“The Essentialness Of New Hearts & New Spirits”
Making a decision to serve God isn't one to take lightly. Becoming a Christian means putting off the old man and replacing him with a new man who's now dedicated to the cause of Christ (Colossians 3:9). The prophet Ezekiel seemed to talk of this when he counseled, "Get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit" as part of the recipe for dealing with Israel's transgressions (Ezekiel 18:31). The decision that we make to serve God must truly involve new hearts and new spirits. That ancient truth is valid today.
To have a new heart is to have new feelings. Ask an atheist-turned-Christian and he'll often describe his former life of one without much care or concern. The threat of hell or reward of heaven are nonexistent in the minds of those who don't believe in God, His Son, or His plan. In leaving sin, however, atheists and all involved in the transgression of God's laws must feel differently about life, right and wrong, and our own place in the world. The children of Israel who were the primary focus of Ezekiel's words had a history of no longer caring about their Deliverer and forsaking His sacred commands. They, along with each of us, needed a "wake up" call that reminds those who have pledged their lives to God have promised Him that our hearts and feelings about who we are and what we're about are going to be drastically different.
A new spirit, according to Ezekiel, is also required. The word spirit is the word used for life or breath in numerous locations throughout the Old Testament. What an amazing thought! God expects our very essence and our every breath to be considerate of our responsibilities to Him. Living in sin requires little care or preparation. Living for God, however, is something that should be a part of who we are automatically. Just as we breathe 24 hours each day without ever giving it a thought, so should our lives for Christ exist in natural ways. Of course, serving our Creator isn't natural and therein lies the great importance of what Ezekiel says. No servant of God has ever nor will ever be successful in pleasing Him unless serious thought is given to our spirits. It's essential to consider the importance of our hearts and spirits if we want to please our Father. Let us daily work to renew them and always make service to Him the single most important part of who we are and what we're about.
Let us dedicate ourselves to the "unnatural" life of serving God as our Master, ever-mindful of the great value that comes from New Hearts and New Spirits!