Heart change

(Jill LaCross) #1

In a Bible study at my church, in a group discussion, when I mention that the heart changes when you sincerely surrender to Jesus Christ, I feel like others in the room don’t know what I’m talking about.

Am I wrong about the heart changing in all who do this? I know we slowly mature in Christ-likeness, but my experience was that my heart did an about face after my experience. I now can’t say it was immediate but it did happen shortly thereafter. And I started very soon (if not immediately) hungering and thirsting after righteousness. And this grows more and more as time goes by. And it is the most wonderful thing ever in my life. Is this a gift from God to me (and others) that all don’t have?
Jill LaCross

(Andrew Bulin) #2

It is truly a blessing to have a faithful follower for Christ and I’m so glad that you are focused on the changing of the heart. I hope you never lose heart. The changing of the heart and the fruits of the Spirit are the evidence of a Christian. I praise God for His mercy and grace during the years I was slow to grow and did not immediately begin passionately following through in my faith walk. Today I hunger for His word and look forward to the mission He has before me.

You may be the person God has chosen to kindle the fire in the hearts of your friends. I’m sure you won’t lose hope, but will patiently and prayerfully walk through life sharing the testimony of God’s changing work in your life. There is the possibility that some may fit a less positive aspect of the parable of the seeds (Mat. 13:1-23). And not all will completely yield all of their life to Christ’s lordship. But God’s pursuit of me even while still in my sin (Rom. 5:8) gives me courage to continue the task of discipleship. I hope it does for you. Sometimes it takes a lifetime of ministry and prayer before you see results. We may have to be content with the knowledge that God is faithful and we may not be the one to witness all His work.

Have you had any verses come to mind recently that have been an encouragement as you minister to others?

(Jill LaCross) #3

Psalm 33:18-22

But the eyes of the Lord are watching over those who fear him, who rely upon his steady love. He will keep them from death even in times of famine! We depend upon the Lord alone to save us. Only he can help us; he protects us like a shield. No wonder we are happy in the Lord! For we are trusting him. We trust his holy name. Yes, Lord let your constant love surround us, for our hopes are in you alone.

(Jill LaCross) #4

And thank you Andrew, for the reference to Matthew 13:23. I just read that and it could be just what I needed to read for a light bulb moment about my question. It does show differences in how the ”seed” is received. That’s what I needed to see. Thanks so much!


(Andrew Bulin) #5

So glad to hear it!
Another passage I find encouraging:
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NASB
[14] But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. [15] For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; [16] to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? [17] For we are not like many, peddling d the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God. …

I want to share truth but it’s beyond me how might I have an “aroma” about me! It reminds me that it’s the life of Christ within me that kindles the fire in others. We can only be His faithful messengers.

I pray for your discernment and patience with your group, and that the Lord may share the insight of His work He is doing in the hearts of others.

(Jill LaCross) #6

I love those versus. Thank you!

(Lakshmi Mehta) #7

@jlacross, you are absolutely right when you mention that the heart changes when you sincerely surrender to Jesus Christ. The biblical basis of conversion is a heart change. Without the heart change, we are blind to spiritual things (1Cor 2:14).

Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.

2 Cor 5:17 If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come

John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”.

In my own personal experience too, I found that soon after coming to a faith in Christ, I had an increased desire to read the Bible. I think for someone like me who had no church background growing up, the conversion process is a drastic shift. However, I have also experienced losing that initial excitement and urge to be transformed as years went by. Somehow, though I got busy with church activities, I lost focus on grace and practiced Christian behavior more out of habit rather than a vibrant relationship with God in prayer.I moved from grace to mild legalism, which I didnt notice until it started robbing me of my peace and trust in God. I lost the love I had at first as in Rev 2:4. It was only on trying to re-understand grace that I found a renewed passion.

As many people who grow up in churches may not have clear memory from childhood of their conversion, they may have forgotten about their heart change and are going through the normal struggles of growing in Christian faith. In other cases, there could be a confusion between intellectual assent to Christian doctrine and actually trusting Christ. Only to those who believe and receive Christ are considered as children of God ( 1John 1:12). I think the initial heart change serves as a confirmation of our faith when we are new believers but later on we are tested to put away our old selves willingly in order to mature in our faith.

Does this strike any further questions? God bless your bible studies!

(Jill LaCross) #8

Lakshmi, thank you for confirming (by sharing your experience) what my experience has been. After reading your post, I am reminded how different are our experiences in Christ. I grew up in a Christian home but never sought a relationship with God for many years. I went the other direction. I was, though searching for meaning and I followed new age teachings for years. This teaching never transformed me in the least.

I am 70 years old. At around age 50 or late 40s, the Lord gave me the desire to look for a church to attend. Then he really began his drawing me to him. Our pastor urged me to attend (the Methodist) Disciple Bible Study. That’s What led me to (or back to) God and I was truly converted. That changed my life! And it’s been an Amazing adventure of God revealing more and more of himself to me.

As the years go by, I guess I thought most, if not all people would enjoy basically the same experiences as I. But you’re helping me ( and this website) show me how different our journeys are.

Thank you for your post and the verses you referenced. I am grateful for you, and for this website!!

(Lakshmi Mehta) #9

@jlacross, I am encouraged by hearing your story as well. Its amazing how God pursues us all our life. It gives me great hope! I have friends whose family is into New age, who like you were raised in a christian home but now in their 50s are into New age. They are always speaking positively, are very friendly and polite but I dont know their heart. It seems new age draws people with the promise of giving power but it ultimately leaves hearts empty as there is no real love.

(Jennifer Judson) #10

How beautiful you are Jill. God bless your new heart.

The apostle Paul called it the “circumcision of the heart.” Just as the Hebrew people were identified as God’s chosen people through the act of circumcision, so too are we with the circumcision of the heart. It is God’s seal on our heart secured by the death and resurrection of Christ and made alive through the inward ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 2:29: No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

This verse is from an exposition by Paul explaining how the new covenant through Christ has replaced the old covenant–the law. The book of Romans is extraordinary in revealing God’s grace through Christ and how what was once outward is now inward. It is a most excellent and clarifying book for a Bible Study.

I’m wondering if the reaction of others in your Bible Study was partly conviction that they have not yet fully yielded their hearts. Some people attend church for years knowing it is where they belong, but stubbornly hold on to their independent nature, unwilling to let go and let God. Let the fruit of your life shine and be a witness in their midst. The light of a fully committed Christian is a very attractive thing that may draw them deeper.

(Jill LaCross) #11

Yes, Jennifer, circumcision of the heart. That makes so much sense! To be honest, I also wondered if the ones in my Bible study group have looked at themselves and said ”my heart has not changed. What is she talking about?”

I’ve said to God I just want you to use me. I don’t need to know how he does this, but just that he is using me. Maybe this is a peek into how He’s working.

Thank you so much for your kind words to me. God bless you!

(Trisha Wood) #12

Jill, I hope you will continue to commmunicate to your Bible study group your experience of giving your life to Jesus and how God has guided you, met your needs, and how your faith and trust in Him have grown since then. We do not really know our own hearts much less anyone elses, but we plant seeds when we share our experiences with God through Jesus with others, and even our brothers and sisters in Christ are encouraged and learn more about our Truine God as we share how we came to faith and what He has done and is doing in our lives since then. I suggest inviting individuals fromyour group out for lunch or coffee and asking them to share their spiritual walk and how they came to faith in Jesus with you. It may open the door for you to either share with them how to be saved or to confirm the heart change that had already taken place but may be thought of in different terms for them. Sometimes time we use the same words as others but mean different things, and sometimes we mean the same things but use different words!

Blessings in Jesus as you continue to pray for your group, to commmunicate about Jesus and your devotion to Him and His Word, and to study the Scriptures together.

(Carson Weitnauer) #13

Jill, thank you for starting a thought provoking conversation!

I thought it would be interesting to see if anyone in the @Interested_in_Bible or the @Interested_in_Theology groups would like to add to this discussion?

(Tabitha Gallman) #14

@jlacross I also believe there is a heart change when we accept Christ. I was raised in church and grew up in a very dysfunctional family (as most families these days). My life was full of deception and distractions that only detoured me from the life I should have been living as a Christian. I didn’t have a desire to read God’s word. I feel that if I hadn’t experienced the need to cry out to my Saviour for help, I might not have never had my heart change. Of course anything is possible for God. I tend to allow Satan to distract me often, but when the Holy Spirit nudges me I persist on. My goal is to keep God’s word close and hopefully I can memorize scripture and retrieve it when I need it. I really enjoy reading “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis to remind myself how cunning the enemy is. I wish you the best on your journey and pray that you keep yourself surrounded with good council.

(C Rhodes) #15

@jlacross. Me too, me too! I was seven. Brought up in the church. During a December week-long Youth Meeting, sitting near the back with a cousin and friend; we decided to go forward to the altar. We were Pentecost so that meant kneeling and praying with the Saints.

To my dismay, when I glanced around I realized that no one had featured forth with me. It was then I made my decision that I wanted to know JESUS for myself! The altar was filled with young people so I was not alone, but I was the youngest.

Far into the night they ‘tarried’ with us. I did not know how long until the service ended. We had prayed and tarried so long the bulk of the congregation had been quietly dismissed to go home. Only my father was there waiting until the prayer had ended. He was my ride home. We rode home in silence but I remember feeling like I encapsulated some wonderous and amazing presence.

I had a practice of holding onto the large bags of treats our church had passed out as gifts during that season. I knew from past Christmas’ my siblings would plow through their stash and soon only I would have treats. I would pass those out like gold, for a favor mind you.

When I got home that night, my oldest sister scoffed and made fun of my decision to go to the altar. But, one of the first things I did on arriving home was to retrieve my Christmas bag and begin sharing with all six of my siblings. I passed out treats until I had shared everything! They were all astounded, I was too. But, I no longer wanted to be selfish. I no longer wanted to control and manipulate anyone! I was truly new, new, brand spanking new. Loving GOD, walking with GOD remains the most astounding experience in my life.

Like everyone, the Lord continues to mold and make me. And, that too is a wonder in my soul!

(Jill LaCross) #16

Tabitha, thank you for your testimony! I love hearing about how others find Christ and how He changes their lives. Your story and mine sound so similar! Interesting that you mentioned Screwtape Letters. I bought it and haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. But since you mentioned it it’s my next book to read. I have read excerpts from it by way of a CS Lewis devotional book I have but not the whole book. I have to keep reminding myself that if I have a condemning thought about myself, it’s not from God but from Satan. God corrects but does not condemn. I need more info in recognizing Satan’s attempts to steal my joy.

Thanks again for your response! This website is awesome! God bless you!

(Jill LaCross) #17

C Rhodes,

Wow! That’s the first time I ever heard of a child making that decision, and then become immediately changed! Loved your story! Thank you for sharing with me!