So how do we change a person’s heart? It’s impossible. We might be able to restrain a person’s angry outbursts by tying him up and gagging him, but we are powerless to change a person’s heart.
This is where God’s plan of redemption comes into play. The gospel is not merely about “getting us saved,” as if we simply pray a prayer and are immediately transported into heaven.
“Getting saved” is not about praying a prayer and then continuing to live our lives as though nothing happened. No, when God enters our lives, we are changed from the inside out (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
The good news is that God acted in the person of Jesus Christ. Through His life, death, and resurrection we are transformed, made new. Our problem lies at the core of our being, but God transforms our hearts. God literally places His Spirit within us and changes us from the inside out.
So as we come alongside the broken, hurting people God has placed in our lives, let’s remember where our power comes from. These are not mere physical issues that we can correct through hard work. These are spiritual issues that run deeper than we can imagine. Yet God has supplied us with everything we need in order to fulfill His calling. The power to transform hearts and change lives comes from the Holy Spirit (John 6:63), through the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and through prayer (James 5:16-20). As we use the Scriptures to give counsel to others, there is power. As we pray passionately for their hearts to change, there is power. We cannot remove the lust from another person’s heart by our own efforts, but we have the Spirit of God working through us. Through the gospel, people can be set free from the enslaving power of sin (Rom. 6). Through the gospel, we are actually empowered to uproot the sin in our hearts and live in a way that pleases God. Paul promised: “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13).
*How should the truth of the gospel, and the power of the Holy Spirit affect the way we approach helping people change?