Now that we recognize our poor heart condition, we have to come to a place where we truly want to see the harsh realities of what lies deep inside our hearts. Only then can God begin to help us identify all the areas of our hearts that are rotten or cold, the areas that we would overlook on our own. Since God is the only One who can show us the truth about our hearts, then it makes perfect sense that only He can transform our hearts. We may be able to jump start the process by our own strength, but we will always run out of energy and wisdom, grow tired and depleted, and the transformation falls short.
I’ve identified some keys to making room in your heart for God’s transformation… this process also lines up with the Christian 12 Steps, with a focus on God’s transforming power.
Humility and Surrender: Admit and accept the deficient and bankrupt state our hearts are naturally in. Begin to humble ourselves enough to actually ask God to show us the details and the scenarios in which our hearts are less than pleasing. Look for pride, lust, deceit, greed, slander, addiction, jealousy, envy, hate, competitive nature and all the things that can start off subtle and be hidden by simple justification, white lies, excuses, or the desire to succeed at any cost. Ask God to root these things out so we can see them clearly, and don’t turn and run from the truth but face it head on. Allow it to bring to you to a place where you know you are nothing without God’s help.
We must surrender all of our hearts to God, piece by piece, as we acknowledge each area that He shows us… accepting that He has the answers, the power and the keys to bringing about change. We have to step back and stop trying to figure things out or cover things up. Full surrender in each area must take place before God’s supernatural transformation can take place within our hearts. God transforms hearts that are fully surrendered and given over to Him, and that means ALL areas of our hearts, not just 90%, or all areas except one or two… He sees deep into our hearts so there’s no fooling Him… When we hold onto certain areas of our hearts to manage on our own, we are only depriving ourselves of victory.
Confessing and Repenting: Admit these things God shows us about our hearts, our lives, our actions, our past and our present are true. Seriously consider what we have done and how we got to this place. Write these things in a journal and pray over them; be ready to accept the fault rather than shifting the blame. Ask for forgiveness, with a sincerity and a deep remorse. Ask God what you can do to make it right and earnestly seek His will to make the changes necessary so these mistakes are not easily repeated.
We all mess up and fall back from time to time, there are no perfect people… but true repentance is turning from your ways towards God and seeking Him and His ways with all your heart. If there is no change, but a shallow confession and we plan to return to the same displeasing ways, that’s not going to result in a heart transformation. If there are areas we aren’t willing to confess and change, ask God to reveal what’s holding us back and go back to surrendering. Sometimes further healing is necessary, so be ready to go to any lengths to learn what to heal from and how to heal.
Intimacy: To seek God’s will for us and and learn what our hearts should be filled with, we need to learn about God by reading His Word in the Bible, praying to Him and resting in His presence. Everyone has different ways of praying and meditating on Christ, so don’t be afraid to try different techniques. The more we know about God as we study the Bible and sit and pray with Him, the more our hearts will be open to His transformation. If something is keeping us or blocking us from being able to connect with God, we may need to confess and turn to Him so we can feel comfortable praying and connecting with Him again.
Through intimate time with Jesus and in His presence alone we are transformed, healed and given wisdom way beyond what we could initiate on our own, therefor knowledge of God’s character and intimacy with Him is vital.
Dependence: Full transformation can never be achieved in this lifetime! This is a lifelong process and we need continued dependence on God to continue regular transformation. As soon as we fall back, our heart condition worsens. This is a lifestyle choice… a choice that leads to a healthy dependence on God. Regularly reading the Bible, praying alone and with others, staying committed to serving and walking side by side with the people God calls you to, obediently participating in Bible studies, healing groups, accountability groups, and utilizing the 12 Steps and other biblical tools and materials… through all of this we will depend on God to transform, teach and build up our hearts… and keep us focused on Him. God is the only One who can consistently and holistically sustain us and provide us with abundant life. This world is filled with too many things that will attempt to turn our hearts from God and destroy them, but by depending on God each day, our hearts can be transformed and we can rise above it all.
To sum it all up: Without consistent surrender, repentance, and the active presence of God, we can have some level of revelation but it will lack life application and supernatural transformation.