It is one thing to recognize that your heart is new—now that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. But it is another matter entirely to discern what your new heart desires.
For most of us, we learned that our hearts are evil and desperately wicked, divided between a good side and a bad side, enmeshed in civil war within us, and utterly destitute of any redemptive quality.
I recall being taught that I had a black dog and a white dog inside me, one good and one bad. Whichever I fed the most would win the fight. I was then exhorted to try hard, live pure, and be spiritual.
Those who grab a verse here and a verse there are taking sound bites from Scripture.
Of course, like nearly anything you want to espouse, there are Scripture verses you can hang upon your theory and “prove” your point. Never mind that proof texting is a terrible abuse of Scripture.
We are all—or at least we all should be—aware that our media proof texts all the time with sound bites. We know they are grabbing a snippet of a larger conversation in order to create a story that suits their news needs.
Those who grab a verse here and a verse there in order to substantiate their theological point, or felt theological perspective, are in danger of taking sound bites from Scripture to make a compelling theology.
Maybe their perspective is right, but perhaps it is wrong.
To honestly manage Scripture, we must grasp the context of a passage and grapple with the scope of God’s Word, not just the pieces that serve our purposes. Those who attempt to prove the black dog, white dog theology cannot document their position with the whole counsel of God’s Book. They must proof text from Scripture to make their point.
You have a new heart!
But nevertheless, this theological view has been pervasive since about 1900 and many of us have adopted this as accurate. In so doing, we have missed the magnificence of what God did in our hearts through the work of Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah told his listeners the truth about them as Old Testament folks in rebellion to God when he stated that their hearts were wicked and sick (cf. 17:9).
But Ezekiel also told the truth, as New Testament history now reveals, when he prophesied that through the work of Christ our hearts would be made new (cf. 36:26). Jeremiah also prophesied to this later in his writing and stated that God would inscribe His laws on the walls of our redeemed hearts (cf. 31:33).
You have a new heart!
Your new heart sings the same song, and dances to the same step, as your Heavenly Father’s heart does. God is righteous, holy, just, forgiving, gracious, merciful, and a whole bunch more. Your heart is also cut from this same fabric.
Peter says we have become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pt. 1:4). This doesn’t mean we have become God. Rather, Peter is telling us that we share the same longings, desires, leanings, and characteristics that God exhibits in His character.
At your transformation through salvation, your heart was made new.
Think of it this way: If a qualified person was given an unidentified sample of DNA from me and an unidentified sample from my parents, he could conclude that we were related. My parents and I share the same DNA fabric. Our genetic code is related. By nature, we are Gillhams.
In the same way, your spiritual DNA and God’s DNA are related. As Peter said, God took something of Himself and wove it into us such that we are now partakers—that is, we share in—the divine characteristics and tendencies that are indicative of who God is at His core.
As Ezekiel prophesied and Hebrews confirms (8:10), our hearts have been radically transformed. We now have the desires of God etched into our hearts irrevocably.
Were there to be a profession called, “archaeology of the heart,” one skilled in this science could excavate your heart, examine the writings of God upon your heart’s walls, and conclude decisively that you are a person transformed by Christ and are now a member of God’s family. Wow!
So, what do you desire?
You want what God wants! At the spiritual core of your heart, you long to do, and to be, and to enjoy, and to treasure all the things that are important to God. At your transformation through salvation, your heart was made new, cleaned to purity, and given a default desire to walk with your Heavenly Father.
Ask the Holy Spirit to provide revelation regarding what it means to live from your heart.
Now don’t get tangled up. If you examine your performance, you will not necessarily see a reflection of your heart. But you must not attempt to evaluate the condition of your heart based upon your performance. Rather, you seek to align your performance with your true heart’s desire.
As new people in Christ we encounter the world, our fleshly patterns, and the temptation of the devil. It is frustratingly frequent that we find ourselves doing things that are not indicative of our deep, heartfelt desires.
It is critical that you call upon your elder brother, Jesus Christ, in the moment of your need to see your heart for what it truly is, and in so doing, gain understanding into your true desires. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you will see, understand, and know your heart’s desires.
When asked why He came, Christ said He came to bring good news to those afflicted, to heal them, and to set them free from their captivity (cf. Lk. 4:18 from Is. 61:1). As I said earlier, our hearts have been wounded, discounted, demeaned, misconstrued, abused, and misrepresented. We have squelched and cloistered and walled in our hearts, fearing that if anyone gains a glimpse into our heart, they will see a wicked, nasty, fetid mess from which evil and sinfulness emanates.
While this was true of us before Christ’s redemption of us, such is no longer the case!
Call upon the Lord Jesus. Ask Him to heal your image of your heart. Invite Him to take you on a journey into your heart’s desires and show you around the place He renovated via His work at Calvary’s cross. Ask Him to graciously provide revelation for you regarding what it means to live from your heart.
In so doing, you will realize what you really want.