1 Samuel 10:6, 9 – …and the Spirit of Yahweh will come mightily on you, and you shall prophesy with them, and shall be turned into another man … When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day.
The Spirit of God has the ability to transform believers. Saul, as the first king of Israel, was mightily anointed by God for the task, so much so, that he effectively became another person. The text says that God when the Spirit of God came upon him, God “gave him another heart.”
God’s desired goal with individuals is that when they encounter him in a personal way, they are effectively changed from the inside out.
God had told Ezekiel that the whole nation of Israel was going to be able to receive his influence in their lives. This was to provide them the strength and wisdom to obey his commands.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 – I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances.
This was God’s plan for them all along: to become a new people, set apart from all others, and to be obedient examples to the rest of the world. They were to be a nation following his torah, his instruction for all to see. This obedience would not be one of rote compulsion, but one of freedom and joy from the heart.
Jeremiah 31:33 – Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days – the LORD’s declaration. I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
The only way this could effectively be accomplished was by transforming the individual’s heart to understand and to desire to follow God.
Hebrews 10:22 – let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.
Just as God had promised Israel that he would cleanse them from all of their impurities and their idols, he promised that believers in Messiah could draw near to him as they received cleansing for their rebellious deeds of conscience and body.
John 3:3, 5 – Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” … Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
To live as a believer in God and his Messiah is to live as a new person with lives of integrity and righteousness. This is the goal that God has for every individual who comes to him in sincerity and truth, and he can make it so.
Many people come to congregations seeking to change their own lives, as if somehow they can learn enough or do the right “church things” they can mold and shape themselves into who they think God wants them to be. However, all of these passages speak to the changing of the heart to be an act of God, not a twelve-step plan to becoming a better person.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
It doesn’t take a program of study to experience God’s presence in our lives, but it does take a sincere approach that lays down all personal objectives and known transgressions against a holy and righteous God. A true seeker must be willing to die to self, for the call of the true believer is the call of the martyr.
Just like Saul of long ago, God is still willing to transform. Once we have surrendered all to God, then he can mold and shape us into whom he desires us to be for him.
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