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New Heart

If you are reading this in the midst of a normal day, feeling quite unemotional about life’s ups and downs at this moment, then for me to describe my state during my time with God yesterday will sound extremely melodramatic and unbelievable. But, it is true nonetheless. I found myself sobbing over my “helpless estate” as He has been showing me ever more clearly my hatred of people. Yes, hatred, though I’d like to phrase it as “not loving well” or “not loving as much as I’d like to”. But the truth is, it’s just simply not loving without all those softening adverbs. And, if I look at it honestly, to actively “not love” looks a whole lot more like hate than something neutral.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Cor. 13:2-7

God is love. I am not. I have been totally impatient – very not patient. I have been exceptionally rude lately, particularly in the evenings. Easily angered doesn’t say it clearly enough. Chad opened my car door yesterday when I was looking the other way and unknowningly caused my huge water cup, that I had just filled before leaving the house with the last of my fresh lemon soaked and refridgerated water, to empty out all over the hot parking lot concrete. I was furious. I’ve also gotten enraged over nobody telling me who left staples all over my bathroom counter. Really? Yes, sadly, really. Self-seeking could easily be at the root of my lovelessness, but Paul puts it in with everything else. But yes, I am pretty consistently self-seeking with my time, energy, interestes and “love”.

So what I saw yesterday was this heart that is filled with impatience, rudeness, anger, and self-interest above all else. I cried and felt short of breath – not just because I felt sorrow over it but because I knew deeper than is explainable that I could do nothing, think nothing, read nothing, not understand just the right thing properly to bring about real change in this condition. I didn’t need a pat on the back, a “there there” or some duct tape. What I saw was that unless He gives me a new heart, I am hopeless indeed to really be more interested in the well being and delights of those around me than myself.

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. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. Ezek. 36:25-29

He will save me not just from the attacks of enemies but from my own uncleanness! Oh what good news, what deep comfort, what sure hope! He will move me to follow His decrees, to love as He loves. If He cleans me, even if I need Him to do so hourly, I will be clean as I can never make myself. He won’t just patch up my heart but promises me a new one, run by His Spirit.

The greatest gift of this devastating sight of my hateful heart in need of His new one is that it turns utter dependence upon Him and my deep need for prayer and communion with Him, from something “right” as a Christian to my only hope for bringing life to others rather than continued injury.

And here is what is so sweet about His mercy – my children do not keep records of wrongs, rejoice in the truth and continue to trust though I do not deserve it. Even as I repent to them for my impatience and wrong response to their age appropriate behaviors, they are ready to giggle and dance and cuddle.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor. 9:8

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