While the Change Your Heart & Life (CYHL) blog tour continues through May 27, today’s post marks the conclusion of my portion of the journey on this tour. To those who have enabled my participation in this tour I says, “Thank you very much for this has been a blessing to me!”
This has been quite a ride, hasn’t it? Over the course of the past forty-eight days, we’ve looked at a great many of the occurrences of the phrase “change your heart and life” in the Common English Bible. Invariably, the word “repent” has been the word of choice for English Bible translators for years to convey the thought of Scripture in these texts.
However, the word “repent” can be so easily misunderstood these days. Or, perhaps even more frequently, that word simply “bounces off” of us as we wall it off from our hearing it deeply. And so, I for one, am elated to not only see a contemporary English translation of Scripture boldly attempt a fresh way of communicating God’s will to us, but to succeed so well in giving us a spot-on definition of exactly what it means to “repent,” namely to “change your heart and life.”
As we’ve looked at these passages that call for radical change on our part, change wrought inside and out, we’ve attempted to do so with humility, transparency, simplicity and prayer. My prayer today is that God has used these moments in relevant and practical ways to assist you in your ongoing, daily conversation with, and living for, him. May the change in my life and your mine, to the glory of God, never stop. And so, may our prayers continue.
The people were burned by intense heat, and they cursed the name of the God who had power over these plagues. But they didn’t change their hearts and lives and give him glory. (Revelation 16.9 CEB)
I know literal, intense heat melts things. Even rocks melt and become lava.
But there is one thing that cannot melt: a heart and life hardened against you and personal change.
Lord, I fear fire. But I fear having a heart hardened against your development and transformation of me far, far more.
Deliver me from evil; all of the evil within me.
May my heart melt daily for you.
The rest of humankind, who weren’t killed by these plagues, didn’t change their hearts and lives and turn from their handiwork. They didn’t stop worshipping demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that can’t see or hear or walk. They didn’t turn away from their murders, their spells and drugs, their sexual immorality, or their stealing. (Revelation 9.20-21 CEB)
How is it you made me and yet I often seem determined to try and remake you into my own image?
I must be off my rocker to think I can downsize you or remake you into my own image so that the new “you” accepts my every , unholy, worldly desire.
May I not cast my cravings and worship them, but cast away my cravings and worship you!
I want anything and everything that takes your place in my life to be removed.
Whether you start with my hands and my handiwork, or with my heart and my heart disease, open my eyes and ears to see, hear, and identify the deaf, mute, and blind gods I worship that I stop and flee from them.
I correct and discipline those whom I love. So be earnest and change your hearts and lives. Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me. (Revelation 3.19-20 CEB)
ear·nest: resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction; synonyms are serious, severe, and zealous.
When I feel your the rod of your correction, may it impress on me how you love me too much to leave me undisciplined and set in my selfish ways.
As intense feelings well up in me under your discipline, may those emotions serve to not make me bitter, but only better.
As you meet me where I am and invite me again and again into your presence and goodness, may I throw open my heart and mind to your great love by changing my heart and life.
These are the words of the one who holds God’s seven spirits and the seven stars: I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, and you are in fact dead. Wake up and strengthen whatever you have left, teetering on the brink of death, for I’ve found that your works are far from complete in the eyes of my God. So remember what you received and heard. Hold on to it and change your hearts and lives. … If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. (Revelation 3.1-3a,6 CEB)
I don’t want to live my life based on what others think of me.
I want to live my life based on my perception of you and your will which you reveal to me.
For you are the One who knows the real me.
You are the One who cares most of all whether I live or die.
So when I grow forgetful of you, joggle my memory and help me to remember what you’ve said.
When you bring to my mind your word, move me to grab it and not let go.
When I start to fall asleep at the wheel, shake me and wake me.
When I grow weak, fill me with your strength.
For I want your work in me to be unhindered and my works for you complete.
But I have this against you: you put up with that woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. You allow her to teach and to mislead my servants into committing sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to change her heart and life, but she refuses to change her life of prostitution. Look! I’m throwing her onto a sickbed. I am casting those who have committed adultery with her into terrible hardship—if they don’t change their hearts from following her practices … (Revelation 2.20-22 CEB)
Enable me to ever see sin for what it is; do not allow me to become blind to its shamefulness.
May I not be taken in by sin’s false claims; let me not be deceived by unbridled, unholy desires.
If I am caught up in a sin, in your mercy, send whatever is necessary to shake me from my rebellion against you.
Deliver me from evil; deliver me from self-destruction.
… you have some who follow the Nicolaitans’ teaching. So change your hearts and lives. If you don’t, I am coming to you soon, and I will make war on them with the sword that comes from my mouth. If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. (Revelation 2.15-17a CEB)
Why do I believe what I believe about you and about life?
Is it simply because this is what I’ve always believed?
Is it just because someone I liked or trusted taught me such?
Is it so, whether consciously or unconsciously, I’ll fit in with those I hang with?
Is it merely because believing this way fits with the way I want things for myself?
I want to know!
I want to believe what you would have me to believe.
Whether it makes me comfortable, fits my past, gains me friends, or not.
For I want to truly know you.
So give me courage, I pray.
Courage to honestly compare what’s in my head and part of my habits with what comes out of your mouth.
That I may praise you well with who and what I am.