Summary: Once one realizes the need for change, a transformed heart must follow
• SLIDE #1
• As we have entered the New Year, we are exploring the theme of Building a New You.
• Last week we explored the thought of having eyes that can see, this week we progress to the next step by examining the need for a transformation of the heart.
• In the book of Joel, the nation of Israel was in dire need of serious change.
• The background details for the book of Joel as sketchy enough to make it hard to pin down the historical events that surround the writing of the book.
• In the book of Joel, the writer is seeking to motivate the people towards repentance by proclaiming the Day of the Lord is near as evidenced by the coming invasion.
• Joel speaks of the invasion as locusts, in which he could be speaking of a literal invasion of locusts or locust could be a metaphor referring to an invading army.
• Joel realizes the nation is on a collision course with disaster unless they have a transformation of the heart.
• When one examines their own life, we come to realize the need to make some changes.
• If all were perfect, there would be no need to change.
• Last week as we examined the need to have eyes that were open to see the need for change, this week we dig a bit deeper to see that in order to change, a transformation of the heart is required.
• Without a transformed heart, one will continue to long for the actions and attitudes which plague them and which drag them down.
• Change can be a scary thing. Today we are going to examine three actions and attitudes which one needs to possess in order to be able to allow God to work on our heart transformation.
• Let us begin our journey in Joel 2:12
• SLIDE #2
• Joel 2:12 (HCSB) 2 Even now— this is the LORD’s declaration— turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
• SLIDE #3
For a transformation of the heart to materialize…
I. Turn to the Lord with all one’s heart.
• If one is going to have any hope of a successful transformation in life, one must turn to the Lord with all one’s heart.
• In the context of the passage, the nation of Israel had apparently turned away from the Lord and they were about to pay a serious price for doing so.
• We need to understand that when God’s judgment is involved it is not simply about punishing the bad people; it is about waking them up to the need to change.
• Any parent who looks at discipline as simply punishment may win the battle but they will eventually lose the war.
• When we do anything half-heartedly, what is the usual result? We do what we do with no passion, and when we do something with half of a heart, in truth we are doing it with no heart.
• We see this all the time in the workplace, in the home with marriages as well as with parenting.
• If you have ever done anything half-heartedly, you know what I am speaking of.
• When one does not give it there all what they are doing sucks the life out of them.
• Half of an effort in truth is NO EFFORT.
• I have seen way too many people live their faith out in this manner, I had hit some spots where I allowed that to happen to me early in my walk.
• God takes what is happening with the people personal. Notice through the prophet Joel, the Lord says TURN TO ME! God desires a right relationship with His people. Later this is the reason He will send Jesus to die for our sins!
• Here is the issue we all deal with at one time or another in life. WE THINK we are heading in the right direction when in truth; we need to honestly TURN back toward God.
• The word translated RETURN in the Hebrew means to TURN BACK, or to repent.
• The implication is that one will turn their backs on the old direction they were traveling to head into the new direction.
• For one to be able to repent they must have a change of will. Repentance is not about being sorry you got caught or sorry that things went wrong, but rather it involves a change of the will.
• The change of will encourages us to focus on the right path, the change of will gives ones the strength to carry on in the midst of difficult temptations.
• Joel wanted to punctuate the point he is making by sharing with the people their need for public actions that reflect their inward change of heart.