Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Heart for a New Year

 “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 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”
 (Ezekiel 36:26).

I like new things.  Not that I don’t appreciate the old, but new things do bring me earthly satisfaction.  And God knows I am in need of a new heart.  My sinful, hardened heart - which controls my thoughts, emotions, and actions - does not handle pain and suffering well. 

In Beth Moore’s study on Believing God, she says that with our new hearts we have new thinking, new reflections, new memory, new resolutions and determinations of will, and new emotions and passions.  These words bring me such joy and hope!  I need new, positive ways of viewing my situations rather than negative, discouraging ones.  I want to look back on my healthier days with thankfulness rather than grief, seeing God’s hand through it all and trusting Him for what I still don’t understand.  I can refocus difficult memories through the lens of God’s attributes.  God also cleanses me from the idols I have made of perfect health and a pain-free existence.  When I am tempted to respond to my problems in the old way, I can remember that my new heart enables me to make different choices.

Of course my old earthly nature is still with me and I still carry remnants of my heart of stone.  I will not always handle my circumstances, thoughts, or emotions in new ways.  Praise God He understands and forgives.  Just as bodily muscles need to be stretched and exercised to grow, so each trial that lies ahead is an opportunity to build up the muscles of my new heart, growing me in faith and perseverance.  I am a new creation, and by God’s mercy and grace I can respond in new ways through this new year.

Prayer:  O God, thank you for giving me a new heart.  Strengthen this heart that I may be consistently faithful to You through all my days.  Amen.

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