Jul 26, 2016

A Change of Heart: It Has to Be God

Finally!  Today's the day!!!!!!!

I am going to host my first guest post!   I can't tell you how excited I am for you to read thisMy friend, Jordy Leigh, prayerfully wrote this post for you, and I am hoping (and praying!) that it changes your life!  I met her only two months ago, and I have already been impacted by her wisdom and heart to serve God.  And this post is so good.  (sorry for being forward...)  My life was changed because of it.  Thank you so, so much Jordy!

Please check out her lovely website!  I know you will be blessed by her posts. And lastly,  Jordy will be replying to blog comments today, so write away! =)

Enough with talking!  Read on!
 





Alanah had all her ducks in a row. She drew her map of life carefully, and the only colors were black and white. She adopted her parents' views of right and wrong, and never dared to question. Sometimes she had a burning desire to take her younger sister by the shoulders and fix her.

Katie was the wild child. She did as much as she could get away with. Though she didn't try to be bad, she pushed her parents' limits. When Katie looked at Alanah, she felt like a failure, and like there was nothing to be done about it. The desire to change came and went in fleeting phases.

When God works
Then Katie changed drastically. It wasn't a phase and it wasn't by her own efforts. God worked in her life.

As she read her Bible, she felt as though she was seeing for the first time. She understood - truly understood - that God is the Sovereign Lord of the universe, deserving of all the glory she could give Him. Though she had heard it many times in her life, this was the first time that she realized it in her heart.

Countless times before, Katie had tried to fix up her own life; to be responsible and mature. Countless times she had failed.

But this was different. She didn't make any effort on her own. She didn't tap into her reservoir of willpower. She simply acknowledged before God that she was helpless to change herself. Then she told Him that she was willing for Him to do His work in her life.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
-1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (emphasis added)

When God doesn't work
As Alanah watched the transformation in her younger sister's life, she couldn't help being amazed. There was no denying that she had changed for real. In fact, she truly believed that Katie had something that she didn't. Alanah's was the sensible good girl that everyone wanted her to be, but it was all superficial. What Katie had was real.

The thing is, Alanah had built up her model lifestyle by her own efforts. It looked impressive to everyone who watched her, but only she realized that it was hollow. She kept every law in the Bible, and yet her heart was missing. She had built her life based on her own abilities and performance, not on submission to God and a desire to see Him glorified.

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
-Psalm 127:1

Life application
Perhaps as you read this, you can think of a few Alanahs or Katies in your own life. Before you go figuring who is who, I want to encourage you to prayerfully examine your own life. If you want to fix up some people that you know, that may be an indication that you're an Alanah, yourself.

I can say this because I know from experience. I'm a lot more like Alanah than I'd like to admit.

As for the Alanahs and Katies in your life, God has a plan for them. He may work in their hearts and lives to bring about some major transformations. He may even use your words and actions to accomplish it. But the actual transformation - whether in your life or in theirs - will be His work.

Only God can change hearts.

I'll be reading all you comments, so let's discuss it!
  • Are you more like Alanah or Katie?
  • Have you had any experiences where God taught you something and you *know* it wasn't just you?
  • If you can't change a person's heart, how can you be a friend to them?

Resources for deeper digging
Psst! For more on life transformations that only God can bring about: Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth writes for a predominately female audience, but we can all learn from this article.


  

16 comments:

  1. Aww, thanks, Hosanna, for your kind words of introduction. :) It truly is a pleasure to know you.

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    1. Thank YOU for writing these impacting words, Jordy! You were supposed to encourage my readers to examine their lives, not me! =) LOL. You have blessed me in so many ways, dear sister. I have enjoyed getting to know you!

      And reading your replies to comments is so fun! =) LOL Thank you!

      //Hosanna Emily

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  2. What an amazing post! I am definitely like Alanah way more than I want to admit, because it's so easy to focus on what someone else is doing wrong than what you are doing wrong! But this really got me thinking- thank you, Hosanna and Jordy!

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    1. I know, right; it *is* so easy to focus on what others are doing wrong. I think I think it's a lot harder for us Alanah's to want to admit our weak points (at least for me!) Thanks for your comment and kind words, Emily!

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  3. This is great! Thank you for writing it, Jordy, and thanks, Hosanna, for sharing it! :D I think I'm a lot more like Alanah as well, trying to work on my own strength, but always failing miserably. Trusting and obeying God can be very humbling, but it's very much worthwhile! Like the verse in Philippians says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

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    1. Hi Blessing. :) That verse from Philippians is sooo appropriate! It's through Christ that we can do all things.

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  4. WOW, Jordy!!! Great post!!
    I would have to say that I am more of an Alanah. Which is never a good thing. I've got to remember that when I serve others and obey God, I am a part of something so much bigger than I think it is and a part of something so exciting and thrilling.
    Well, I definitely know that God is teaching me to trust Him this year. I've gone through multiple hard times, but each time I think He is just telling me to simply trust HIM! Each situation is totally in God's hands. He keeps reminding me of that truth over and over.
    Well, I think that if I want to be a friend to someone, one of the best things I can do is show them that I care. And that I don't care like Alanah, but that my care is more of Katie's, sincere and for real. I can show that I care by spending quality time with them, finding things we have in common, and just loving them!
    Thanks so much for the wonderful post, Jordy!!
    -Ariel

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    1. Nice to meet you, Ariel, and thanks for your contribution. :) I love your ending thoughts on how to be a good friend - sincere and for-real care. It reminds me of a verse I read recently; Romans 12:9. My NIV Bible puts it this way: "Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them." I know from experience that it's hard for Alanah's to be genuine and not simply follow a list of rules. But like you said, we're a part of God's greater work, which is exciting and thrilling!

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  5. This was an AMAZING post Jordy, thank you so much for writing it for us (and I'm probably more of an Alanah)!

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    1. Thank you, Savannah. :) It's all for God's glory, isn't it?

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  6. Thanks for this thought-provoking post! I really like the questions you asked at the end too. I think I'm an Alanah, but I've definitely had the Katie experience. There have been times when God has taught me things, and changed me, and it's honestly a wonderful experience, and humbling to think that He cares about each of us so deeply.

    I think one of the best ways we can be a friend to others instead of trying to change them, is to just listen. Listen to their story and side of things, rather than giving suggestions and advice, or talking about ourselves. (And I'm definitely speaking to myself here - I need to do this more.)

    Anyway, congratulations Hosanna on hosting your first guest post, and thank you again Jordy. :)

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    1. Jessica, thanks for sharing your own insights. I particularly like what you pointed out about being an Alanah, but having some Katie experiences, too. Of course (thankfully for us!), God can and will work in the hearts of Alanahs, too. :)

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  7. Amazing, wonderful, beautiful post, Jordy!!! I'm more like Alanah too, but have had some Katie in me as well. ;)

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    1. Yes! I can relate! :) Thanks for your comment, Hannah. Nice to meet you!

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  8. Can I comment on this post too, Jordy? =)

    Oh, it is so hard! I do see Alanah in my life. Since reading your post, I have been asking God to change my heart. I try so often to "fix myself" in my own strength. Only God can do that...but it's so difficult to wait on His timing sometimes. =/

    Haha...I know some people that I want to "change." ;) I see things in them that I don't like...disrespect, lack of love, pride, etc. But maybe I am looking at the speck in their eye. Am I missing the plank in my own? I think the best way to influence someone is by encouraging them, praying for them, and living in a God-honoring way. Actions really do speak louder than words, don't they?

    Thank you for this impacting post!

    //Hosanna

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    1. Mmmmhmm, it *is* so hard, isn't it? I think of one particular time in my life when I was overwhelmed by my flaws and I just wanted to fix them all, or at least have God fix them all... QUICK! A good friend encouraged me with the words of 1 John 3:2. One day, when we see Jesus, we will be pure like him. But all in God's timing, and that's not for now.

      ...and then other days I just want to fix others. Today we're talking about being like Katie or Alanah, but one day we'll be like Jesus. Isn't that a thought!?

      PS - I'm glad you commented. ;)

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I am thrilled to receive comments, but please remember to keep them clean and uplifting. Any inappropriate posts will be deleted. I respond to comments, so please check back! =)

Thank you for commenting! You made my day, and I'm so excited to become better friends as we seek to have a heart like His. ♥