New Hearts

Bible Reading: Ezekiel 36:22-27

We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

We may feel like we don't deserve God's help because of the way our behavior has tarnished his reputation. These feelings may be especially strong if we were Christians while we were acting out our addictions. Can we really expect God's help again after we've let him down?

The people of Israel were created to represent the Lord to the rest of the world. But instead of obeying him and making him proud of them, they embarrassed him by worshiping idols and behaving in sinful ways. But the Lord didn't give up on them. He spoke through the prophet Ezekiel: "Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations. . . . Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations" (Ezekiel 36:22, 25-27).

God will deliver us from our shortcomings to bring glory to his name, not because we deserve it. When people see how much God does for us, they may believe that he can help them, too. If we've tarnished his reputation, he has the power to restore us in a way that will make up for the damage and bring glory to himself.

Our continued recovery, even when we've suffered a relapse, brings great honor to God.