Topic: Choosing to Change [October 24, 2016]
Read: Ezekiel 18:25–32, Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 3–5; 1 Timothy 4
Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Ezekiel 18:31
When my son acquired a small robot, he had fun programming it to perform simple tasks. He could make it move forward, stop, and then retrace its steps. He could even get it to beep and replay recorded noises. The robot did exactly what my son told it to do. It never laughed spontaneously or veered off in an unplanned direction. It had no choice.
When God created humans, He didn’t make robots. God made us in His image, and this means we can think, reason, and make decisions. We’re able to choose between right and wrong. Even if we have made a habit of disobeying God, we can decide to redirect our lives.
When the ancient Israelites found themselves in trouble with God, He spoke to them through the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel said, “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. . . . Get a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezek. 18:30–31).
This kind of change can begin with just one choice, empowered by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:13). It might mean saying no at a critical moment. No more gossip. No more greed. No more jealousy. No more ___________. (You fill in the blank.) If you know Jesus, you’re not a slave to sin. You can choose to change, and with God’s help, this personal revolution can start today.
Prayer: Dear God, all things are possible with You. Through the power of Jesus’s resurrection help me to take the first step toward a life of greater devotion to You.
For a new start, ask God for a new heart.
God promises to perform a spiritual heart transplant, giving everyone who repents “an undivided heart and a new spirit” and replacing a “heart of stone” with “a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11:19). Ezekiel talked about this work of God in saving those who would repent (Ezek. 36:25–27). God will give us His Holy Spirit to enable us to obey Him (v. 27). Jeremiah calls this “a new covenant” (Jer. 31:31–34). Hours before He died on the cross, Jesus spoke of “the new covenant in [His] blood” (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25). Because of Jesus’s death, He is now the mediator of the new covenant (Heb. 8:6–13; 9:17; 12:24). Under the terms of the new covenant, God has made it possible for everyone who repents to “get a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezek. 18:31).
This message was written by Jennifer Benson Schuldt [Our Daily Bread Ministries.]