Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lenten Reflection #4:Inside Out

"Create in me a clean heart, Oh God; and renew a right Spirit within me." - Psalm 51:10

It is easy to clean up on the outside.  We can shower, shave, put on new clothes.  We can even for a while act like we are someone that we are not.
For a time we can put on a smile.
For a time we can pretend that we have it all together.
We can even put on the persona of loving and caring.
These temporary cover ups are not changes at all.  They are just our attempt to fool others and ourselves.  We might give some habit up for a while but we will pick it up again unless we are changed.  We might smile on the outside but we wont have joy unless we are changed.  We might clean up and look like we have it all together outwardly but that wont change what is going on in our heart and our Spirit.
We can not change our hearts.  No matter how hard you and I try I can't change myself.   Sure we try.  We try hard.  And we always end up disappointing ourselves don't we?  We may have some apparent success but it is temporary.
The good news is that God is in the heart change business. That is what he does. Only God can change a human heart. He is not concerned with the outside.  He wants to change us from the inside out.  He says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put his Spirit in you and cause you to live according to my laws and keep my decrees." (Ezekiel 36:26)
 The sooner that we learn that we can't change ourselves and that God does and will, the better off we are.  It is a tough lesson to learn.  We want to think we can do it. Although we hate banging our heads against the wall we continue to bang our heads into this wall of self-actualization and I can do anything if I just try hard enough.
Here the good news today.  You can stop trying so hard.  You can give up the acting and pretending.   What you want and desire is just a surrender away.  Surrender.  Let God do what he has promised to do.  Let him change you from the inside out.  Make the words of the psalmist in Psalm 51 be your Lenten prayer.  Ask God to create in you a clean heart and renew a right spirit within you.  Rest in Him and in the power of his Resurrection that is making all things new.  This includes me and you.

In Christ's love and mine,

1 comment:

K Bailey said...

Doug-Really appreciate the encouraging post today. Hope all is well with you. Know that as a pastor you must bear the burdens of others in a way the average person doesn't appreciate and that it also must seem as though you have no one (other than Nicole) with whom to share your burdens. Be encouraged yourself. Been too long since we've talked...hopefully soon. -Kasey