As we approach the coming of the New Year, many of us are thinking and making resolutions about those things we know we have to do; like losing weight, exercising, eating healthier, and taking our vitamins. We also begin to list out what we need to do spiritually, like reading the Bible and praying every day, using our gifts and talents in God’s service, to be more loving, Christ-like, and obedient to God’s word.
The only problem is that while we resolve to do these things, our resolve soon fades because we really don’t have the power to keep them. And it doesn’t have to do with our will power, but rather because circumstances beyond our control happened which puts all our plans on the back burner, if not in the trash.
And so, as we enter into 2022, what we need is a new beginning, which starts with a new heart and new spirit. This promise is given to us by the Lord through the prophet Ezekiel.
A New Heart
“I will give you a new heart … I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26 NKJV)
What the Lord is talking about is giving us a heart transplant, but not a physical transplant, but rather a spiritual one. The heart is more than a bodily organ that pumps life-giving blood to the rest of the body. The heart is symbolic of all that it means to be human.
Today, especially during this holiday season, God can give us a heart transplant, where He will remove our stony heart and give us a heart of flesh, that is, a heart that is open to all God has.
Therefore, let us ask God to do some cardio-vascular surgery to get our hearts pumping once again with that life giving and life saving blood of Jesus Christ.
But beyond a new heart, God also wants to put a new spirit inside of us.
A New Spirit
I will … put a new spirit within you … I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes.” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27 NKJV)
God gives us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of power. In the Old Testament that word for Spirit is “ruach,” which means wind or breath. The Holy Spirit, therefore, is the breath of God.
Some of you have a hard time catching your breath. And it is hard to do something when we cannot breathe. In the same way it is hard to fly a kite without wind. And so, God gives us a new spirit, a new breath of life to assist us in our time of need.
Literally God is giving us breathing assistance to keep us going through the critical times until our transformation is complete. Like the new heart, the new spirit begins when we come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Just as God breathed into Adam and made him into a living soul, so Jesus breathes into us and makes us into new creations in Him, spiritual beings ready for heaven once this life is over.
And so, as we look to start this New Year, let us do so by asking God to give to us a heart that is new, a heart that has been cleansed through confession and forgiveness, and then ask the Lord for a renewed spirit through a genuine Holy Spirit, revival in our lives and in the life of the church. Amen!
Happy New Year!!!
Pastor John Punni, II