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.
God’s amazing grace produces radical change in our lives. We have a new awareness of sin that keeps us close to God. We have a new status as friends rather than enemies of God. We even have a new heart. In Ezekiel 36:26, God promised His people that one day He would give them a new heart, a heart that would be motivated to obey God not out of fear but out of genuine desire. 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.”
When did that occur? Historically, it occurred after Christ was raised from the dead, and God sent his Holy Spirit to indwell every believer at Pentecost. Today, anyone who receives God’s grace and forgiveness also receives the power of the Holy Spirit, who makes us into a new person with a new heart and new desires.
Yet to fully appreciate the new heart that God gives us, we have to understand the old heart that still remains within us. Paul described the defectiveness of our old heart (which he called “the flesh”) in Galatians 5:17: “The flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” What is the desire of the flesh? What does it produce in our lives? Look at verses 19-21: “Immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.”
Let me ask you a question: Do you ever have problems controlling your anger? Do you ever find it difficult to forgive somebody who has wronged you? Do you occasionally find your thoughts going someplace they should not go? Congratulations–that means you still have the remnants of an old heart inside of you.
Now let me ask you this: When you hear great worship music, is there something inside your heart that just wells up? Do you have a hunger to be with God’s people? Is there something about the Word of God that speaks to you when you read it? Do you find yourself wanting to know God better and to live a life more pleasing to Him? Those desires are not natural; they are supernatural. They are evidence that you are the recipient of a new heart as well. God’s grace not only provides a pardon from sin but gives us a new heart with the desire to please Him.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Under New Management” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.