by Dr. Paul Chappell
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself.—Leo Tolstoy
In 1886, Karl Benz drove his first automobile through the streets of Munich, Germany. He named his car the Mercedes Benz, after his daughter, Mercedes. The machine angered the citizens, because it was noisy and scared the children and horses. Pressured by the citizens, the local officials immediately established a speed limit for “horseless carriages” of 3.5 miles an hour in the city limits and 7 miles an hour outside.
Benz knew he could never develop a market for his car and compete against horses if he had to creep along at those speeds, so he invited the mayor of the town for a ride. The mayor accepted. Benz then arranged for a milkman to park his horse and wagon on a certain street and, as Benz and the mayor drove by, to whip up his old horse and pass them. The plan worked. The mayor was furious and demanded that Benz overtake the milk wagon. Benz apologized but said that because of the ridiculous speed law he was not permitted to go any faster. Very soon after that the law was changed.
Over the years there have been many changes in our world. Through technological advances, better transportation, or faster means of communication, society has benefited from the changes that have been made. But greater than any change a scientist or inventor could make is the change Christ desires to make in the heart of every Christian.
As we saw yesterday, God desires for us as Christians to be conformed to the image of His Son by spending time in His Word and talking to Him. The change that God desires in our life doesn’t come about by outward rules or regulations. Rules may be necessary but they are not the tools of change. Change only comes through a submission of the heart to the will of God—from the inside out.
Mark 7:21 says, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders.” God shows us that sin develops in our hearts and then is carried out through our actions. So in order to change our actions to be more like the Lord, we must allow Him to change our hearts by conforming to Christ’s image.
Many times we can try so hard to conform our outer image that we neglect our heart. While there is nothing wrong with implementing rules and standards, if there is not a heart-change that goes with it, the standards will fail. Becoming like Christ is just as much an inner change of the heart as it is an outer change of behavior.
How are you cultivating a heart-change today? While outer changes are necessary, make sure to spend time cultivating a change of your heart as well. Remember to not only conform to Christ through your actions but through your heart as well.