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A Heart Change
We all have experienced that feeling after saying something that did not sit well neither in our heart or in someone else’s heart. We end up thinking “Did I just say that?”
Subsequently we run through our minds and reflect the root of it all. Matthew 12:34 says that “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say” (NLT). Furthermore, Proverbs 4:23 tell us to “watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (AMP). Pastor Dave in this week’s message Keeping Healthy Keeps Us Together, compares our hearts to the roots of a tree, and our words to its fruit. Hence tThe words we speak areis really a reflection of what is in our hearts, as Jesus said himself in Matthew 12:34 – “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. If the heart is good, we will speak good things.
God makes references to the heart, (Kardia in the Greek meaning – mind, character, inner self, intention) in the Bible at least 158 times. Through scripture God shows us that a heart that is not created new in Him would be wayward, blind, hard, proud and full of sin, which deceives us and leads us to death. Yet God in all his love towards us promised this Himself in Ezekiel 36:24-27 this:
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 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. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
What a wonderful and comforting truth! We do not have to create that change of heart ourselves, but God does it by the power of His Spirit. The minute we accept Jesus in our hearts, He says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” He cleanses us from all filthiness.
The fact that God says that “things have become new” implies that something is being worked inside of us. The Lord says that He wills in us the desire to do His will.
Hence, wWe recognize that though we have a new heart, there are processes that the Holy Spirit would like to take us through in renewing our heart. Your heart is the soil of your garden that can be cultivated with good seeds, but before sowing those we need to take the weeds out. How do we recognize the weeds and how do we cultivate a good heart?
1. Pray and allow the Holy Spirit to examine you like David did in Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
2. Inspect the quality of your words which will reflect your heart
Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church tells us that:
- A harsh tongue reveals an angry heart.
- A negative tongue reveals a fearful heart.
- A boasting tongue reveals an insecure heart.
- An overactive tongue reveals an unsettled heart.
- A judgmental tongue reveals a guilty heart.
- A critical tongue reveals a bitter heart.
You might identify that there is something in your heart by the words that you speak, but the good news is that the Holy Spirit is there to renew and touch your heart. God will never condemn you for it, but will bring a gentle conviction and the power to change. If your words reveal anger, ask God to heal your hurting heart with His love. Jesus knows your story, your pain, and wants to fill you with His love.
3. Let God plow your heart by confessing and repenting as Jeremiah 4:3-4 (NLT) encourages us to do.
Jeremiah 4:3-4 (NLT) – This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.
Take your sins and come as you are to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness. He is faithful and just to forgive. He is faithful to exchange anger for peace, fear for faith, insecurity for identity in Him, unsettledness for assurance, guilt for freedom, and bitterness for contentment.
4. Forgive others that have hurt you
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger…along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
As Pastor Dave taught in his message, forgiveness builds healthy relationships, and we must remember that as God forgave us first, so also, we must forgive others (Colossians 3:13). Forgiveness is more for you to find freedom rather than the other person. “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other guy to die”.
“To worry yourself to death with resentment is a foolish, senseless thing to do.”- Job 5:2 (TEV)
Don`t waste yourself in unforgiveness!
5. Plant good seeds in your heart through His word and actions!
Hosea 10:12 (NLT): I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’
It is the word of God that is the seed that produces the good fruit in your life. As you read His Word, which is life, it will transform your heart by the power of His Holy Spirt as you take action to follow Him wholeheartedly in obedience. Take comfort, as Paul encourages in Philippians 2:13- (AMP) [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
The gardens of hearts can only be changed and transformed as we allow God to pour out his love in us as he promised in Romans 5:5.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
If you have not yet accepted Jesus’ love and acceptance, today is the day where you can welcome Him to clean your heart and cultivate your garden to bring good fruit. Simply ask Him to enter in and surrender all to Him today.