I Samuel 8:1-10:27
“As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. When they arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he joined in their prophesying.” ~I Samuel 10:9-10
That’s exactly what I need—a change of heart. It is not something I can produce on my own; at least not in a way that fundamentally changes who I am, how I perceive the world, how I behave, or how I respond to God. Don’t get me wrong; I have an important part to play if my heart is ever going to get changed. I have to be willing, I need to surrender, and I must daily yield to the Great Heart Surgeon.
The kind of heart-change I that need can only come from God. That’s what happened to Saul. God had great plans for Saul, and Saul was totally unaware, unsuited (at least in his own mind) and unprepared for what God had in mind—to be the very first king of God’s chosen people, Israel. So when the prophet Samuel revealed God’s plan to Saul, this handsome, young Benjamite demurred.
Yet there was something special about Saul that God saw—a pliable heart, a humble spirit, an innate leadership quality that, with some mentoring, seasoning and Spirit-filling, could rally the Israelites. There was also in Saul a willingness to accept God’s plan, even if Saul’s first inclination was to shy away from such a lofty call. So the moment Samuel’s revelation was finished, God’s Spirit took away Saul’s heart and replaced it with one that was equal to the task of leading a leaderless people in a time of national crisis. Of course, I am not talking about a literal heart transplant, but there was certainly a spiritual heart transplant that day.
That’s exactly what I need—and want. How about you? We may not be called to lead a nation during a time of crisis, but we have been called to carry out God’s plan in a sphere of influence over which he has given us stewardship. He has called us to beat back the kingdom of darkness and proclaim freedom to those held captive to sin, to heal the sick, to cast out demons, to deliver the addicted, to love the unlovely, to restore the broken, to bring back fractured families from the brink—well, you get the picture. That’s a pretty tall order isn’t it? Now you get a sense of what Saul must have felt at that moment!
So how exactly are you going to do all of that when you can barely manage your own life? Well, managing your own life plus capturing your sphere of influence for the Lord can and will happen when you invite the Great Heart Surgeon to take away your weak heart and transplant it with one that is equal to the task that he has placed before you.
I get the feeling you have your doubts about what I am suggesting. Well, join the club. But if God can do it for Saul, can’t he do it for you, too? Why not go to him right now and ask him for a heart transplant!
“Our prayers are really His prayers; He speaks to himself through us.” ~C.S. Lewis
Reflect and Apply: Perhaps you are thinking that praying for a Saul-like heart transplant is a real stretch. But let me encourage you with this thought: It was God who led you to read this devotional piece today, and he did so for a purpose. He wants to do in you what he did for Saul. So go ahead and ask for a new heart—you’re only asking for what God already desires for you!