“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 11:19
Welcome to a new year, fam! Some of you may already be on Day 6 of your resolutions, not missing a beat. Some may have reached Day 2, shrugged your shoulders and said, “Welp, I tried.” If you’re like me, you haven’t even bothered with a new resolution list because you still are working on the stuff from the previous two or three years. (My memory can be like a steel trap at times, so I know what I’ve still got to do. 😉) With the annual push for seemingly new everything, I asked the Lord about what to share not just this week, but for the entire month. And true to form, He led to me to the thought of “Walking in the New”. Yeah, the English may not be 100% correct, but follow me on this journey anyway.
Instead of focusing on the external per tradition – physical fitness, debt reduction, employing wise spending habits to save up for that trip to Belize, starting a new hobby, etc—for the month of January the perspective will be on the internal elements of heart, mind, and spirit. With countless Scriptures speaking to them, it makes sense to begin 2020 with these on the right foot. For if one of the three is off, it will not matter what external goals we set these next 12 months. We would ultimately be living out of alignment and just like a car operating in that same condition for too long, something in our lives will break down.
So, the heart…yeah, lots of things issue from this life-pumping muscle (Proverbs 4:23). One could look to my favorite Biblical figure (besides Jesus Christ) and his Psalm 51 to see a sample of one of these “things”. Though he knowingly and willingly messed up in a big way, King David was man enough to acknowledge his guilt when the prophet Nathan called him out. And instead of dwelling in the shame of his Michael Corleone setup to get another man’s wife and cover up the affair, the shepherd boy-turned warrior-turned king cried to God and said so perfectly in verse 10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Jesse’s youngest son had a change of heart, repented of his sin, and began “walking in the new”, the next phase of his relationship with God. Even when the consequences of his sin were meted out, David did not backslide as our more seasoned saints would say. He stuck with the Lord who made him king of a chosen people.
Interesting how nearly 400 years later, the Lord offered similar words to His chosen, exiled people through the prophet Ezekiel: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Unlike David, both Israel and Judah didn’t really bother trying to cover up all the dirt they had done, the idolatry and outright rebellion against the God who brought their ancestors out of slavery. Generation after generation, monarch after monarch, they weren’t even trying to get it right. Yet just like God, He offered a way out which showed His commitment to the covenant He made with Abraham. Instead of sending complete destruction, He preserved a remnant away from Zion and promised that they would return home. And He kept that promise, too.
A heart that is clean and free of our mistakes, undivided in loyalty and truth, and flesh (i.e., alive) instead of stone (i.e., dead), one that is filled with the love of the Lord and from which life flows to the people around us – this I believe is one of the top three goals for every child of God. Or rather, I believe it should be. 2019, 2018, 2017…1986, even, are done and over with. The stuff that bound, conflicted, and hardened our hearts is done and over with. It’s 2020, fam, and God has given us another chance to see that He is doing a new thing, and to join Him wholeheartedly. Imagine all the wonderful things that can be accomplished, the amazing blessings that can shower upon us and those connected to us, when the Lord takes our imperfect hearts and fixes them right up. Imagine the ease of experiencing His peace that surpasses all understanding, guarding our hearts in all situations. Imagine people walking past us and wondering, “What is it about that person that is radiating such positivity, such joy?”
Imagine “Walking in the New” with a heart overflowing with unconditional love all year long.
Wouldn’t that be something?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for a new start, a new chance to become closer with You. Please protect the hearts of Your children as we go along life’s highway and show us the opportunities to invite others to walk in the New with You. Give us the courage to speak the Good News so that they can come to know You as we do. Amen.