Hearts of Flesh

heart

Ezekiel 36:26 NIVI 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.”

This post came out of a conversation I had with a Christian brother whose name is Scott, this morning. I always enjoy Scott’s posts because he tells it like it is and for lack of better words, he wears his heart on his sleeve (he doesn’t hide his true feelings). We could all learn from Scott.

I’m NOT going to reproduce our exchange verbatim because I intend on adding a little to this particular post but the essence of my communication to Scott (with a little extra thrown in now), went something like this:

God is indeed perfecting us as we walk along this journey that He in His mercy has started us on. You know how an onion has a lot of layers, that’s what God does to our hearts, He strips away at our layers, one by one, until as you have indicated to God in your prayer, “continue circumcising my heart until all is gone except You”.

Some layers take more time than others to be removed but each one ultimately is removed WHEN we place a VALUE of knowing Him and His communion with us, over that which we stubbornly hold onto.

The long and the short of it is that as time progresses in our walk with God we begin to honestly sense and VALUE that which brings us closer to Him versus that which moves us away.

We need to feed daily on God’s Word. I could quote Scripture verses that authenticate this reality but I’m pretty sure that for most of us who are seriously endeavouring to follow Jesus and have Him active in our lives, this pretty much is a given.

Feeding on God’s Word inevitably leads to spending more time in prayer to God. Once again, to anyone who is earnestly seeking to have God active in our lives, this is pretty much also a given. It just happens, it’s like jumping into a swimming pool, getting wet naturally follows.

And it is here, especially when we are in prayer, that something really amazing happens. Our spirit begins to be open to and aware of God’s spirit within us and there is a communion between God and us, individually, that manifests itself. Most times it is just a quiet connection that we can sense, sometimes this communion helps us with the words that we use in prayer, sometimes there is just an awareness of His presence and the vast majority of times, there is an awareness of peace and an awareness of righteousness about what is taking place. And infrequently God speaks to us directly by telling us something that we need to do. We don’t hear the words through our ears, we hear them inside, we become aware of them. These times are infrequent but they happen and most often, totally without our expectation (you don’t know that it is going to happen). And most importantly, that which we are asked or directed to do, always agrees with God’s Word. God will NEVER ask you to do anything that goes against His Word.

And as time progresses, as our prayer time evolves, we become tuned to this awareness and it becomes something that we value, that holds us in our faith, that establishes our connection to God with us and us with God. I should note that casual prayer, repetitious prayer of just words we repeat over and over again will not do this. It needs to be brutally honest prayer, heartfelt prayer, responsive prayer, earnest prayer. Superficial prayer seldom if ever, brings you into God’s presence, at least that is my experience.

Once that “oneness” is established, once it becomes a reality that we are aware of, and the communion we have with Him is valued, cherished, God works on our hearts. This is where the illustration of the onion comes into play. Some layers are more thicker than others, some take more time to get peeled away but as long as we keep ourselves before Him daily, that which He has begun in us, He WILL bring to completion.

Philippians 1:6 NIV “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

And the layers that God works on are varied, it could be pride, it could be forgiveness, it could be any number of things that God needs to change in us, but the kicker is, our value of the communion we have with God, compels us to follow His lead, compels us to be obedient, compels us to move closer to Him rather than moving away. You simply can’t hold onto that which God wants to change in us and move closer to God at the same time.

Matthew 22:36-40 NIV “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

You see, you can’t possibly love your neighbour (the good ones AND the bad ones) as yourself without loving God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.

And your can’t possibly love God with all your heart, soul and mind without God’s Holy Spirit within you bringing Jesus to the forefront and us to the rear.

John 15:5 NIV “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

When you begin to love God with all your heart, soul and mind, you VALUE His communion with you MORE THAN that which you wish to hold onto.

And the beauty of it all is that He is so patient and God’s love for us and His intent for us is for our good because there is nothing better than being close to and in the presence of our loving God. Absolutely Nothing.

Notice how God says he will take our hard hearts and make them hearts of flesh. Flesh is softer, moveable. Indeed, to those who VALUE our connection or communion with God, He is working on our hearts. Believe it! Trust Him!

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

 

5 comments

  1. Thanks Bruce. I am thankful that God just peels back a layer at a time. Imagine if He tried to show us all at once! It would overwhel us.
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    I am so grateful He builds us up one layer at a time. We grow as we draw closer to Him and learn His ways. He is so patient and loving with us!

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  2. So much practical wisdom in this post, Bruce! I’m glad you were inspired to share your thoughts with all of us. And yes, Scott is so “down to earth” and authentic! His humility is truly inspiring as is yours. God bless you both greatly!

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