“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts, and I will be their God and they shall be my people.”
Oh, what a beautiful promise that God gives to his people in the Old Testament. God says, “I’m not just going to give my law to you such that it is outside of you and you do your best to follow it.” We’ve seen all throughout the Old Testament that God’s people are not able to follow his law. God says in the new covenant, “I’m going to put my law within you. I’m going to write my law on your heart.” In the picture we see in other promises a new covenant is, you will be transformed from the inside out so that you will not have to follow my rules or try to follow my rules. You will want to follow my rules and be able to follow my rules because of my power at work in you, inside of you.
God has graciously given His people new hearts. By saving us through His grace, we now long to delight in our Redeemer.
What an amazing promise that we then realize in the New Testament when we see the picture of salvation starts with regeneration. God gives us a new heart, Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3, you must be born again, like new life, born of water and of spirit, the spirit of God giving you new life so that you have a new heart that wants to follow God. Oh, we’ve got to be very, very careful not to think Christianity is a list of to dos in your life that you try to measure up to, that you try to do in order to earn the favor of God in some way, in order to experience what God has called you to experience on your own power, that is not Christianity. What Jesus came to do was to make it possible for us to have new hearts. What Jeremiah 31:34 goes on to say, we are forgiven of our iniquity in the new covenant through what Jesus did on the cross for us, and not just forgiven of our sins, but we are given new hearts that desire God, that desire to walk in his word.
So I ask you today, do you see your relationship with God more like it’s a duty, things you have to do? Have to pray, read the Bible, go to church, be holy in this way or that way. I need to do these things, or I want to do these things. I have a new heart, I want to pray. I want to read the word of God. I want to gather together for his worship. I want to be holy in a way that honors him. Now I’m not saying that in our sinfulness, we don’t still struggle at times, at various times with this desire, with this want to, but don’t miss the promise here in Jeremiah 31 that is a reality for all who have trusted in Christ. You have been given a new heart and this new heart has new desires, new affections, new longings, such that your relationship with God is not intended to be one of duty. It is intended to be one of delight.
So we pray, God, for anyone listening right now who has never experienced this kind of delight, truly never experienced a desire for you. God, I pray that you would give them a new heart, and I pray that they would ask for that even right now, for a new heart, for new desires, for new affections, for new longings, that you would give them a new heart, regenerate their heart, cause them to be born again as they turn from their sin and themselves and say, “I don’t want that anymore, I want Jesus. I want to follow Jesus as my Lord.” God, that only happens because of your grace and a new heart. So I pray for that reality to happen in anyone’s heart who’s listening right now and who that’s not happened.
And then, Oh God, I pray that you would cultivate in me and cultivate in all of us who you’ve given new hearts too. God, cultivate deeper longings for you, deeper desires for you, deeper desires for your word, for time with you, for obedience to you. Continually transform our hearts. We pray that we might walk in your law, not because we have to, because we want to. That we might walk in your ways, not because it’s our duty, because you are our delight. God, we praise you for a relationship with you that is not based on duty, but that is driven by delight because of your supernatural work in our hearts. In Jesus’ name, we praise you and we pray these things. Amen.
Download the weekly Bible reading plan to follow along with each episode of Pray the Word.
Get Pray the Word daily by subscribing here.