Ezekiel 36:26 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.
God doesn’t give you a new heart in order for you to have the same old desires or flawed ways. He gives you a new heart with new and right desires.
Think of the Grinch. His heart was two sizes too small. But once He saw the true meaning of Christmas—the love and care—his heart grew three sizes. His heart didn’t grow three sizes in order for him to still want to steal Christmas and hate the Whoos. Love caused it to grow and him to change.
Much like the Grinch, when God replaces our fleshly stony hearts of sin, He removes and replaces it with a new obedient heart to Him. Do we still make mistakes? Certainly. But we are no longer supposed to be OK with those mistakes. And what makes this change so possible? God’s Love.
I don’t think we could ever overdo the conversation of obedience. Obedience is love. It’s such a big deal that God compares disobedience to witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23). So, since we’re talking about obedience, let’s talk about Abraham.
Most people know the story of Abraham and Isaac. And the test he went through to prove his love and obedience to God. This test ended with Abraham not having to sacrifice his own son, as was the original command from God.
What I believe, is that Abraham’s obedience saved Isaac’s life. Let’s think about it.
Abraham didn’t know which mountain he was supposed to go to. “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you” (Genesis 22:2). God told him to take his son, go to Moriah and then he would show him the mountain. And of course, as the story goes, once Abraham was there a ram was stuck in the bushes which in turn became Abraham’s sacrifice instead of Isaac. But, what if?
What if Abraham wasn’t obedient? What if Abraham didn’t go to Moriah? Even simpler, what if he didn’t go to the mountain God showed him? He would have only partially obeyed God’s command and partial obedience is still disobedience.
You see, I understand the foreshadowing details of this story. I understand the parallels. I understand the test. But what I’ve recently learned is that it was complete obedience to God that kept Isaac alive. Not the ram, not perfect timing, and certainly not coincidence. Obedience.
In essence, what I believe is that God will always provide a ram in the bush, it’s just that we keep on going to the wrong mountain.
- Why do we want to procrastinate or to not try?
- We don’t want to work wholeheartedly – Colossians 3:23-24; Ephesians 6:7
- Selfishness says, “I don’t feel like it. So, I don’t have to.” – Jeremiah 17:9
- Pride says, “I shouldn’t have to.” – John 13:1-17 “Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet”
- Eric Thomas, “Behind your feelings is nothing.”
How do we overcome procrastination?
- Be immediate – Matthew 25:16, “He went at once…”
- Appreciate time – Psalm 90:12
- Discernment – Psalm 32:8; 1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23 (Just because it’s good doesn’t mean it’s necessary)
- Serve – Galatians 2:10, 6:10; Proverbs 21:13; Psalm 82:3-4
So, last week, we were watching a choir, and my uncle was asking why he couldn’t hear anything. Somehow, the TV had been muted, so my cousin said, the TV is muted so turn mute off.
What’s interesting is that we could see what was happening, but couldn’t take part in it because we couldn’t hear. We had the resource, we had the access, we were tuned in and could see it, but we couldn’t get involved. Not until we activated something.
We had the access and the resource, but we hadn’t activated them. And the same thing applies to our lives. Today, we see needs. We know we can meet them. We have access to people who could use our help. We have the resources. But have we activated them?
We’re waiting on something else to happen when all along we have the access and resources in our own hands to get involved and make it work.
In a different way
We gather to pray
That You would have Your way
That all that You want us to do
We obediently do for You
We pray that in Your Spirit we would fulfill
Only Your will
It is a day of prayer
A day to be completely aware
Of our communication with You
In all we say and do
This is the day we speak
A day we are completely meek
The day we spend to tell
You that with our souls, it is well
Nationally we proclaim
Your holy name
But it is on this day that I pray
That we not call on You just in May.
For some reason I was thinking about how the story of The Three Little Pigs fits into describing how our foundation should be in Christ. I know, right? Why didn’t I think of this before?
As you may know, the first two pigs built their houses with straw and stick, only to have the big bad wolf blow it down. Then the final pig built his house with brick and when the wolf tried to blow it down he couldn’t.
Now, the Bible says anyone who listens to Christ’s teachings and follows it is wise. It’s like a person who builds his house on solid rock. The wind and waves can beat against it all it wants, but it can’t tear it down.
But, if you don’t follow his teaching it’s like building your house on sand. When the floods and winds come it will collapse because it has no foundation to stand on.
So the two little pigs represent that house on sand. Without proper wisdom you’ll build, but when the enemy comes all it takes is for him to blow on you and you collapse. But when you use bricks of wisdom like the final pig, when you build on solid rock, the enemy can’t tear you down. He can huff and puff, but he can’t tear you down because your strength comes from your Rock, Jesus Christ.
In a world of pigs, which one are you?
Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.
The struggle is real, but it’s simple. God’s got it. No matter what is said or done, God’s got it. Period.
I’ve been praying for the strength to truly want God’s will for my life. Not to say it, but to really really want it. And it has been hard. I can’t lie. I struggled. I know that that prayer meant that I might not get to be what I’ve always wanted to be. I knew it meant that I might not get to have what I wanted. But I knew I had to surrender myself to God. I have to.
What I knew after praying that prayer was that God’s got it. He will not have me pray and surrender to His will and not have it all under control. If He would, then He would not be God. So here I am today, praying that God’s will be done. Here I am immediately obedient and completely surrendered to Him. I am daily praying for His strength to surrender my all to Him.
God, You’ve got me. You’ve had me, and You will keep me. It’s just that simple.