A Life of Transformation

For the past few months, God has been teaching me about the importance of the condition of our hearts. For most of my life, when I have noticed a sin or behavior I want out of my life, I have focused on eliminating the action itself. I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing, but I have realized it is incomplete. It is similar to cutting a weed versus uprooting it. If you trim or cut a weed, it will grow back. However, if you pull a weed out by its roots and toss it away, it will no longer grow there. 

Our thoughts and behaviors are a reflection of something that exists in our hearts: “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Luke 6:45).” Check out Matthew 15:17-20 and Proverbs 4:23, too! Looking at these truths, we can see a pursuit of solely addressing our behavior fails to deal with the origin of it. I have spent too much time trying to deal with specific thoughts and actions, just for my heart’s condition to remain unchanged and display itself in another way. Our heart’s condition will always find ways to express itself.

I think the enemy can use the external component of our sin to distract us from the deeper issue: our hearts. We can get caught in a cycle which leads to a life spent cutting off bad, unfruitful branches, rather than tending to our roots and soil so that we may produce fruitful branches (John 15). God desires a life of fruitfulness, not one consumed by the maintenance of dead branches. To break out of this cycle, we must be willing to be honest with ourselves and look deep within our hearts. This is a challenging and uncomfortable process because we may realize we do not believe certain truths to the extent we think we do. We may even find that we do not believe some truths at all. 

Understandably, it can be much easier to deal with external issues because they seem more detached from our identity. Behavior modification gives us a sense of control, and while we do have some control, maybe we do not have as much as we think when it comes to our hearts. The reason we need Jesus is because we are unable to make ourselves right before God. Our need for Jesus to transform our hearts is not just in a moment of salvation but a need in every breath. I am not proposing we disregard our actions or fail to take responsibility for them. Our actions should be signposts which turn our gaze inward to inspect the condition of our hearts. When we discover things in our hearts which do not align with Jesus, we should repent and ask the Father to heal the condition within our heart. No matter how disciplined we are, our efforts to modify our behavior with human willpower are pretty weak. Thankfully, God wants to partner with us and for us to partner with Him in the transformation of our hearts. Let us surrender to and invite Him who is able to have His way in our hearts.

Author | Michael Weidner

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