MICHAEL ANTHONY BLOG

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IF YOU REALLY WANT TO CHANGE, YOU’VE GOT TO CHANGE FROM THE INSIDE-OUT. All other change is only temporary. When change comes at a heart level, in the deepest recesses of who we are, our behavior falls into alignment. I am continually amazed, even awestruck, that there is a book that cuts to the chase, reaches into my heart, and speaks to me every time I pick it up. Every time I read the Bible, I learn something new — or revisit something I used to know, but temporarily forgot. The Bible is unlike any other book because it is the handbook for character transformation — from the inside-out.

“Amazingly, when I confess my sin, I find that the distance between God and me vanishes — instantly. “

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with thoughts about God. I tend to blame Him, while all along He is innocent against my charges. I’m in a season in my life right now where I am struck by how wayward my thoughts are toward God. I’m struck by how, if I’m not attentive, my mind drifts into auto-pilot against God. But it’s not just my mind that struggles. My heart is the real source of my woes. What I need is to be changed from the deepest recesses of who I am. The only problem is that I find that I am incapable of changing myself. I need a heart surgeon to do the deep work within me, to rescue me from myself. Do you have this struggle, or is it mine alone?

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One of the reasons why I love the Bible is because it lays out the shortest distance between God and me. Whenever I read it, I am convicted of sin — but that’s not all. Through it, God also shows me how to stop sinning — and it all centers upon the attitude residing in my heart. This is significant, because I don’t merely need to be reminded of my shortcomings. I need to know how to straighten them out.

There is life-changing power in the Bible because it is not just a book. It’s a literal portal to the heart, mind and presence of God. As Isaiah was changed when in God’s presence (Isaiah 6), I find that I, too, am changed when standing before the King. The way to get there is through the Book of books, the Bible He provided.

Take Psalm 66:18, for instance. It says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened . . .” (NIV). Sin obstructs my ability to enjoy God. It will do that to you, too. It does for everyone. Sin is no respecter or persons — it affects all of us. But so does the Word of God, if we let it. This morning, as I read Psalm 66 (slowly, which I have to force myself to do in this fast-paced culture), I was reminded of how I had allowed myself to tolerate wrong thinking about God. How ironic, don’t you think? That I would accuse the One Who no longer accuses me, courtesy of Jesus’ sacrifice? How quick I am to turn on the One Who has turned His wrath away from me, when I really deserve its full weight. Amazingly, when I confess my sin, I find that the distance between God and me vanishes — instantly. This is good news for someone with a heart problem.

The more I am in the Word of God, the more my sin is confronted — head on — and the more my thoughts are conformed to what pleases God. I’d be in such a sorry state without the Bible and it’s unique ability to straighten out my crooked ways. I need God to do a deep work in my heart — and one of the key tools He’s given me for an “inside job,” a work from the inside-out, is His very Word, the Bible. It’s His remedy against sin, softening my heart so that I don’t become hardened against the Lover of my soul.

CAN YOU IDENTIFY? I’D LOVE TO KNOW THAT I’M NOT ALONE IN THIS . . .