I was reading this verse the other day, which is a familiar one to me, as it always hits home when I consider my own journey with Jesus.
"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,” Ezekiel 36:26.
I allowed familiarity to rob me of the initial wonder I had experienced by turning this verse into mere words instead of the intended promise of life in them. It hit me again and came alive with fresh revelation and grace.
Just so we have a little background on Ezekiel, he was a prophet God had called to speak to His people while they were exiled in Babylon. The Israelites had found themselves captives due to their ongoing, relentless sin without any intention of stopping to turn back to God. In this verse, God is revealing His plan to restore Israel through the new covenant. The heart of stone is representative of the old covenant, which is based on the law that God wrote on tablets of stone. The heart of flesh is representative of the new covenant, which would ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus entering the world in the flesh.
As believers who have put their faith and trust in Jesus, we are under the new covenant by God’s grace. Even though I know it to be true, there are still times that I feel like an exile.
Times I find my heart so far from God that it feels more like stone than flesh.
Times I’ve longed to once again hear Him speak and experience the nearness of His presence.
Could anyone use some restoration in their relationship with God?
God is faithful to bring us back again and again. Cry out to God. Fall on your face. Get honest with Him. Ask Him to search your heart and reveal any hidden sin that is keeping you from right relationship with Him. Turn away from your own way and return to God’s way.
Here are a few ways Scripture helps us to start the journey back to right relationship with God:
Humble yourself. When God convicts you of sin, agree with Him. Confess. Ask for His forgiveness.
- “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise,” Psalm 51:17.
Grieve your sin. Face it – good, bad and ugly. You deal and He will heal.
- “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” Psalm 51:10
Ask Him to wash you clean. Receive His grace and accept His forgiveness.
- “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me,” Psalm 51:12.
Ask Him to give you a fresh dose of grace. It is the overwhelming awareness of His great love we didn’t deserve that changes us. The reality is, we don’t have to follow Jesus and live a life worthy of His calling. We GET to!
- “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart,” Proverbs 3:3.
Finally, get up. Move forward changed – attitude, behavior, mind and soul transformed by His love and faithfulness.