A MakeOver of the Heart Bible Study

Welcome back to our Bible Study!
I want to again thank all of you who are participating and leaving such amazing, authentic, and honest comments. My prayer is that God does a complete transformation in your heart. I pray that He heals hidden wounds, sets you free in all areas, brings conviction in any areas that need it, and that He draws you near, filling you with all grace in complete abundance.

I had a couple of ladies ask how to comment. Simply click on "# of thoughts shared" that appears under the post. A new window will open. Type your comment and click on publish your comment. Make sure you choose your identity- meaning you type in your username info. or anonymous. If you would like me/other participants to comment back, make sure to write your email within your comment. It is NOT IM.....sorry!

Today's lesson is very LONG.... If you need to take a few days to complete, that's fine! Comment on what you can do today, take a few days to finish reading/pondering/praying and feel free to come back and recomment. I am praying for all you!

Paul says in Romans 12, “(Sisters), in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We are to “put off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Paul tells us to set our hearts and minds on things above, not on things of this world. He says in Colossians 3 to “rid ourselves of anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lying”. He again says to “take off the old self with its practices and put on a new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Beloved, God has chosen you to be His daughter, His bride. It is not an accident or coincidence that you are reading this study. God has called you by name. He has placed this desire in your heart to know Him better. He has whispered in your ear. He wants to bring you out of a life of mediocrity and “make your righteousness shine like the dawn!” He doesn’t want you to sit on the fence. He wants you to commit to Him.

The world tells us that it is OK to be lukewarm in our faith. The world tells us that there are lots of “grey issues” within morality, society, and Christianity. The world says there are lots of things, even within the Word that are neither black nor white, neither right nor wrong. Society will tell us that we are changing and evolving and the Bible is no longer relevant.

But the Bible says in Joshua 24:14-15, “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away your gods your forefathers worshipped and serve the Lord. But, if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” We need to choose WHAT we will believe. Will we believe His Truth, which tells us that it is eternal? Will we believe when the Word tells us that God is unchanging, the same yesterday, today, and forever? Will we OBEY the Word, looking at it as God’s Law instead of just a nice set of suggestions?

In Revelation, Jesus says “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm- neither cold nor hot- I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

The Lord wants our passion! And, He wants us to be passionate about Him! He wants us to stand up and stand for something. I heard a speaker say, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything!” God doesn’t want us to be wishy-washy about our faith. We need to choose. Don’t let the world, or the media or your neighbors tell you how you should think, or where you should stand on issues. When you need to make a choice, simply ask, “Is this for God or against Him? Does this give God glory? Would this make God smile, or would this make God sad?” There is no gray area- only black or white. Each choice either gives God glory, or it doesn’t.

When we start to make excuses for our choices, rationalize our behavior, reason things away, or justify our sins, it is because we really want to do it. We may say things like, “Maybe this isn’t so bad. Does God really care about this? But, it seems okay. All of my friends are doing it! I’ve been through so much.” These are the things you really want to do, but you don’t want God to tell you no. James says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed." It is our own desires that tempt us.

But, take heart! The Spirit will help us and tell us “no” to sin. But, we need to cooperate with Him and fight back our own fleshly desires and sinful nature.

Sometimes our minds know what we want to do is wrong, but our hearts desire to do it anyway. Paul says in Romans 7:18, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing.” It is only the power of the Holy Spirit that can break the enticement. Paul continues, “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!” In the book, “The Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free,” Nancy DeMoss says, “Every time we choose to give into the flesh, rather than yielding to the Spirit of God, we allow sin to gain mastery over us. On the other hand, every time we say yes to the Spirit, we give Him greater control of our lives.”

Our battles are not new or unusual. We are not the only ones battling these temptations. The enemy would like for us to believe that we are weak and alone in our battle. Paul also struggled with sin at times, telling us, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.” In fact, even Jesus can identify with our temptation. As a man, he too was tempted, but sinless. Hebrews tells us, “we have a high priest (Jesus) who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, tempted in every way; just as we are- yet was without sin.” God does sympathize, but doesn’t allow us to get stuck there. Corinthians tells us, “And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." Paul learned that he must rely on the Holy Spirit to help him overcome, and so must we.

When you are confused and are not sure about your choices, go to God’s Word. When it seems possible to rationalize and reason away your ungodly choices, go back to the Bible. You need to fill your heart and mind with God’s Word so that you can discern what is right and true. The world, the media, and even your friends can confuse you with ideas different from God’s Word. You may think you are “tolerant” or “politically correct,” but are you biblically correct? The world’s “wisdom” may seem right or true, making you second guess God’s Word. The Bible says, “This is what we speak, not in words taught to us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” Paul warns us in Corinthians that God’s wisdom is foolishness to the world and the world’s “wisdom” is foolishness to God. Furthermore, Isaiah 55:89 tells us, “God’s ways are not our ways.” Finally, Paul shares words of wisdom when discerning our life choices, “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

As “salt and light,” our lives, how we live them, the choices we make, the focus we have, either glorify God or they don’t. We can live surrendered to the Lord, allowing Him to work in us and through us, or we can choose to live for the world. We must have a fervent passion about serving and loving our God because WE ARE A CHOOSEN PEOPLE BELONGING TO GOD! Peter says, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God- His very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” We have this incredible opportunity to shine God’s light to the world around us- our friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and acquaintances.

And then, as a chosen people, we have a RESPONSIBILITY. The Bible says in Colossians 3 “therefore as a chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And, over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all in perfect unity.”

We need to be awesome role models of strong, empowered Christian women! The world’s view of the Christian woman can best be illustrated by Saturday Night Live’s “Church Lady,” an ugly looking and ugly acting, judgmental, hypocrite. That is NOT how I want to be seen, and it is not how I want my daughters to be seen in the generation to come. This is not what a Christian woman looks like. We have a beauty that is ours alone as Christian women, a beauty that can not be replicated by any cosmetics manufacturer. A beauty that comes from a “gentle and quiet spirit” walking in relationship with God.

BUT, Christian women MUST look different than the rest of the world. Peter tells us to live as “aliens and strangers in the world.” Another translation says we are to be a “peculiar” people. We are set apart from the world. He goes on to say, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits.” Our choices and lifestyles need to reflect the King, not the world. We are Christ’s ambassadors and representatives, and we should reflect His beauty and grace and light. I want the light of Jesus shining so brightly in me that everyone around stops and says, “I want what SHE has!” I want to “spread the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.” (2Corinthians 2:14) I want my life to point the next generation to the Lord!

God wants our faith to be backed up by deeds. James tells us that faith without deeds is dead. Our lives need to reflect our faith. We need to LIVE OUT OUR LIVES THROUGH FAITH. Rick Warren says, “True friendship (with God) isn’t passive, it acts. When Jesus asks us to love others, help the needy, share our resources, keep our lives clean, offer forgiveness, and bring others to him, love motivates us to OBEY immediately.” He goes on to say, “We are often challenged to do great things for God. Actually, God is more pleased when we do small things for Him out of loving obedience. They may go unnoticed by others, but God notices them and considers them acts of worship.” And I love what he says next, “Great opportunities may come once in a lifetime, but small opportunities surround us every day. Even through such simple acts as telling the truth, being kind, and encouraging others, we bring a smile to God’s face. God TREASURES simple acts of obedience.”

You may be thinking, “If I am supposed to be an enemy to the world, how can I show the world the love of Christ?” This has been the dilemma of our generation. But, sometimes, we swing to the other side. We have been so loving, so tolerant, so accepting of people, we have developed a fear of offending anyone. We have become desensitized to sin and have developed a tolerance for it. Look to Jesus as your perfect example. Jesus loved the sinner, but hated the sin. After healing the man at the pool, Jesus tells him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14) Of course, one of the best examples of this is the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8. The Pharisees brought this woman to Jesus for judgement. She was obviously guilty, caught in the very act. The Pharisees brought her to Jesus, demanding the consequences of the law, which would be to stone her to death. Jesus draws a line in the sand and says, “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Of course, none are without sin, so none can condemn her. Only Jesus is without sin. Does He stone her, following the laws and consequences of Moses? No! He offers her forgiveness. He wipes her slate clean. Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you.”

This is where so many of us fail to “get it.” Jesus is concerned for our best interest. He is not like the cruel teacher, watching and waiting for you to make a mistake so that He can say “Aha! I caught you! You lose!” Jesus already knows our mistakes. He already knows our hearts. He is waiting to give us absolution of our sins. Often, we want to hide from God when we have made mistakes. Do you remember Adam and Eve in the garden? Their first response was to hide in shame. But when we are broken, humiliated, defenseless, and guilty, God wants us to come to Him, not hide from Him. He then looks at us and says, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you? Then, neither do I condemn you.”

But, Beloved, the story does not end there. Do not miss the most important verse of the passage. Jesus tells the woman, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Go, and sin no more. Jesus tells us to leave our lives of sin. He tells us not to be in bondage to sin. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” And, then, Jesus tells us HOW in John 8:12. He says, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” When we follow Jesus, He empowers us to “Go, and sin no more.”


Are there any areas of bondage to sin you are dealing with? How, according to the Bible, do we overcome these areas of bondage?

What is the Holy Spirit teaching you about holiness, being set apart, and walking as a “chosen people”?

Father God, we praise You! We thank You for Your loving kindness, forgiveness, and mercy. We thank You for Your wisdom. Your Word says that the “wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” We pray for Your wisdom, Lord. The Bible also says that You give Your wisdom to anyone who asks, and that You give it generously.” Give us a holy wisdom, not of the world. Reader, “May the God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that “your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless. May the Lord strengthen your heart so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones.” Help us dear Father to stand firm and stand for You. Help us to live a life worthy of You. Break any chains of bondage to sin and help us live a life free from sin. Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes on You. Help us to not “lean on our own understanding (or the world’s), but to trust in You so that You may make our paths straight.” Help us, Lord, to go and sin no more. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

I’d love to share a story of a woman with you who committed her way to the Lord and the Lord made her righteousness shine like the dawn. She is a woman loved and respected for centuries – Mary, mother of Jesus. Dee Brestin says, “Mary, the mother of Jesus, was honored above all women.” Mary was completely obedient, totally surrendering to God. She surrendered her will and her life for the Will of the Father. She offered herself to God.

Can you imagine? Here she was a humble, young woman, not a queen or a person of power, but a simple young girl chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus! She was a virgin, not yet even married, but betrothed to Joseph when God asked her to surrender herself to His will. She loved the Lord and doesn’t hesitate to be his servant. You can tell she had been already walking with the Lord and that she had a loving relationship with him. Listen to how Gabriel, the angel, greets her, “Greetings, favored woman.” Then the angel says, “God has decided to bless you. You will become pregnant and have a son and he will be called Jesus, the Son of God!”

Does Mary even hesitate in her response? Does she argue with God, complain or start worrying? Does she say, “What will Joseph think? Our lives will be ruined.” Does she say, “Joseph won’t believe me or stand by me. What will my family say? My neighbors?” Remember, she and Joseph are not married yet. Mary could be stoned for being pregnant and not married. She is going to have to explain to Joseph that she is with child. Remember, she is a virgin. Obviously, she may have feared his reaction. She may have wondered how she would explain her pregnancy. How will Joseph feel? If he believes her, will he accept giving up the privilege of fathering Mary’s firstborn child? God is telling Mary that HE will be the father of her baby, not Joseph.

How does Mary react, what does she say? Does she start arguing with Gabriel, listing all of these very valid excuses of why she can not be obedient to God? In Luke 1:38, Mary says, “I am the Lord’s servant and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.” Wow! What a statement of faith! She doesn’t even hesitate in her obedience. Even though Mary knows she could be shamed by her family and her community, her reaction is immediate. She doesn’t tell the angel that she needs a few days to think it over. Luci Shaw says, “she staked shame against the will of God.” Mary was passionately obedient, completely abandoned to God and His will and purpose for her. She says, “I am willing to accept WHATEVER God wants. May everything you have said come true!”

Can you say the same? When God asks you to take a risk in your life, do you answer so faithfully, so completely committed to his will? When His will is not popular with today’s culture, and you risk your standing in society- your standing with your co-workers, your group of friends, with the other carpool moms- are you so willing to be the Lord’s servant? Are you willing to stake shame against the will of God?

Mary travels to visit her cousin Elizabeth right after the angel’s visit. Is she starting to regret her decision? Is she second -guessing God? Is she starting to worry about what is going to happen to her? No. When Mary sees Elizabeth, she sings, “Oh how I praise the Lord. How I rejoice in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and now generation after generation will call me blessed. For he, the Mighty One is holy and He has done great things for me.” And do generations call Mary blessed? Oh, yes! Did God make her righteousness shine like the dawn? Oh, yes! And will the same be true for you, if you commit your way to the Lord? Oh, yes!

But, how do you do this? How do you commit your way to the Lord and His will for you exactly? How do you even figure out WHAT God’s will is for your life?

What is God’s will?

Remember the words of Jesus in Mark 12 29-31. “The most important command is this- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. Then, love your neighbor as yourself.” When you love God more than yourself, more than your desires and ambitions, you are following this command! When you put others’ needs before your own, you are being obedient to God’s will. When you choose God, when you become passionate for the Lord, when you commit yourself to Him, He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, your cause like the noonday sun.

Even though there is no “magic formula” or 12-step program in committing yourself to God, I have found a process which has been helpful to me.
SURRENDER- surrender your will, heart, situation over to God.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked the Father if there was another way other than
the cross. But, He then said, “But not as I will, but as You will.” We must have this
same heart attitude of not my will, God, but Yours.
Write a prayer surrendering your heart to God.

ASK- “God, are you pleased with this choice? Is ______ pleasing to You?

If you are unsure if a choice or decision is pleasing to God, ASK Him! Go to prayer and ask for His guidance. Go to His Word to see what He says. If you are asking if you should have an affair, then you don’t need to even prayer about it! He tells you in His Word that this is offensive to Him and a sin. Familiarize yourself with His Word. Find a Godly accountability partner who will honestly help you search God’s Truth.

OBEY- Actually follow-through!

It doesn’t make much difference if you are aware of Godly/ungodly choices, but don’t act
upon it. James says, “Faith without deeds is dead.” We need to ACT upon our belief.
Receive God’ forgiveness when you make mistakes. Remember, God is not looking for
PERFECTION. He is looking at your heart. “A broken and contrite heart, O God, You
will not despise.”

Father God, all praise and honor and glory to You! You are such an amazing God. We love You and trust You. Lord, help us flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." Help us, God to commit our ways to You. Help us to live our lives for You. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Please, God help us to have a completely obedient heart as Mary did. Help us to say without hesitation, “I am the Lord’s servant and I am willing to accept whatever He wants. Help us God to be a light shining in the darkness for You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

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