We read in Ezekiel 36:25-27 of a wonderful promise that each of us can take and hold onto if we desire to see our lives changed and it starts by allowing God to change us from the inside out.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:25-27 (ESV)
I love this passage of scripture because it explains to me one thing that apart from God I will never really get where I am going. You see He was talking to Israeli about being redeemed from all of their failings and He has promised you and me the same things if we will submit to His will for our lives.
What we see here is that when we chose the path that leads to God he begins a work in us that cleans us up. Not that you or I have to have everything right before we come to him we just have to take the steps in the right direction and he will begin that work. That comes through the conviction of our sins and the repentance of our heart. It is God who strengthens us to put aside those things that are keeping us out of His will no matter what it might be. He has promised to cleanse us and bring us closer to Himself.
Then God shows Ezekiel that the problem is not that we are just unclean but our hearts are hard as stone and this keeps us from continuing on the path that he has set before us. We are unable to enjoy what he has given us because we are dry inside. There is a difference between the words rock and stone within scripture. We call Jesus the rock of our salvation this is something permanent that will with stand everything that comes against it. While a stone is something much smaller that is often used by man. Sometimes it was used to honor God when altars were built but most often you see it used to destroy men and women as they are stoned to death for sins against God. So for us to try to follow after God with something that is manmade will never work it requires we allow Him to give us a heart transplant. This is the only real way for us to grow closer to Him.
He has also promised us something else in these passages a source of power to stay the course. He has promised to provide you with a new Spirit and that Spirit will help us stay on the path that he has called us to. It will give you strength in times of weakness. It provides direction when we are lost. It strengthens us when the load gets heavy and He guides us in our interactions with others. This new heart and spirit that have been promised; you will receive as you walk with God on the path he has chosen for you in the New Year.
One last point and verse I want to share with you today. When we have accepted this New Heart and Spirit God has promised us something in verse 28;
28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:28 (ESV)
God has something prepared for us that is greater than anything we can imagine. It requires though that we start traveling in the right direction and that we submit to His will in our lives so that we will be blessed and be a blessing to others.
I hope you have a truly blessed day as you walk in the light of God's Word.
Rev. Brian H. Mathis CSC
Ordained Minister Church of God, Cleveland TN
Currently serving as the Associate Pastor of Discipleship at Westminster Baptist Church
Graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary MDiv in Chaplain Studies