Thursday, 24 December 2020 01:00

How to Persuade Your Heart

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You will often hear me talk about how important it is to persuade your heart of God’s love for you. Recently, I have been asked by some, how I persuade or convince my heart of this life-changing truth? It isn’t a difficult process at all, but it does take some focus. 
There is no one greater at fully persuading your heart of who He is than God Himself. All through the Bible, God helped people persuade their hearts of the truth about who He is. Adam and Eve were placed in a garden where they were fully provided for. They didn’t have to work at all; the garden provided for them. All they needed to do was rest in God’s provision. We know the Devil deceived them by convincing them they were not who God created them to be. This identity deception caused them to disobey God. As a result, sin infected all creation. 
God came to Abraham and initiated a covenant with him often referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant. God promised Abraham and Sarah a child, something they had deeply desired but due to their advanced age, they had lost hope and given up. With God’s promise of a child came a far greater promise for the world. God, through Abraham’s seed, would send a Savior to mankind. This Messiah would reverse the curse that started in the garden with Adam and Eve. 
God’s promise to Abraham wouldn’t have been fulfilled if old Abe’s heart was not fully persuaded that God’s promise to him would come to pass (Romans 4:13-25). So God had to help Abe do some serious heart work, which would strengthen his faith in Him. The first thing God did was change Abram’s name to Abraham, which means the father of many nations. God saw Abraham as the father of many nations but it was important for Abraham to see what God saw and believed about him. 
As believers in Jesus, we were also given a name change by God that identifies with who we are in Christ. This is crucial to understand if you are to function in sync with who you are and who God is to you. Almost every believer I counseled over the years who struggled with life and could not seem to live as an overcomer had a spiritual identity crisis. They just didn’t see themselves as God created them to be in Christ. Such believers usually identify with their sins or past failures, not the truth about their righteousness in Christ. 
Next time you read through the epistles in the New Testament, take special notice of how the apostles identified followers of Jesus. They called them, saints, redeemed, children of God, beloved, righteous, faithful, and other names reflecting their identity in Christ. If we don’t identify with whom God created us to be in Christ, we won’t live in harmony with God. 
If Abraham hadn’t changed his thinking and view of who he was when he was in a relationship with God, the promises of God would never have been a reality for him. 
Another thing God did for Abraham to help persuade his heart was to say that his descendants would be more than the stars in the sky and grains of sand. That is a powerful visual for Abraham. Every night as he fell asleep, he was reminded of God’s promises to him. Every morning as he stood up and walked, the grains of sand under his feet and those that slipped through his toes were reminders of God’s promises to him. Night and day, he was reminded of God’s promises to him. Plus, every time he introduced himself or heard his name called, he heard “father of many nations.” Who he was and God’s promises to him were constant reminders 24/7. He couldn’t escape who he was. 
The stars represent Abraham’s children of faith. Those who have placed their trust in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. The grains of sand symbolize Israel and all her natural descendants. Abraham might not have understood it that way, but the important part is it was a visual reminder of how far into the future his seed would extend. 
When it comes to persuading our hearts to the truth of God’s love for us, just like Abraham, we also have constant reminders. All we need to do is look at the cross. That is the greatest demonstration of the love God has for us. He sent His only begotten Son to take our place; He suffered and died for the sins of all humanity. Jesus taught that there is no greater love than to lay your life down for a friend (John 15:13).
The stars Abraham looked at every night and the sand he walked on were reminders from God of the promise He made to him. The cross and resurrection are also reminders to us of the greatness of God’s love for us. 
As old Abe became more and more persuaded that God is who He said He is and is well able to fulfill His promises, Abe’s faith grew strong.
In hope against hope Abraham believed that he would become a father of many nations, as he had been promised [by God]: “ So [numberless] shall your descendants be.” Without becoming weak in faith he considered his own body, now as good as dead [for producing children] since he was about a hundred years old, and [he considered] the deadness of Sarah’s womb. But he did not doubt or waver in unbelief concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and empowered by faith, giving glory to God, being fully convinced that God had the power to do what He had promised. Therefore his faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God). (Romans 4:18-22, AMP)
Knowing God’s character helped Abraham believe He would fulfill the promise He made to him.
Jesus came to show us the character and nature of God. Like Abraham grew in the knowledge of God’s character, we through studying the life of Jesus can also grow in the knowledge of who God is. We should allow that knowledge to help persuade our hearts of the truth of who God is to us. I can’t stress how crucial this is. Without a very clear vision of God through the life of His Son, we can never know or trust in the true character of God. If we can’t trust in God’s character, we can never trust Him. 
Jesus made it easy for us to see what He is like. He said that He didn’t say or do anything except He first heard or saw His Father say or do it (John 5:9). Now, before you think Jesus had access to some sort of secret video screen only He could see to get access to this information about His Father, let me clarify. He didn’t! His insight into and revelation of His Father’s character and nature came entirely from His knowledge of the Old Testament. That was where He saw and heard the works and will of His Father. His relationship and faith in His Father are reflected in everything He said and did. 
Some people think that Jesus, when faced with a problem or difficulty, would ask His Father what to do. Truth is Jesus knew His Father’s will from knowing His Word. I am not suggesting Jesus didn’t talk to His Father; we know He did. However, He knew His Father’s will, desires, and purpose as they were revealed to Him in the Word of God. Hence, Jesus challenged the religious leaders of His day by telling them that in their diligent study of God’s Word, they had missed what it was God wanted them to see. They thought they had figured out what they had to do to earn eternal life with God. Jesus told them that the entire Old Testament was about Him (John 5:39). 
“For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46-47).
When we don’t see what God desires us to see and understand His Word, our hearts end up being convinced by our own efforts. God wants our hearts to see the truth because knowing the truth is the only thing that sets us free (John 8:31-32). 
God wants us to keep our hearts persuaded in all He is and has done for us. Our confidence in God doesn’t come from our performances or efforts but in resting in all Jesus accomplished for us in His death, burial, and resurrection. As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD” (2 Corinthians 10:17).
I could write a lot on this subject. In the coming weeks, I will be revisiting this topic to help you know how and why it is important to keep your heart persuaded of God’s love and goodness for you. Nothing will change your life like having your heart established in the truth. 
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Ed Elliot

Author, conference speaker itinerary/missionary who travels the world sharing truths about God’s love. Helping people experience God’s love personally.

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