by Tim Howard
Records reveal when I was born on February 13, 1951 I weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz. My hands were only an inch or so long, my hair didn’t exist and my skin was all shriveled up. Even though my parents used the term ‘cute’ to describe me, I’m not sure that was absolutely true.
Years later, however, some major changes have taken place. I’ve grown to 5’8” tall, my hands are much larger, I’ve managed to put on 160 lbs, and I don’t want to talk about the hair thing because it seems like I’m regressing back to my infancy in that area.
Growth produces physical change but external change is not the only thing we humans need.
Speaking directly and bluntly, Jesus confronted the religious leaders about their emphasis on external change without any focus on what was happening internally. Matt chapter 23 puts it this way.
"You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something… People look at you and think you're saints, but beneath the skin you're total frauds.” MSG
From this very insightful scripture, it’s clear that God desires more than mere behavioral modification!
I’ve had times in my own life when I looked like I had it together outwardly but was a mess internally. My life was incongruent and the inside didn’t meld with the outside. I’ve learned you really can’t always judge a book by its cover because looks can be deceiving!
God wants to change us from the inside out. Yes, He is concerned with your behavior, but He is ultimately concerned with your heart and attitudes because all your actions flow from your heart. King Solomon said: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23
Changing from the inside out will require God’s involvement. Christianity is not about human effort and conforming to certain spiritual laws but being transformed into God’s likeness by the power of Jesus Christ.
Just like a skilled doctor who is able to do heart transplants for those in physical need, Jesus is able create a new spiritual heart within each and everyone who asks.
You can live without an arm, a leg, one kidney or one eye but you can’t live a life pleasing to God without A heart transplant. He will do it if a person asks!
Here’s God’s promise to those who do ask:
Ezekiel 36:26 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. 27. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.