that got tainted when our adversary instilled into us that there was something that was being withheld from us. To this day we’ve all been trying, in one way or another, to get that which was withheld back and that is our intimate relationship with the One who created us.
When we look at the passage we find in Ezekiel 36:24-29 we can see the remedy in this progression. We need to recognize our hearts arbor wickedness and we need to be gathered by God to cleanse us from our idolatry so that He can provide us with new hearts, renew a right Spirit within us and grant us place to sit with Him at the table. That comes to us from something else that came from The Garden, a promise. And that promise is Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”— (John 3:16) And it will be through Him that we can see the condition of our hearts and not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform us into a new person by changing the way we think. Then we will learn to know God’s will for us, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
When we take a long view at the world around us it doesn’t take much to realize that people need a new heart for things. Some folks already know they need change but there are others whose life-dominating sin has their hearts hardened and speaking with Pharaoh’s tongue. Our job in all of this is to deal with our inward stuff, as Jesus would have us do, so that that the world can see that on our outwardly part we show that we are light on a table or a city on a hill. When that happens a dark world sees only Jesus and nothing else. The next time I am with you I will begin to dive into those three things that come from an untransformed heart until then I pray that you have allowed The Great Physician to begin His work in your heart. Amen? – Chris Hughes blogs weekly for Freedom Fighter and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Think About This: “Whenever God in Christ is revealed in the inner man, deception and Satan’s power are destroyed, and the man is set free. Against this in shining, Satan works by every conceivable means, ranging from open assault to destroy the messengers, to beautiful substitutes for the truth.”—T. Austin-Sparks
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You. Psalm 33:20-22