Summary: This is an updated sermon on God's eagerness to accept us when we are willing to change our hearts.
How Often Should I Change My Heart
For years car manufactures have been telling us to change our oil after so many thousand miles. Some recommend every 3,000, some every 5,000, and if you have the synthetic oil, it was suggested you could go up to 25,000 miles. The one thing common to all of them is a recognition that at some point a change is going to be needed.
How long do you think you should go before examining if you need to change anything in your heart? When was the last time you made an intentional change. Now for those of us who are believers, the heart is actually the part of our mind that decides what we are going to do about our behavior. When we say, invite Jesus into your heart, we’re not talking about putting a little man inside of our heart. We are talking about wrestling with decisions we have to make. We may know what we want to do, but because of our relationship to Jesus, we’re not free to do it.
For instance, if somebody does you wrong, in your heart your first response is to want to get even. But if Christ is in your heart, he says chill out, and let me show you how to handle this. First let go of the anger so that you can see straight. Now let me handle it from here.
When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we are giving Him permission to change our hearts, to change our way of thinking and our way of acting and reacting. How many of you know, there’s some parts of our hearts that we do not want to have changed? Ever made up your mind you were not going to speak to somebody for a certain number of hours or days just to pay them back for what they did or did not do. That’s a heart condition that we do not want changed.
We all know that an alcoholic or crack addict will not change until he or she has hit the bottom and genuinely wants a change. They have to admit they’re an alcoholic or an addict. Some times we are addicts and don’t know it. Just like the alcoholic uses alcohol as means of dealing with life, we can use jealousy, bitterness, envy, materialism, greed, unforgiveness, anger, lying and a host of hidden sins to deal with life.
Do you realize that some of us do not want to let go of these addictions in our hearts for Jesus Christ. When we think about a changed heart, we have to think in terms of the whole heart. What would you do if you went to get an oil change in your car and the guy changed the oil, and the filter but was short on new oil. So he tells you, I put in three quarts of new oil before I ran out. “I just put back some of the dirty oil back in to fill it up completely but you don’t have to pay me for that.” Are you going to say thanks, I really appreciate it?
Sometimes we are praying to be drawn closer to God, and yet at the same time we insist on leaving in some of that dirty oil in our hearts. What dirty oil did you bring in to church this morning? Are you going to be brave enough to let it go and admit to God you need another change today. Or will you settle for less than what God has in mind for you. Will you walk out of here today protecting your dirty oil.
I want you to know, that God does not have a problem dealing with people who carry around dirty oil in their lives. As a matter of fact the church is here to help those with dirty oil. Matthew 9:12-13 (NIV) On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ’I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." If there is dirty oil in your heart, I want you to know that Jesus is looking for you.
How would you feel about a slum landlord by the name of Zach who had roach a roach and rat infested apartment building but had high rent fees and late fees. He never fixed anything, and lied through his teeth when he went to housing court. Suppose I told you he wanted to get right with God, so he gave every tenant a free can of roach spray, a free box of d-con, and cut the late fee from 35 dollars to twenty five dollars. How many of you would say, “wow that is great. He really had a change of heart?”