I will give you an undivided heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
This section of scripture is basically a love letter from God to his people. He reminds them that their sins have not gone unnoticed, but they are still his people. They should be ashamed for their conduct, but they will see that God will make his people as numerous as sheep.
He loves us.
How often have you felt the arms of God wrapped around you to comfort you? Have you seen the glint of love in the eyes of God, not with your physical eye, but with your spirit?
God wants us to know that we are his, and we are loved.
Yes, we’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all been selfish and lazy and cold-hearted. But God has a good plan in mind for every one of us. He doesn’t sleep. He’s not lazy. He keeps after us to drive us to do his will.
If you’ve been feeling the pressure to do something good for someone else, but your selfishness is fighting against it, relax and let the selfishness go. Tell your selfishness, “You’re fired.” It never did anything good for you.
That divided heart hosts a battle between laziness and godliness. Those in the world look to God’s people for an example of God’s love. If we don’t show it, who will? We are the ones God wants to use to bring comfort and blessing to the broken hearted. But not if we’re full of ourselves. Not if we’re nursing our cold, stony hearts. How is he going to work alongside his people if his people don’t show up for work?
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Jesus said that to his disciples (Mark 11:25) after they discovered that a fig tree that Jesus had cursed had withered. They never expected to see its branches so withered the next morning after Jesus cursed it. Jesus emphasized the importance of knowing, believing, and speaking God’s will.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:22-24)
In a few other places in the Bible, God links the reciprocity of forgiveness. He wants to hear from us, but our prayers are sometimes hindered by our unforgiveness. This heart of stone keeps us from seeing more of God’s will being done in our lives.
Coldness is a temporary problem. We can be warmed up. Our ice can melt. Take a look at your surroundings. Are you surrounding yourself with cold friends and following cold-hearted customs? Do you need to re-think your traditions?
Invest in warm friendships. If you don’t have any, make some. If you have some, have you been diligent to maintain those friendships?
Treat God’s word with greater respect. You can invite someone to do a Bible study with you. You can start a personal mission centered around being an available warm friend to your neighbors.
Ask God what he’s designed you to do. Whatever it is, it’s based in his love. And remember, his fiery love is powerful enough to melt the coldest of icebergs.