This devotional first appeared in https://www.revivalandreformation.org
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:25, 26, NKJV.
Many who speak to others of the need of a new heart do not themselves know what is meant by these words. The youth especially stumble over this phrase, “a new heart.” They do not know what it means. They look for a special change to take place in their feelings. This they term conversion. Over this error thousands have stumbled to ruin, not understanding the expression “Ye must be born again.”
Satan leads people to think that because they have felt a rapture of feeling, they are converted. But their experience does not change. Their actions are the same as before. Their lives show no good fruit. They pray often and long, and are constantly referring to the feelings they had at such and such a time. But they do not live the new life. They are deceived. Their experience goes no deeper than feeling. They build upon the sand, and when adverse winds come, their house is swept away.
Many poor souls are groping in darkness, looking for the feelings which others say they have had in their experience. They overlook the fact that the believers in Christ must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. The convicted sinners have something to do. They must repent and show true faith.
When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world, and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. What is the sign of a new heart? A changed life. There is a daily, hourly dying to selfishness and pride.
Some make a great mistake by supposing that a high profession will compensate for real service. But a religion which is not practical is not genuine. True conversion makes us strictly honest in our dealings with our fellow beings. It makes us faithful in our everyday work. All sincere followers of Christ will show that the religion of the Bible qualifies them to use their talents in the Master’s service….
It is the noble principles which are brought into the work that make it wholly acceptable in the Lord’s sight. True service links the lowliest of God’s servants on earth with the highest of His servants in the courts above.–Youth’s Instructor, September 26, 1901.