Why Won’t My Heart Change?

A couple days ago I confessed my frustration toward a certain someone to a friend.

I’m just so frustrated by her behavior. And I’m trying not to get bitter toward her. So just pray for my heart in it all…I concluded. In essence, I was asking her to pray that my heart would change so that I could be more like Christ. If my heart changed, then I would change.

My heart did need to change, no doubt. But as I prayed later that evening, my patient Savior showed me that regardless of how I feel in a given moment, I am to remain obedient to Him. And in that moment, maybe it wasn’t my heart he was concerned most about…maybe it was my mind. Because it is with my mind I choose to follow him or to not follow him. It is a conscious decision I have to make day-by-day: to deny my pride and anger and desires and submit to Him and His will, which is revealed in the Word of God.

But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you… (Matthew 5:44)

I’ve read it so many times. So when I don’t like someone, do I get on my knees and pray for them? And why couldn’t I simply pray for my own heart in this matter? Because humbling myself in prayer for someone else who is an enemy of sorts is exactly what would change my heart.

So, I’ll leave you with this:

Is your heart gripped with anger, bitterness, worry, lust, envy, pride?

Well, maybe the reason our hearts aren’t changing is simply because we aren’t applying our minds to scripture, mentally understanding what he’s asking us to DO and then humbly doing it.

Psalm 40

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How I Live My Days

“Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:19

About a year before I got married, I remember struggling in my faith and living my days for myself instead of for Jesus. I wasn’t in the Word and my prayer life was dull. I had given my life to follow Jesus four years prior to this, but became relaxed in my daily Christian walk.

This passage comes after Jesus’ teaching of Christians being the salt and light of the earth…on us doing the will of God and being Jesus to the world. Our Christianity is not lived out merely in our declaration that Jesus is the Son of God, but in our daily submission and commitment to Him as Lord. The difference may be one who relaxes God’s Words without proper submission to it and one who is a devoted follower.

As I read this passage in the ESV translation, the verb relaxes caused me to ponder it a little more seriously. Other translations say it as whoever breaks, but that word is literally translated as one who loosens or does away with something.

Truth is, we choose to disobey God when we relax the application of His Word in our daily lives, when we become careless toward it, when we loosen its grip on our hearts. The result is the same: we break His commands.

How does this happen? Though many things contribute to it, the underlying cause is this: It happens when we stop seeking Him through His Word and knowing Him through prayer. Satan wants us to relax God’s commands. Even if we’re believers, he’ll distract us so that our days are not lived for Jesus. And then what? Consider this quote…

 “How we live our days is how we live our lives.” -Annie Dillard

Friends, each day matters. Do not relax even the least of His commands. Obey and teach others to obey. This is the purpose of our lives…and it must be lived out as the purpose of our days.

Is Your Faith Stale?

Our churches are full of people who hear the Word of God, but do not always walk in it. And our churches are full of people who feel dead in their faith.

I’m sure all sorts of names and faces just flashed through your mind. But don’t be too quick to point fingers. We’ve all been there, even us weekly church-goers and Bible-readers. At times, our faith seems dead, boring, and fruitless; and consequently, our God appears dead, boring, and spiritless. How can this be? What do we do when our faith seems a bit stale?

God tells us in James 2 that faith without works is dead shortly after He tells us in James 1 to be doers of the Word and not just hearers. Our faith must be exemplified by doing God’s Word. And the result? As we step out in faith, God’s Spirit works in us to produce fruit in our lives and to awaken us spiritually.

If you are feeling stale in your faith, go and be a doer of God’s Word. If you don’t know what to do, ask God and wait silently for Him to respond. Oh, trust me, He will respond. And then you must act. It may be sharing the gospel with a stranger, friend, or yes, even a family member; bringing a meal to someone in need; or showing sincere kindness to that person who wronged you. Sometimes I go downtown and ask God who I can serve, pray for, or love on, and He faithfully shows me the person in need. Then He enables me to do that which He has commanded me to do. As we step out in faith, it is exciting to see God work in us and through us, even in the most simple of Biblical commandments.

Being a doer of God’s Word is really being a vessel for His Spirit to work through us to do His will and His work on earth. And as you become doers of His Word, your faith will be alive and active, and you will be blessed in what you do[1].


[1] James 1:25

Learning Godliness

I’m not sure when we crossed over from “newlyweds” to simply married, but it happened sometime in the last year. I can’t believe four years have passed since I married the man of my dreams. But one thing is certain: every year my love for him grows deeper, stronger, and more unconditional. And yet, at the same time, every day I realize that I need God’s Word to teach me how to be a godly wife – because though I’d like to believe it came natural the moment I said  “I do,” godliness is not a natural trait in any of us.

I am so grateful for God’s Word as an ever-present, how-to book in my life. I am not undermining its value in that statement, I am proclaiming its divine validity and applicability in all areas of life.  His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path – it shows me the way and gives me wisdom in my everyday life. When I respect Mike as a man whom God created in His image, as a husband whom God ordained to lead me spiritually, God’s perfect will is established in our marriage, and it is good.

I need God’s Word to guide me in my everyday life as I grow and learn  about what it means to love God and love others, and – as I enter my fifth year of marriage (!) – what it means to be a godly wife. Otherwise my only hope is to learn by failing miserably in it, which happens anyway – so praise God I married a patient man! But as we allow His Spirit to teach us and raise us up in His truth, we allow the inspired Word of God to give us divine and wise instruction on how to live life. I pray that each of us realize with increased clarity the reason for each of God’s instructions and commandments. His Word instructs us in marriage, parenting, singleness, hardships, loss, relationships, work ethics, finances, life…

Seek God’s wisdom in your daily life…seek God’s wisdom today. He faithfully responds as we faithfully yield to His Spirit. Then, and only then, will we be transformed more into the likeness of Christ!

Learning and growing with you,

Brandee

PS – Happy Anniversary  to my husband! I love you Mike! ♥