Change my heart, O God: Impossible; and frankly silly

Inviting Jesus into your heart.” Where in the Bible does it say that? In the Bible we do indeed see God pouring his love into unregenerated hearts – in the natural, what other kind of heart is there? – but when God regenerates a sinner, this involves no invitation from the sinner to God, but is a unilateral sovereign divine merciful call. It’s called amazing grace.

Paul says the Spirit has been sent into our hearts to cry out “abba father”‘ (Romans 8:28). To be in the spirit, says Paul, is to be in Christ, and to be in Christ is to be in the Spirit. We don’t ask Jesus into our heart – dead hearts can’t invite.

Isaiah, says Martin Luther, calleth heaven his “seat,” and earth his “footstool,” but not his dwelling; therefore, when we long to seek after God, we shall be sure to find him with them that hear and keep his Word, as Christ saith, “He that keepeth my Word, I will come and dwell with him.” (Martin Luther, “Table Talk”). (Inviting Jesus into your aorta: Personal and Mystical Union at the White Horse Inn).

What is Revelation 3:20 about? ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” If you think it’s addressed to sinners, it’s not. It’s addressed to Christians – not to the “world” whom Jesus does not pray for (John 17:9). Jesus knocks at the door that he may come to sup, to dwell, to lodge with those “who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28b); those whose hearts Jesus has already changed; in biblical language:  “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).

So, if a Christian who has been reconciled to God, justified and saved, is a child of God, what do we make of this song so popular in churches, usually coming after – to change to a more solemn mood – the energetic ones?

Change my heart, O God,

Make it ever true;

Change my heart, O God,

May I be like You.

 

Change my heart, O God,

Make it ever true;

Change my heart, O God,

May I be like You

 

You are the Potter,

I am the clay;

Mold me and make me,

This is what I pray

 

Change my heart, O God,

Make it ever true;

Change my heart, O God,

 

A few comments:

Change my heart, O God,

Make it ever true;

Change my heart, O God,

May I be like You.

If you ask God to change your heart, God has changed it already, because you would never want to ask such a question unless you had the desire to do so. Where did your desire originate? Not in you but in God, who  replaced your heart of stone with a heart of flesh. What a Christian should be singing is “strengthen my heart,” in other words strengthen the “inner man,” strengthen my inner being to be more like You.

Ephesians 3

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

You are the Potter,

I am the clay;

Mold me and make me,

This is what I pray

You’d better bet that you’re the clay. The question is do you know what clay does? It lies. It’s a passive lump. I am pretty sure that if you sing this song devoutly, you believe that the Potter looked down the corridors of time and saw that when He would ask you if he could turn you into one of his pots, you would do so. Wrong, because clay, by its very nature, cannot ask the Potter to mould it. Once, however, the Potter has chosen you for one his pots, lo, a miracle: you, clay ass that you once were, get a voice, and now you can ask God to continue to mould you, embellish you, make you more beautiful.

Romans 9

15 “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
 and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea:

I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one” (Romans 9:15b – 25).

Please think about what you sing in church; and if you have thought about it, I pray that you understand what you are praying when you ask God to renew your mind-heart. Stop singing those silly songs, even if the music sends you. Unless you’re happy being mouldy.

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3 thoughts on “Change my heart, O God: Impossible; and frankly silly

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