Often in the One with Christ studies we come back to repentance and note that real repentance involves a true change of heart that only God can bring. So if we are to repent then we need to come to Him with the faith that we can be different. We don’t stop with accepting His forgiveness, but rather we seek God and keep seeking until He changes our hearts.
A nice illustration of this happened recently when my son Jacob was intentionally provoking his sisters. I could see that he was enjoying the sport of upsetting the girls and this would happen fairly frequently. On one obvious occasion, true to the parenting principles of Francois Fenelon (one of my favorite authors), I didn’t correct the behavior at the time. I simply told Jacob to stop and then left it.
Later on that evening we were talking together before bed and we addressed the problem. I said “Jacob, something in your dark side delights in provoking the girls.” (For a few weeks when Jacob was younger, he had enjoyed the Stars Wars movies and so we spoke of the flesh or fallen nature and the Spirit in terms of the light side and dark side of the heart.) When I said that, the edges of his mouth curled up into a suppressed smile. He knew he liked it. Jacob looked at me and said “I know. But what can I do about it?” So I explained that he simply needed God to take that part of the darkness out of his heart. Jacob believed that God was able to set him free from that part of the sin nature, so right there he prayed “God, I’m sorry for provoking the girls. Can you please take it out of my heart?”
That was it: the simple prayer of a child. And God answered. Through a simple prayer of faith and repentance, Jacob was changed. The provoking stopped. We had peace in the family. There was still the occasional time when Jacob accidentally upset the girls, but he found no delight in it. God had dealt with that part of his heart and he was free. I remember saying to Mel at the time that I’m sure parenting wasn’t supposed to be so easy. But maybe that is actually the way that God wants it. Maybe He just wants us to believe that He can change us, desire the change and then ask Him for it. Believe, repent, and let Him act.
I really believe that only God can change a person. I believe that through our prayers we can change people’s lives, especially those who are not born again. We were all sinners but sanctified us through the blood of Jesus Christ. If God did it to us, He can do it to our neighbours, families and friends who are not Saved (Born-Again) yet. Let us continue pray for them that God may change their hearts.
Thanks for a wonderful testimony. I have learned that I don’t necessarily need to spend hours in prayer. Just few words from my heart to God, can actually make a difference. Solomon, the wise man, (In the book of Ecclesiastes) says “God is in Heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few”. Glory be to God our Father in Heaven who reigns forever, in Jesus Name, Amen.
Hi Mamontle, thanks for your lovely comment. I totally agree with everything you’ve said, especially in terms of praying from the heart for those around us. It is so important that we understand our partnership with God in releasing His will and His love over others. May you continue to grow in your faith and love for God.
That is such a beautiful testimony that attributes to the simplicity that is in Christ and the faithfulness of God. Your series has really helped me to understand my place in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit’s heart and pray to Him in similar simplicity and sincerity with my faith being in His ability to change me and not my own. May God bless you richly for all that you are doing for His church. He said if you love me, feed my sheep … and that’s exactly what you are doing. May your heart be enriched that you are truly doing His work to edify His church during these last days. I appreciate you very much for being a sincere and faithful member of the body of Christ.
Thanks Daniel, I appreciate all that you’ve written and I especially receive your blessing of an enriched heart. May God fulfill His word in you and draw you deeper into His love.
Hello Geoff, I have to say, coming back to this interaction of ours months later that your blessing is being fulfilled. God has done exactly what you spoke which is to draw me deeper into His love. Thank you. I hope that my blessing of an enriched heart is being done in you. May your relationship with Jesus grow more and more every moment of every day. He is with you and pleased with you. Remember that you actually died and was raised with Him in newness of life. Continue to believe fully in your resurrection with Him and place in God’s Kingdom and nothing will hold you back!