Saturday, March 24, 2012

God's writing on our minds and hearts

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 31:23-37

TO CHEW ON: "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be my people." Jeremiah 31:33

If you've ever raised kids you'll know how much easier it is to get their cooperation and compliance if they are motivated from within by love, respect, and a desire to please. Such inner motivation is more effective than the threat of punishment.

Here God tells the people of a day when the nation will be in such an inner-motivated state spiritually. The drive to obey will come from within. Pleasing God will be so uppermost that it will be as if His laws are written on their minds and hearts.

Interestingly, the writer of Hebrews quotes this very passage in Hebrews 8:8-12 and again in 10:16,17. He tells us this compliant state comes about as a result of the "new covenant."

This new covenant came about through Jesus. His death in our stead, paying the penalty for our sins, is the transaction with God that brings this it into effect.

How are our minds and hears so radically changed under it? Through the Holy Spirit living inside us. An endnote to my Bible's Hebrew's 8 passage says:

"Jesus' ministry is performed under the covenant of God's grace, wrought within the minds and hearts of believers by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus God established a new personal covenant relationship with His people, based not on a compelling force from without, but on an impelling power from within." New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1738 (emphasis added).
This is all well and good on paper. But how does it work in practical everyday living? We still have the choice to resist the Holy Spirit or yield to Him (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Even under this new covenant God never takes over life's controls against my will or yours. But He does promise to come to each of us and live in us if we let Him. His presence is that inner drive toward obedience and compliance, stronger than the threat of punishment, proving us His children (Galatians 5:18; Romans 8:14).

PRAYER: Dear God, I love the picture of Your principles and ways written on my mind and heart — so much a part of me that it's easier to obey than not. May it be so. Amen.

MORE: Holy Spirit: more than a guest
The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a Guest in a house, He invades everything. When once I decide that my "old man" (i.e., the heredity of sin) should be identified with the death of Jesus, then the Holy Spirit invades me. He takes charge of everything, my part is to walk in the light and to obey all that He reveals.- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 11 reading.
(From the archives)

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