The heart

Past events have made me reflect on a foundational truth in the Christian life. God is after real heart change, not external conformity. What God is trying to accomplish in my life is greater than anything any set of rules or standards could produce. Head knowledge and performance based Christianity (professional Christianity if you will) do little unless it is backed by the power of God in my life. This messy process we call “sanctification” is constantly being barraged by my own sinful heart’s desire to either live without the law of God (lawlessness and blatant sin) or to think that somehow I can fulfill the law and gain favor with God (and usually more to gain favor with other people) This may be making sense to only me, but I see sanctification as a battle between my flesh and between the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit trying to produce some sort of godliness in my life. What would that look like? Very simply, a denial of my own selfish desires (the ability to resist temptation) and a willingness and sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8 says that I am dead to sin and that the Spirit who raised Jesus dwells in me. That powerful principle tied together with the thoughts in Romans 6 show me a pattern of refusing sin’s old grip on my life and yeilding myself to God. The process of real heart change contains both human responsibility and Divine intervention. I can take comfort in the fact that “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” ( I like the William Barclay translation of this verse “For it is God, who, that He may carry out His own good pleasure, brings to effect in you both the initial willing and the effective action”) The point is that God is always willing to lead, and is always trying to lead us in the path of righteousness, sometimes though I cling to the seat that I’m in and won’t let God work in my heart. Meanwhile I may try to convince others that I am right with God. This is worthless Christianity and it’s time we all got serious about getting our hearts right with God.

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