January 22, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“I 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. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”—Ezekiel 36:26–27 (NIV)
We use the word heart to mean a lot more than simply the cardiac muscle that pumps blood through our bodies and keeps us alive. For years, the word heart has meant much more!
Do these expressions sound familiar?
Follow your heart.
Be true to your heart
My heart will go on.
It’s a matter of the heart.
There’s a fire in my heart.
Look inside your heart.
When we hear expressions like these, when we hear someone say, “Follow your heart,” we interpret it as, “Follow what your gut—your deepest desires and inclinations—tells you.” Our heart is naturally associated with our will.
The Hebrew word for heart used in this passage, and in most other passages involving the word, is lēbāb pronounced levav. According to the Lexham Theological Workbook, this word specifically indicates the central organ of the inner person that generally serves as the “seat of emotions, desires, or the will.” This is why the word heart was mostly used to refer to the person’s central emotions, passions, and thoughts—it was the “essence of a person.” If this is what heart meant when used in most Old Testament passages, then we can better understand that we’ve been born into this broken and fallen world with hardened hearts.
For this reason, when we come to Jesus in repentance for our hard and sinful hearts and receive His grace, forgiveness, and salvation, we must then allow Him to transform our hearts. His grace is not just a one-time gift! The beauty of God’s grace is that it’s His continual work in our lives to transform us into the people He created us to be in the first place! When we allow God to mold us, it won’t always be comfortable or easy, but it will result in a transformation that only the Holy Spirit can offer. Therefore, carry these two additional Scriptures with you as you pray for heart transformation this year!
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”—Psalm 51:10–11 (NIV)
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”—Psalm 139:23–24 (NIV)
Pause: Have I allowed God to transform my heart? What areas of my heart have I been hiding from Him out of fear or shame?
Practice: Spend time praying these Scriptures today and talk to God about one area of your life that you’re hiding from Him. Ponder why you might be hiding it, and invite a trusted friend into your struggle as well so they can hold you accountable.
Pray: Father, thank You for committing Yourself not only to my salvation but to my transformation. I want my heart to become more like Yours! I want to be molded by You, so Holy Spirit come have Your way in me. Amen!
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.