“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:25-26 (NASB)
I am sure by now you realize that God does not want external behavioral modification. He wants change from the heart. He wants change from the inside out because that is change that sticks. Is the kind of change that glorifies Him and does honor to His Son who died for our sins on the Cross.
Oh that we may have the heart of Christ. That is the essence of counseling that is biblical and the reason this blog even exists.
…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NASB)
The renewing of the mind (heart) is an active process. The picture given in Eph. 4:22-24 is of a person stripping away old filthy clothes. This a picture of repentance from sin and submission to God. It takes place at salvation but it’s also the active process of becoming more like Christ or maturing in Christ. It is an aspect of your sanctification.
The renewal of the mind (heart) is not a simple change in behavior or a renovation of character. It’s an actual transformation from the heart of the old self with its self centered desires to the new Christ like self and the priority of His desires. This is why it can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit and not by any will of man alone.
We give ourselves too much credit if we thing we can accomplish these changes of heart of our own accord. All these changes are Spirit wrought. I recall a long time ago when I was a much younger Christian I decided I wanted to develop the Fruit of the Spirit. I asked my then pastor for a book to read on this topic so I could learn the steps to take to be a more gentle person. What an idiot I was! “5 steps to being gentle” is what I was looking for not realizing then that I cannot make myself be anything spiritual. These things are strictly the work of the Holy Spirit as He lives with us.
He plants the desire in me to be conformed to the image and likeness of Christ and He gives me the desire to read His Word and He makes the Word clear and understandable to me. He then does the work of change in my heart to cause me to want to respond to the Word that has been implanted in my heart. These actions combined with the things, both good and bad, that He allows and brings into my life are going to change me. I am convinced that when Paul wrote Romans 8:28-29 this is what he had in mind! This is the good that God promises to bring out of each and every situation because every one of these things is reshaping me and conforming me to be like Jesus Christ. First in my heart then overflowing out of my hands, mouth, and feet into the lives of other people.
This is why the heart is so very, very critical! This is why it will never, ever do to excuse our sinful thoughts, beliefs, desires and actions as some sort of mental illness, or disease. It removes all possibility of seeing who and what we are that needs to be conformed to the image of Christ!
This is my passion and my heartbeat…I know that in a readership worldwide that there are some reading this in horror that I would dare to contradict the “professionals” and call what they call sickness “sin.” But I do dare. I want you to be free, I want you to have hope! In Christ and in heart change there is hope and once hope takes root it cannot be turned back.
My prayer for each of you is that you would find Him if you do not know Him, and then that you would embrace what He is offering you today! Give Him your heart!