In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives… In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.” (Luke 15:7, 10 CEB)
Before I read my devotional this morning, I read an email from an old friend telling me about a big move and job switch in their lives. Because of a job offer they are moving to another state after 21 years.
We are also considering some changes. Change can be nerve-wracking, intimidating, exciting, scary and fun all at the same time. But true change is never easy. In fact, so much of the time people will stick with what is known, even when it’s hurtful, dysfunctional, empty, costly, etc., rather than change to something better because it is unknown.
In this passage, Jesus says there is celebration in heaven when “one sinner changes BOTH HEART AND LIFE.” That should be encouraging to all us sinners. However, it’s much easier for someone to change their heart, their belief that something is sinful and wrong, than it is for them to change their lives. The problem is, if lives don’t change after the heart does, the heart hardens, and the now known sin becomes “acceptable” to a person, making them even more guilty before God.
What areas of sin in your life have become “acceptable” to you: gluttony, drinking, gossip, inappropriate sexual relationship, greed, dishonoring parents or other authority, etc? Pray for your heart to be softened again and for the courage and ability to change your life today.