Transformation at the Heart Level
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I Samuel 16:7
Often our problem is we don’t like the sin in our lives and feel guilt and shame about it, yet we aren’t necessarily willing to do what it takes to address it. I believe this ties God’s hands in a sense because God will not force himself on us. Nor will He turn on some type of remote control and make us do what He wants us to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking “works” here. God isn’t interested in our earning, but He is interested in our effort.
So he’s left only with our hearts. That is why the heart is mentioned so much in scripture. The amount of progress we make will be in direct correlation to how much heart we actually make available to God. In my past I half-heartedly wanted to deal with my porn problem. I kept telling God just take it away from me, just decrease my desire, or even make me impotent if you have to God! I wanted freedom but only on my terms, I was playing games with God and it got me nowhere.
It wasn’t until I found myself at rock bottom that I began to take God seriously about doing things His way. I feared that it would cost me too much. I knew it had to cost me something. That really is the big myth out there that our transformation doesn’t demand something of us. But it does. Our salvation is a FREE gift of grace. There’s no question about that! But to become a “disciple” is quite costly. Remember Jesus words, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)
I knew that I would be stripped bare and broken wide open because that’s just the way God does things. He says if we truly want transformation and change it must be on His terms and it must be drastic, major, jarring, intrusive, and deep.
So there is no room for half-heartedness. I’m grateful that God accepts us where we are and I know He speaks to us over a period of time but ultimately we have to reach a point where we say okay God I see what you are up to and I’m responding. I’ll do whatever you ask. The invitation is given but it is the decision of the will to respond at the prompting of the Spirit of God.
One of the most poignent chapters in the Bible is found in Psalm 51 where David is broken over the reality of his sin. Verses 10-12 are particularly meaningful for this post:
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:10-12