Does behavior modification guarantee heart transformation? From my experience I’d say no. After years of trying to make behavior changes there might have been some heart change but it certainly didn’t transpire from behavior.
In reading Matthew 5 The Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells so many things to change outwardly but mostly inwardly. The changes He tells us to make seem almost impossible. Go back and read it if you haven’t lately. When I read this passage, for many years I thought, “There’s no
way I can actually do this.” However when I understood what His point was, “No
you can’t change your behavior or your thoughts on your own. You need a Savior
and that Savior has to become your life” it made much more sense.
Now read John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” So is it behavior that changes us or a heart transformation? It’s Christ in us. We can’t do it without Him. In Matthew 5
Jesus needed us to see that we could never make those changes unless we did it with Him.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I
will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” This passage speaks of the New Covenant that God has made with people through Jesus Christ. This heart and spirit change in us is what enables us to obey and follow Him. Once again it is a
heart transformation or shall we say transplant that changes us. This new
heart and spirit enables us to make the behavioral changes Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5.
For so many years I tried and tried to change my behavior to please God and others. I was
quite successful at appearing as if I had changed, but it was hard to keep up those appearances. Working, striving and working some more. But when I learned the secret of living for Christ, hallelujah! freedom came into my life at last. With a new heart and spirit given to me by my wonderful, great God I finally got what Scripture meant when it spoke of the abundant life in John 10:10. Christ living in and through me!
There’s a picture of a sunrise with this post. Doesn’t it look like a relaxing, restful place to be? Sitting on the beach, watching the sun rise, enjoying God’s beauty, represents freedom in Christ to me. My sister-in-law took this while she and her husband were camping on the coast of California. Imagine waking up to this.
The answer to the question? It’s heart transformation that changes behavior, not the other