Having a change of heart is important in your walk with Christ. Each of us at one point has a heart that is hardened. Thankfully God works on softening our hearts and doing a great work in us. “A change of heart (is) produced by God’s Spirit. As you allow the Spirit of God to move freely within you, your heart will continue to soften and desire God and what is pleasing to Him.
When a person has a changed heart, the person “seeks praise from God, not from people.” Because you have a heart for God, your focus is on God. You only are concerned with what concerns Him. You want to please God. You do not seek praise from people. You only seek praise from God.
Today, ask the Spirit to reveal to you the condition of your heart. Has your heart been changed? Are you allowing the Spirit to move freely? Are you seeking the praise of God or people?
“No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.” – Romans 2:29 [NLT]
Trying to teach someone how to do something that you do not do does not make much sense. I would never attempt to teach someone how to fly an airplane because I do not know how to pilot a plane. If you have never played guitar, it is likely you won’t take time today to teach someone how to play. We teach people things we know. We teach people things we do.
One of the easiest ways that I learn is by doing. I am a hands-on person so when I am trying to learn something, it is important that I learn by doing. What helps as well is seeing someone else teach by example. In the time of how-to videos, I’m sure you or someone you know is keen on watching instruction videos to help learn how to knot a tie or make a new recipe.
When teaching and leading others, we must be aware of the example we leave. That is the biggest lesson we provide. People watch what you are doing and hear what you are speaking. Any inconsistencies between what you say and what you do will be noted. If the words you speak and the actions you take do not line up well, your teaching and leading will not be very effective. Be transparent. Be consistent. Teach and lead by example.
“Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it.” – Romans 2:21-23 [NLT]
In the world, we have favoritism. There are people we enjoy more. There are things we like more. We usually have favorites. But the Bible says that favoritism is a sin (James 2:9). We are not supposed to have favorites.
There are people who believe that God has favorites; however, He does not show favoritism. When we struggle, and see others doing so well, we think God loves those with less struggles more than He loves us. The truth is we are all on a journey that is unique. As we are going through struggles, it does not mean that God loves others more. God loves you. His love for you has nothing to do with you. His love is based on Who He is.
Favoritism is divisive. Showing favor to someone above another will cause stumbling blocks. God desires unity. Today, look at how you can promote unity. Take a closer look at your relationships and ask the Spirit if you are showing favoritism. Aim to look at people through God’s eyes today. Each person is special. Each person is important. Each person matters.
“For God does not show favoritism.” – Romans 2:11 [NLT]
In Nehemiah 10, the people are agreeing to a covenant. A covenant is something we see many times in the Bible. A covenant is also known as a partnership, an alliance. I always like to consider it as a promise which outlines a relationship’s boundaries. When we look at a covenant between God and His people, we can see that it is a spiritual agreement.
The process of entering into a covenant is interesting. It was something pagans participated in, as well as the Jewish people. First, it is important to note the pre-ceremony actions. This is a time when the different sides discussed terms. We see this happening in Genesis 15 between God and Abraham. There is also a time of representative selections. With regard to the Abrahamic Covenant, God and Abraham were the representatives. During the covenant process, there is typically an exchange of belts, weapons, or robes. Then there is the walk unto death part of the process. This is where the people walk around the sacrifice and basically say, “Do so to me as has been done to this animal if I break this covenant.” We see God doing this with Abraham in Genesis 15:17, as the smoking fire pot and flaming torch pass through. There is a pronouncement of blessings and curses, an exchange of names, and a covenant meal to share as part of the covenant sealing process. We cannot forget the seal of the covenant, where we have a sign of the covenant that will be remembered. For Noah, it was the Rainbow. For Moses, it was the Sabbath.
It is awesome to study about covenants, but it is most important for us to understand these covenants with the vantage point of the New Covenant. Remember friends, we entered into a New Covenant. Jesus is our representative (Son of Man), God’s representative (Son of God), and He was the sacrifice (Lamb of God). He took off His robe of glory to come to us, and we now have His righteousness (Philippians 2:5-7). Jesus’ walk unto death was His walk from Gethsemane to the Cross. The sign of the New Covenant is a circumcised heart (Romans 2:28-29). As you share in the Lord’s Supper, and one day as you share in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, you are sharing the covenant meal. Today, thank God for the New Covenant, and most important, for our Representative and Sacrifice, Jesus Christ.