A Big Problem…
One of the biggest hindrances of Christians in our walk with the Lord is, like the rest of the world, too often we live according to our emotions. If we feel angry, then we let ourselves honk and scream at the driver in front of us. If we feel depressed, we stay in bed refusing to take phone calls. If we are happy, then we go out and have a good time. The problem with our emotions is that they deceive us. The Bible says that our own emotions deceive us in a more effective way than even the devil who is the father of all lies (John 8:44, Jeremiah 17:9). But there is hope and that brings us to the Verse of the Day:
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Our Sinful Heart
Our sinful heart is full of the wickedness of sin, but the hope we share in Jesus Christ is that He makes us new. When we are born again into salvation, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). He replaces the heart of stone with a heart of flesh. He gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). It is a new heart of flesh. Most of the time, in Scripture, when we discuss ‘flesh,’ it is representative of sin, but in this case, it is not. It is helping us to understand what God does to our hearts when we receive Christ as Lord and Savior. The difference is illustrated by the difference between stone and flesh.
If you take a stone and press on it as hard as you can, you will not make any kind of impression on that thing. If you continue to apply pressure by something stronger than your own hands, the rock will simply shatter and break. But if you press on your own skin, you will see that you are able to make an impression. The flesh can be moved, shaped, molded. It does go back to its original form, but if continued pressure is applied, a new shape can be maintained.
God gives us a new heart
When the Lord gives us a new heart, by the power of the Holy Spirit, suddenly our hearts can be moved, shaped, and molded. Before salvation, our heart was hard and could not be influenced by God, but after salvation because of the gentle pressure of the Holy Spirit, Scripture will have a great influence to change us.
The difficult thing about this is our inconsistency. The Holy Spirit does not operate by force. He never forces us to do anything. He encourages. He woos. He whispers. His influence to shape our heart is always present, but we have to submit ourselves to it. And it is not a one-time thing because our flesh will go back to its form if we stop submitting to the gentle pressure of the Holy Spirit. But as we allow the Holy Spirit to mold us, our hearts will be purified. God does not replace our heart of stone with a pure heart, but a heart that has the capacity to be purified (2 Corinthians 7:1, Titus 2:14). It is a partnership between the Holy Spirit applying His gentle pressure and our decision to submit to this pressure to be transformed from the inside out.
So the Lord can purify our hearts from the stubborn wickedness into which we are born. We are urged to guard our hearts because we speak and act out of the condition of our heart (Proverbs 4:23, Luke 6:45). We must submit our hearts to be purified by the Holy Spirit. But how?
The key is following Truth
David speaks of this quite a bit in Psalm 51. He asks the Lord to give Him a pure heart. The context is about truth. Our hearts are purified by the truth of God found in the Scripture taught by the Holy Spirit. Any time our emotions are not in line with the Scripture, they are working to deceive us. For example, If you ‘feel’ hopeless, this is a lie because Christ is our hope and He is always present (Romans 15:13). If in your anger, you ‘feel’ justified to really let someone have it for what they have done, this is a deceitful emotion. The truth is that we must not let anything unwholesome come out of our mouth (Ephesians 4:29).
Our emotions are determined by our perspective. Jesus said He is the Truth (John 14:6). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). What does this mean? Christ is showing us the way to eternal life and life abundant, but the god of this age, Satan, is presenting an alternate path to this same life abundant. His way is deceptive. It seems right, but it leads to destruction (Proverbs 14:12). When we make the mistake of pursuing the things of this world in order to achieve life abundantly, it will, in the end, ruin us and we ‘feel’ hopeless, forgotten, abandoned, mistreated, jealous, and bitter. It causes our perspective in life to be negative.
Being purified step by step
When we follow the truth in our actions, step by step, it will reveal a path of joy and hope. It will change our perspective. As we choose to let this new perspective dictate our behavior, we continue to see more and more the goodness of God. Eventually, the negative perspective creating negative emotions will be re-shaped by the Holy Spirit so that we begin to ‘feel’ what God feels. We begin to feel what He feels about us, about others, about the world before us. We begin to understand His heart. We see Him more clearly.
Submit yourself to the truth of Scripture allowing the Spirit to mold your heart into a reflection of God’s heart. As you do, you will see God clearly.
What is the hardest part about this do you think? How well are you doing not allowing your unBiblical emotions to destroy your life?
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Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!
Pastor Lee is a pastor and Biblical life coach. He has been helping people through counseling, pastoring, teaching, and preaching for 20+ years. His ministry focuses on helping people overcome the strongholds of the past and press on into God’s plan for an abundant life. He has been married to his wife, Amy for 28 years. He has three sons and one daughter-in-love. For more about Pastor Lee or to get some Biblical advice, go to the About page.