Yesterday Ps Shawn opened our new series “The New Me” and taught primarily on Romans 12. Shawn is right, it is absolute folly to keep trying in our own strength to bring complete life change. Sure we can bring some change. When it comes to the body we can get focused, eat right, exercise and loose weight, plenty of people have done that. When it comes to our mind we can work hard at getting our thoughts and attitudes on a positive level and yes we can achieve success. But when it comes to our Spirit/heart, working harder just doesn’t work. We can even work hard at doing the right things in the hope of pleasing God, like going to church, serving, and reading our bible systematically and even these good things can be folly if our heart remains unchanged, unmoved and cold to Jesus.
Jesus makes it crystal clear, our hearts are the issue that needs to be addressed. In fact when a group of religious leaders began criticizing Him for healing a demon possessed man Jesus responded by pointing out; “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and it’s fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by it’s fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt 12:33-34)
It didn’t matter how hard these religious people tried (and to some extent they were succeeding) to bring outward change, they were totally unable to work the inward and the true life change which flows from a changed heart by the grace of God.
As I sat there and listened to the message yesterday, I prayed, God, thank you for your gracious gift of a new heart, a new life, a new me through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Jesus thank you for not only providing for the forgiveness of my sin but your very presence and power in my life through your Spirit which lives in me. Father may you continue to grow, strengthen and challenge me to every day die to me and live to Jesus. Please increasingly open my eyes to the opportunities you bring my way to share the truth and new life you have placed in me through Jesus with others, Amen.