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A New Heart

Read: Ezekiel 36:22-27

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. (v. 26)

One of my favorite Christmas stories is Dr. Seuss’ classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. As the story begins, its narrator explains, “The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.” The most likely reason, it turns out, is that the Grinch’s heart “was two sizes too small.”

Every human being has the same problem. We were created with hearts that were the perfect size and shape for the self-giving love of the triune God. When we fell into sin, we left God’s perfect love, and God’s perfect love left our hearts. In the Old Testament, the Lord condemned Israel for their half-hearted love for him and one another. Today, God’s Word confronts our tendencies to be self-protective in our politics, self-serving in our relationships, and self-centered in our worship. We do not love God with our whole hearts, and we do not love our neighbors as ourselves.

In the end, the Grinch’s heart grows “three sizes.” God promises to redeem his chosen people by giving them “a new heart, and a new spirit.” We cannot, by our good works or good intentions, grow our old, sin-shrunken hearts to the size and shape they should be. But God, the creator of our hearts, has the power and will to give us new hearts. By his Holy Spirit, God renews our ability to give, and receive, his perfect love. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, ask God to grow your heart by his Holy Spirit.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.