Devotional for Today, October 11. Change your heart. Listening to Jesus’ stories, some people mistakenly imagine God as a naïve grandfather whose grandchildren easily persuaded him to give them a few dollars for ice cream.
Devotional for Today, October 11
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)
No, God is not naïve. And the Bible does not create a rosy picture of a lost man. The Bible makes no secret of the fact that people love sin, are easily swayed by evil, and need to be converted. (Mt 7:17; Lk 11:12).
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This is also true of seemingly holy people. Jesus says that they only think they know how to live before God. But in reality, they don’t know much about it. They focus on outward forms of piety and formal observance of the law, but their hearts are often far from love for God and neighbor.
In response to their stubbornly false belief in their own righteousness and unwillingness to change, Jesus calls them hypocrites and whitewashed tombs (Mt 5:20; 6:1).
In a simple way that everyone can understand, Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying in the temple. And he makes the problem very clear: “This man went out of the temple unjustified” (Luke 18:14). God did not accept the position that the Pharisee took before Him.
Change Your Heart
Seemingly naïve kindness of God imposes a specific condition – man’s willingness to convert. God truly loves every person, even the worst sinner, and is prepared to give not just one chance but as many as it takes. But it is up to the man to open the door of his life with a willingness to change and avoid evil. Man’s desire to convert opens the door for God. Change your heart.
Prayer for Today
Heavenly Father, I seek Your grace to transform my hardened heart. I open the door to You; I invite You to touch me. Please change my heart. Only You can do this. I want to love You fervently, with all my soul, with all my life. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.