HOW ‘BOUT A NEW HEART?

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NEW HEART, NEW MIND AND NEW DIET

Nature is a great way to learn things about God. After all, he is the one who created it. Most people think he created everything from nothing but that simply isn’t true. The Bible even proves this. We read in Hebrews 11 “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” So you see things were made from that which isn’t visible but there was something there that it came out from. In fact it came out from God himself just as when God breathed into Adam the breath of life. It was God’s very own breath that made Adam a living soul. In other words there is some flash or glimmer of God and his character written in everything throughout his creation. “His invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made…”

Butterflies are a great example of God’s transformational power. Of course we know a butterfly doesn’t start out as a butterfly but rather a caterpillar. The caterpillar has to go through a transformation or metamorphosis in order to become the butterfly. This transformation takes place in a dark, tight spot called a cocoon. While it’s in the cocoon you can’t see what is happening but we know something miraculous happens because at the appointed time a butterfly emerges leaving no trace of the caterpillar.

There are several changes that take place during this dark time in the cocoon. The caterpillar undergoes dramatic changes to its heart, brain and stomach. Isn’t that something? It needs a new heart. That sounds like what God wants for us. And its brain, well that reminds me of how we have to have our minds renewed.

Since a caterpillar lives on foliage and a butterfly eats nectar it has to have a brand new digestive system. We too have a change of diet from feeding on fleshly and worldly things to a diet of the Spirit.

As I thought about how there has to be a complete transformation in the caterpillar I thought that is exactly like us. When Christ takes up residence within someone they become a new creature. All of the old stuff is gone and everything becomes brand new. We truly become a new creature in Christ.

If only we could see ourselves as the new creature we are rather than thinking we are still the old man. I mean I just can’t see a butterfly flying around thinking “I’m just a caterpillar saved by grace.” I for one have never seen a butterfly and thought “Look at that caterpillar” have you? No, you see the butterfly and think that is truly a miracle. Only God could pull that one off.

This whole idea about the caterpillar and butterfly struck me this morning and I thought about how Adam disobeyed God and became a lower level creature than God intended him to be. It’s as if when he ate of the forbidden tree he became a partaker of the wrong diet: worm food if you will. All along God intended for him to eat only of the butterfly food which is the fruit of the Tree of Life. Since he ate of the forbidden tree it would require a radical transformation to enable him to eat of the Tree of Life.

The way in which the transformation takes place is very much like the way a caterpillar is transformed. A man generally has to go through what many have deemed “The dark night of the soul.” We tend to have to find ourselves in some pretty dark, tight spots before we are willing to be changed. If we are willing though, God will change us into the creature that he’s always wanted us to be, and he will give us a new heart that will long for the things he longs for. He will renew our minds so we will begin to see ourselves as the new creatures we are. Finally we will start to feed on Christ. Jesus said, “He who eats me, he also will live because of me.”

One day there will be some caterpillars standing before God saying, “Didn’t I do this …?” And “didn’t I do that…?” and Jesus will say, “I never knew you.” You see it isn’t about what we do it’s about whether or not we are the kind of creature that can live in the heavenly environment God has created for those that love and trust him. It will be a place only butterflies can access. No amount of correct behavior or good deeds will change us into the kind of creature that lives with God for all eternity. Only God can change us into the kind of creature that can live in the heavenlies throughout all eternity.

Written by Louie

CHANGING OUR WANT TO’S

Christian County Jail

Although at first it may seem like God’s commands are something we don’t want to do and it is very difficult the truth is rather “the way of the transgressor is hard.” It says in 1 John 5:3 “God’s commandments are not burdensome.” You might be thinking you’re crazy; they are burdensome, and I don’t like them one bit. Just hang with me a minute.

After Israel’s repeated failures to do what God told them to do and God’s seemingly endless patience with them he shared with them his plans for a New Covenant. You see God has never been into outward obedience and lip service if our hearts are far from him. He wants us to obey from a heart that is longing after his. In Ezekiel 36:26-27 he said, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances.”

God always knew, even before the fall in the Garden of Eden, we were going to require a nature transplant. Adam took the nature of Satan upon himself and infected the whole human race with a rebellious spirit. The only way we were ever going to be able to do as God commanded was if God gave us a new nature. This of course is exactly what he did by way of the cross of Christ. On that cross Jesus died as you and I and an unbelievably great transformation took place. He took from us the spirit of error and gave us his Holy Spirit. The fulfillment of the promise from Ezekiel has come. God’s promise of a new heart and his Spirit is available to all by faith.

Once there was a preacher that came to the church I attend that has preached over 600 revivals. He is pretty much a country boy, but he will never hesitate to tell people the truth of God’s word. One time he told a story about how before he was saved he used to love to fight. He said, “I mean I loved to fight. If I was driving down the road and saw two guys fighting I would stop and see if one of them wanted me to take their place so they could rest a while.” He just loved to fight. He said after he got saved everything started to change. He said, “Now that I’m a Christian I can fight all I want to, I just don’t want to. Now that I’m a Christian I can drink all I want to, I just don’t want to. Now that I’m a Christian I can chase all the women I want to, I just don’t want to.” You see he had a heart change and with it came a “want to” change.

In conclusion let me just say this. Most of the time it takes quite a bit of trying and failing before our want to’s change, but that is what God is after. He never wanted a bunch of people that he had to give rules to. Rather he has always wanted us to love him and each other from the heart. With the availability of a new heart and the Spirit of God he’ll have no problem changing our want to’s.

Written by Louie