I had the joy and privilege to help lead worship at my church for Easter. As is the case on many of the BIG church holidays, there is a wide variety of heart attitudes coming to church on Easter. From hearts that cannot wait to celebrate and worship the risen Christ to hearts that cannot wait for the brunch that follows church; and everything in between.
Our pastor talked about the change that happens in a human heart when we embrace the truth and the power of the resurrection of Jesus in our own lives during his message.
It reminded me of one of my absolute favorite scriptural images: when God says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26
Who among us has not felt like our hearts have been hard? I know I have! Whether it's a hardness over one area of my life or a hardness toward God - my guess is, we've all experienced a heart of stone.
But God's word gives me hope!
Not only did God know we would struggle with having a hard heart, He knew that our hearts can be so hard, they are like stone!
Yet, He doesn't want to leave us like that.
He wants to give us a heart of flesh!
On Easter Sunday I had the distinct privilege to see that transformation first hand.
From the platform, I got to look at all these beautifully dressed people and lead them in worship.
There were 2 individuals in particular, who looked less than thrilled they had been dragged along to church.
They came disengaged.
Disengaged from their families and disengaged from the whole "church experience."
However, as the drama began, followed by a time of worship and prayer, the sermon and everything else - I got to watch these hearts of stone soften.
You can see it when a disengaged dad scoots closer to his wife and kids and puts his arm around them.
You can see it when a person sits expressionless through most of worship and then gets a big smile on their face as they look around at their family.
Work only God can do: removing a heart of stone and giving a heart of flesh.
I love it!
Jesus said in John 10:9-10 "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
Sometimes our hearts have been so hardened by the world; whether by circumstances, cynics, or by people who talk the talk but don't walk the walk - we forget where the gate is…rather who the gate is.
Jesus reminds us.
I AM the Gate.
Finding the gate is as easy as turning around.
Turning away from whatever it is that made us forget about the Gate and turning to Him.
He is the way to life; both eternal life and a full and abundant life moving forward.
Jesus said, "I Am the Gate…"
May you turn toward the Gate; letting Him remove your heart of stone in order to give you a heart of flesh so that you may live a full and abundant life - not dependent on circumstances or people, but dependent on the Gate!