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Heart Drive

Click here to read Ezekiel 36 on BibleGateway.com

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” – Ezekiel 36:26-27

images (3)If you have access to a small child (your own, a niece or nephew, an annoying neighbor), you have probably already seen the natural desires of Man at work. If you put two children at a table, with two M&Ms, what usually happens? Do they each take one? Or do they face off in the Infant Thunderdome for the right to consume both mighty chocolates?

What about as they get older? Do we become more caring and generous as we get older? Or do we just find ways of hiding our greed? Like hiding the extra cheesecake from our spouse at the back of the fridge? Running through the drive-thru on the way home so they don’t notice? Grabbing an extra pair of shoes when we “run out to get groceries”? Do we do the right thing just because we’re old enough to know?

KNOW BETTER

In the New Testament, Paul talks about the struggle of wanting to do the right thing, but he finds himself always doing the opposite. Anyone who has followed Christ for any length of time (or even if one isn’t a believer, and just tried to do the right thing) can testify that just because one may know the right thing, doesn’t necessarily mean that one will do the right thing.

We know we shouldn’t watch television shows that don’t glorify God, but the DVR is normally full. We know we should take care of ourselves, but the doughnut sirens call out to us. We know we shouldn’t get angry, but those co-workers. We know we shouldn’t gossip, but then she wore “that” again. Our actions often fall short of our knowledge.

As a general rule, we do not guide our actions by what we know. We are driven by passions and desires from deep within ourselves – how do we change that? More willpower? Is it all just about being “strong enough” to resist? It appears that God doesn’t think so. Yes, we need self-control, but God has said he will help us, almost as if he knows we’re a bunch of weak-willed weasels.

STONE COLD NO MO

Sounds good, you say, but how? By changing our heart. What if you desired to do the right thing? Wouldn’t that be easier than trying to fight yourself all the time? Wouldn’t it be nice if your strongest desire was to obey God’s laws? Sure would make that weekly altar call less awkward.

But there is something you have to do. God can’t (or more accurately, probably won’t) change our hearts and our minds if we aren’t around him. If you want to be more Christlike, you’re going to have to spend some time with him in the shop. Turn off the TV and read your Bible for 20 minutes instead. Spend that little extra time in prayer in the morning. Don’t skip church to go hunting, or watch sports, or sleep in. If you want to have a new heart, you need to be around the transplant team.

Then maybe our desires could work for us for a change.

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