Heart of Stone

9 08 2011

I recently read one of my favorite passages in the Old Testament, Ezekiel 36:23-36.  It never fails to relate directly to my biggest struggle as a follower of Christ—changing my heart.  Following is a dialogue between this scripture and my mind.

“I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them.  Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.” (v. 23)

“Kelly, though you profane my name through your words actions as much as any unbeliever, I’m going to turn it around.  You can’t see it now, in the middle of your struggles, but through you, others will see my holiness.”

“For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.  I will sprinkle you with clean water and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.” (v.24- 25)

“Kelly, I will rid you of your pride and arrogance, stubbornness, defensiveness, sarcasm, unwillingness to submit.  I will rid you of your materialism, your quest for worldly success and recognition.  I will make your soul clean and pure, holy so that you may be in my presence.”

“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.” (v. 26-27)

(WOW!  I love this passage!  It cuts right to the heart of the matter—my heart.)  My heart stinks.  It is hard.  It is diseased.  It is unyielding.  It is proud.  It is ugly.  It is ungodly.  It is unrighteous.  Far too often it goes against the desires of my Creator.  “But I can change it all!” declares my Lord.  “I am a God of redemption!  I am a God of forgiveness!  I am a God of compassion and love!  I will give you MY SPIRIT!  I will LIVE IN YOU!  I will replace all the ungodliness with an unquenchable desire to follow me, obey me, and submit your life to My will.”

“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.  I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine.” (v. 28-30)

“Kelly, I will never abandon you.  You will always be Mine.  I alone can save you from yourself.  No longer will others look upon you as a woman of the earthly world, nor will you look upon yourself as a hypocrite because of your heart.  I will make your victories in Me abundant.”

“Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.  I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake,” declares the Sovereign Lord.  “Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel.” (v. 31-32)

“Kelly, I want you to overcome your past and be victorious in your future, but you must truly repent before Me in order for that to happen.  Show remorse over your sin.  Weep and grieve over your ungodly and unrighteous behavior.”

This is what the Sovereign Lord says, “On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt.  The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it.  They will say, ‘This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.’  Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate.  I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.” (v. 33-36)

“I have AMAZING news for you, Kelly!  Your heart will be renewed!  Your sins will be forgiven!  Your spirit will be settled and at peace.  Your relationships will be restored, refreshed, rejuvenated.  All who know you will be awed at your transformation, and I will be given the glory.  You will be a testimony to my power, my forgiveness, and my love.  Trust me to do this, and I will do it!”

Amen.

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