Saturday, December 27, 2014

How to have a different heart in 2015 ...

It's that week between Christmas and the coming of a New Year when, at some point, we're supposed to give the obligatory consideration to personal change.

Often that's all it is, an empty tradition of racking our brains for a New Year's resolution that sounds good but doesn't mean much ... at least, doesn't really mean much personal change.

We tend to think more in terms of tweaking our lives rather than changing them, to adjusting for greater comfort of our ride through this life than changing our role in it. Washington Irving Collins long ago described our willingness to change as being something closer to a self-indulgent shift ...

"There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stage coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place."

That's often the extent of our mini-excursions into change, just the tweaking of our posture to minimize the bruising the world gives us.

When was the last time you gave serious consideration about real personal transformation? And I don't mean daydreaming about what life might be like if others or circumstances changed. It's easy to be like the man from the mountains of Tennessee who one day found himself in a large city and, for the first time, standing in front of an elevator. He watched as an old, haggard woman hobbled on and the doors closed behind her. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young, attractive woman marched off the elevator. The man turned and hollered to his son, "Billy, go git yer mother!"

What if, instead of being afraid of or reticent about change, we embraced the idea of letting God make all the changes He desires to make in us? What if we were open to the idea of actually letting God change our hearts?

What would we look like with a heart shaped by God?

In his book, "Shaped By Grace," Max Lucado wrote about how some years ago he underwent a heart procedure ...

"My heartbeat had the regularity of a telegraph operator sending Morse code. Fast, fast, fast! Slooooow. After several failed attempts to restore healthy rhythm with medication, my doctor decided I should have a catheter ablation. The plan went like this: a cardiologist would insert two cables in my heart via a blood vessel. One was a camera; the other was an ablation tool. To ablate is to burn. Yes, burn, cauterize, singe, brand. If all went well, the doctor, to use his coinage, would destroy the 'misbehaving' parts of my heart.
"As I was being wheeled into surgery, he asked if I had any final questions. (Not the best choice of words.) I tried to be witty.
“'You’re burning the interior of my heart, right?' 'Correct.'
“'You intend to kill the misbehaving cells, yes?' 'That is my plan.'
“'As long as you are in there, could you take your little blow-torch to some of my greed, selfishness, superiority, and guilt?'
"He smiled and answered, 'Sorry, that’s out of my pay grade'.” 
Lucado concluded, "Indeed it was, but it’s not out of God’s. He is in the business of changing hearts."

If we were really serious about change --- not just tweaking our lives or shifting our posture --- but willing for God to go crazy on transforming us, even to the point of changing our hearts, what could He do?

Here's an example ...

"And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations," Ezekiel 36:26-27.

Can you imagine going into 2015 with a transformed heart? What do you think a new year could hold in store for you with that kind of change?

Scotty

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