The series on contentment continues as God spoke to me this morning through a passage in Ezekiel 36, during my chronological Bible reading.
Ezekiel is prophesying that God would bring His people back from exile into their own land and that Israel would again populate and prosper. God tells Israel, through Ezekiel, that He is not doing it for them, but for Himself, “for the sake of His holy name” (vs. 22) so that “the nations would know I am the Lord.” (vs. 23)
I was struck while I was reading verse 26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you, I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (The Message)
“And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:27, The Message)
How does this relate to contentment, you ask?
Well, I believe that being content really is based on the condition of the heart. We know that a hardened heart contributes to all kinds of unhappiness and discontentment with one’s life.
A hardened heart is a selfish heart. It looks out for its own interests. A hardened heart seeks worldly happiness rather than godly contentment.
A hardened heart often leads to divorce. (See Matthew 19:8)
Jesus Himself warns us in Matthew 24:12, in speaking of the end times, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” Stone cold, maybe?
When we harden our hearts, it is actually a form of rebellion. Hebrews 3:8 reminds us,“do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness.”
So, how do we protect our hearts from turning to stone?
It is through the daily filling of the Holy Spirit that God puts His love inside of us. We ask Him to make His desires our desires. We ask Him to move us to accomplish His will. And it is through His Spirit that we may live an obedient and thankful life.
A content heart is one that is God-willed rather than self-willed.
Lord, I do not want to end up with a cold, heart of stone. Forgive me for the times that my heart has felt hard, tough, and shone traces of rebellion. Put a new heart in me and with it, give me Your desires for my life. I pray that You would move me to do Your will and to follow Your ways, according to Your word. Remove the parts of my heart that are self-willed, and replace them with a heart that is God-willed.
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Ephesians 4:18 (NIV)
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (AMP)
So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet. James 4:7-10 (The Message)
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