What we need is a change of heart that is faithful, true, and enduring
By: Marie Jon'
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” â€” 2 Corinthians 5:17
At one point in my grandfather’s young life, he found himself to be a very unhappy man. He became angrier and angrier with every passing day. He knew he had a problem, but he wasn’t about to admit it to his wife and children. Grandpa would often say that he was misunderstood by others, including his own family. Instead of seeking guidance, he made them pay the price for his pent-up frustrations.
Too often he took his anger out on his family by becoming verbally abusive behind closed doors. And then, when it was over, he would leave the house in a huff, while hanging his head in shame over the fact that he had just treated his defenseless brood so badly. Within his heart, he knew he was wrong.
With tears stinging his eyes, he would walk down the street whispering to himself a promise to never do that again. He would assure my grandmother that he really meant it. But just a week later, after a tough long day at work, he would do it again. And at times he would break furniture into pieces while shouting at the top of his voice. He frightened his entire family, who cowered in their bedrooms.
These escalating acts were repeated just like a time-bomb ticking. He yelled at his wife and snapped at his kids without provocation, again and again. It was those outside forces that annoyed him. Unfortunately, this young father and husband had not learned not to bring destructive emotions through the door of his own home.
A changed heart
Thankfully, grandfather’s life changed and there was happiness after all. For you see, grandfather made a promise to God to follow Him. And by grace, he allowed Christ to have His way. He literally became the father that my dad longed for. And to God’s glory, grandfather became one of the major reasons why my own father gave his own life to the Lord. His father’s transformation was a tremendous witness to attest to what Christ can do when you’re willing to yield to the power of the Holy Spirit.
Because of my young age, I never experienced the out-of-control and angry side of “papa.” He was, to me, a happy, kind, smiling face who sang with the church choir. Those are the memories I’m privileged to have whenever I think of him. He died a little over two years ago with his loving family by his side.
The truth is that no matter what your personal circumstances are, when the human spirit yields itself to God, His love can bring about changes because He is faithful. It’s my personal opinion that folks can’t truly alter their lives without a commitment to a loving God. The Bible describes this as having a born-again experience:
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Man is sinful and separated from God, yet He still loves us. Being apart from God makes it impossible for people to keep promises to themselves and put a stop to doing things they know are destructive behavior. But by the grace of God, they can overcome their sinful nature.
“When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them and said unto them, With men this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible” (Matt. 19:25-26).
Willpower not enough
To this very day, America is still fighting a war against terrorism. I can’t help but think of the tremendous increase in church attendance shortly after the World Trade Center collapsed in 2001. Stunned and very frightened, people suddenly became determined to be on good footing with the Almighty God.
Prominent pastors became enthusiastic because an act of terrorism promised to precipitate a major spiritual revival in America. Unfortunately, it took only two short months and it was over. Church attendance went right back down to where it was before the horrific attack took place.
It’s regrettable that this revival only lasted a couple of months. Didn’t the people who suddenly went back to church actually mean to return to matters of faith and take it seriously? They had the perfect opportunity to experience a renewal and make a positive impact on society, while bolstering morality which is floundering in our country today. I am convinced, for the most part, that they did, at least for the time being. It’s evident, however, that fear was not enough of a motivator to keep their religious faith intact, it was enough only to bring them to church temporarily. When the planes stopped crashing into buildings, life just simply went back to the mundane. People quickly forgot all their promises and went back to the way things were.
We can spend a lot of time deciphering the self-sufficient will of human beings who do a lot of talking about willpower and the strength of sheer determination. Apply those topics to arenas in the world of business, careers, or politics, and there is something to be said for that. We live in a country where we can become as successful as the next person. However, in the world of faith, sheer willpower simply isn’t enough, because most temptations are bigger than the willpower we can muster up all by ourselves.
While reading through my Bible, I’m reminded about the Israelites. In the Book of Exodus, they had just been delivered from Egyptian slavery. God’s “Promised People” had seen the hand of God part the Red Sea and drown the Egyptians. They witnessed the fiery presence of God come down on the top of Mount Sinai. As they were privileged to watch the spectacular wonder of the moment, they made a solemn promise to God. Moses spoke with God, and then gave a report to the Israelites:
“And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord had commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, ‘All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.’ And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord” (Exodus 19:7, 8).
The Israelites made a promise to God, and they believed it was an easy promise to make after following God’s presence out into the desert. They repeatedly made the same promise after Moses had received the Ten Commandments:
“And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, ‘All the words which the Lord hath said will we do’” (Exodus 24:3).
They repeated the same promise again a couple of verses later:
“And Moses took the book of the covenant, and read it before the people, and they said, ‘All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient’” (Exodus 24:7).
When the Israelites made these promises they were sincere. Unfortunately, the rest of the Book of Exodus and the Bible exposes the sad record of God’s people repeatedly breaking their promises to the Lord. They found themselves doing the very things they had promised God they would never do again.
The problem is not just sin, but ‘sinfulness’
I believe that God’s people today mean it when they promise to stop committing certain sins. They just don’t have what it takes to keep their promises. There has to be a real personal relationship with the Lord. When you love God, you want to please Him.
The Word describes sin as the transgression of God’s moral law: “And the problem of sin runs very deep. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).
But sin is not just something we do. It’s also something we allow to enter into our lives. God could have solved the whole problem by just removing the laws we were breaking. Yet, intuitively, we know there’s more to it than that. Our sins separate us from God. The Scriptures say that we are powerless to change our sinful ways by ourselves:
Isaiah wrote, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).
The prophet Jeremiah expounds on the subject plainly: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:23).
God says that you can no more change your sinful nature than you can change the color of your skin. If transgression were just a matter of breaking the rules, all you would have to do is stop breaking them. Can you do that?
But there is something about the human heart that has been changed by the nature of sin. Unless regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians will continually find themselves helpless to live the life they know they should live to glorify their Savior. They will not be able to witness to others and draw others close to them. The work of the Great Commission will be difficult to complete â€”
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20).
A faithful heart
It’s obvious that too many Christians suffer from a heart problem. So get out there and flex your spiritual muscle, and with God’s help begin to change your ways.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Breaking God’s law is sin. Acting out and being disobedient has trickled down into the very essence of our being. Everything we do is infected by it. Even the good things we do, according to the Bible are sullied:
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6).
Without a spiritual rebirth, even with all the good we do, our works are like filthy rags. Sin will have sway over us. Mankind’s thought processes have been perverted. Sin has altered our misguided priorities. Most importantly, it has taken our focus off “The Great I Am” and put it squarely on ourselves.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Our own weakness explains why we sometimes find ourselves unable to walk away from sinful habits. We know that smoking cigarettes can cause cancer. Yet we often refuse to take personal responsibility and break free from a psychological habit. We know that bad temper can ruin our family, but we can’t seem to close the lid on our fuse. We know that our lying, gossiping mouth is doing untold damage to others. Yet many will not have that conversation with the Lord and ask Him to help them change.
Take solace in the fact that you are not alone and that everybody struggles with something. You have never experienced a temptation that somebody else hasn’t felt:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Whatever you’re going through, others have walked that same path. Let me share with you a little secret. The most recognized persons in the Bible have struggled with the same temptations you struggle with.
Most of the disciples proved to be faulty in one way or another because they were human, despite being saved by the blood of their Savor. Did you know that Moses had an extremely hot temper? David certainly struggled with a lust problem. And Abraham lied about his wife to save his own skin. Peter struggled with taking a stand in public acknowledging his discipleship. He denied his Lord three times. Noah had a problem with alcohol.
The Bible is full of people just like you and me. It’s amazing that throughout His Word, God refused to abandon suffering people. If you are willing to be used by God, and willing to let Him make the changes in your life, you’ll be astonished at how He can turn things around.
Real hope and change
As we strive to remove a Marxist progressive agenda that now plagues our country, we must understand the game plan: If “We the People” are not willing to return to the God of our forefathers, there will be little or no chance to do what we desire to accomplish.
America’s beginnings where ushered in by men of faith who embraced the fact that mankind received their inalienable rights from our Creator God.
Patriots, it’s time to dust off your Bibles and put your emphasis on the Word of God. Let us never forget that God established the greatest nation in the world. When we think of freedom, remember that it is The Almighty who has given us the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What America needs is a change of heart that is faithful, true, and enduring.
My grandfather’s favorite hymn: I Come To The Garden Alone â€” George Beverly Shea
Marie Jon is a political/religious-based writer and founder of www.DrawingClose.org â€” a sister website to RenewAmerica. Marie extends her hand of welcome; visit DrawingClose and receive your free gift of salvation by taking an online Bible study.
Marie’s writings have appeared on many sites, including ABCNews.com, USATODAY.com, and The Wall Street Journal.com, to name a few. Marie brings a refreshing and spirited point of view that is reflected in her writings. Marie is a nurse, a lay student of the Bible, and a patriot. She is an advocate for American troops serving abroad, as well as the Blue and Gold Star Mothers of America and their families. Marie enjoys Townhall.com radio, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and Bruce Elliott Saturdays 5AM-9AM EST