Christianity Defined 5
Since I gave my heart to the Lord in November of 1985 many things have happened to me and in my life that I cannot explain by natural means. They could only have been caused by an All-Powerful, All-Knowing and Loving God impacting me and my life.
I have been turned upside down. I have different taste in music. I live in a more beautiful world. I love things I hated. I hate things I loved. Enemies became friends. Friends became enemies. Strangers who are Christians instantly understand me and I understand them. The Bible was boring but is now fascinating. I have different goals. Thoughts of God produce in me the greatest joy. Failing Him causes me the greatest sorrow. I trust you too are thrilled with the changes God has wrought in your person and in your life. Being thrilled by the changes God has made in us is one way of glorying in Him.
2 Corinthians 10:17: But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
There are many ways to define what it is to be a Christian. One of the most fascinating to me is the impact becoming a Christian has on our hearts. Becoming a Christian is getting a purified heart. Luke wrote in the book of Acts how God had impacted both Jewish and Gentile believers.
Acts 15:8-9: And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
There are certainly differences between the before and after of God*s work on one*s heart and differences between the hearts of unbelievers and believers.
Luke 6:45: A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Isaiah 44:20: He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?
Jeremiah 5:23-24: But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. 24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.
Matthew 5:8: Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Do you have a pure heart? Are you a good man or an evil man? By our own standards we prefer to think that we are good. But God has a higher standard. By His standard none of us are good.
Romans 3:10-12: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Philippians 3:9: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Purifying our hearts in God*s job. Renewing our minds is our job. God does His work on our hearts in a moment. Renewing our minds should become our life-work. If we study the Bible we will be able to observe the Biblical changes that God makes in our lives and in the lives of others. I am still amazed at the changes God has made in me and is still making some 26 years later.
Romans 12:1-2: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
While we don*t know how God purifies our hearts, we know it is accomplished by Jesus presence in them and that His presence in our hearts is forever.
Ephesians 3:17a: That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; . . .
Deuteronomy 6:6: And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
Psalms 37:30-31: The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
Psalms 40:8: I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Isaiah 51:7: Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
Hebrews 8:10: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Hebrews 10:16: This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
Hebrews 13:5: Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
We know that His greatness cannot be bottled up within our hearts.
John 4:14: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
John 7:38: He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Jeremiah 20:9: Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
Are our pure hearts making a difference in our lives? Does our flesh overpower our pure hearts? Do we live as if we are aware of His constant presence and activity or do we live as if He just visits occasionally for our convenience?