The Heart of the Matter
“Therefore repent and return, . . .” Acts 3:19
Is there any hope for us? That is, for true, radical change of one’s character? Where God works within the heart first, convicting of sin, then cleansing that life with His love and power poured out from the cross; which thereby transforms one’s relationship with God, forgiving all the inclination of sin and temptation?
The message of Jesus means we are no longer trapped. It’s not once bad, always bad, or once mean, always mean. There is abundant power to alter a life. If not, then we have no contact with the One in whom all things are possible, and we are held helpless in the grip of old habits and deprived nature.
Thankfully, we are not without hope. The love of God, through the Spirit, looks upon a life and that individual looks back and sees God as He really is. It’s God who brings us into contact with Himself. In knowing God, we become all God intended us to be. His peace is injected into a life broken open, and Jesus rules as our Lord, instead of the selfishness.
When a person experiences defeat in their life, it’s because they have failed to receive something of His finished work from the Lord. Many Christians live in a state of belief in who Jesus is, and His work on the cross, but His work has not become personal. God’s work has not entered into their life at a level that produces life change.
Without total dependence on Jesus as our Savior, we will continue to attempt to change our life by making sincere decisions. Decisions of rededication, decisions of refining our behavior, and never following through on our best made promises. But, rather, always missing the point, that the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. Trusting in our abilities, instead of God’s, will produce a dead, lifeless faith.
Our spiritual growth becomes a stumbling block instead of a stepping stone. Salvation means we are brought to a place where we receive what only God can do in the heart, on the authority of Jesus Christ.
What is the territory of your life that is not yet brought into submission to Christ? Why not?