“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of”—Luke 6:45(NIV).
Fall means cooler weather, leaves changing colors and the explosion of pumpkin patches. Children, especially, love picking a pumpkin to carve a face into the round fruit and then decorating it with a candle so the scary face glows in the dark.
When someone says, “pumpkin,” the first thought in most people’s minds is Halloween. For me, it’s pumpkin pie. However, I had never considered how a Christian is like a pumpkin until I came across the following story:
A woman, recently baptized, was asked by a co-worker what it was like to be a Christian. She replied, “It’s like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in and washes all the dirt off you. Then he cuts the top off and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed and other sinful stuff. Then, He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for the entire world to see.”
While this may be a simplistic explanation of Christian transformation, it can give us pause to consider what it really means to be a Christ follower. First, it starts in the heart. While we can intellectually choose to believe, profess our faith through baptism and clean up our behavior, if we haven’t allowed Jesus to have complete access to our heart, what comes out of us may not be very Godly.
One way to monitor what comes out of us is to track our words. The Apostle Paul said, “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate” (1 Corinthians 13:1 MSG). If anger, criticism, bitterness and hatred spew out of our mouths, what does that say about our heart condition?
In Luke 6:45, Jesus says behavior starts in the heart, so we need cleaning from the inside out. Once our hearts are right, Godly behavior follows. We might try to hide the condition of our hearts by being insincere in what we say or do, but eventually the truth is exposed. God wants to give us a new heart, one scrubbed clean.
King David, confessing the sin in his own heart, invited God to change its condition: “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 HCSB).
In 1967, history was made with the first human heart transplant. Forty-five years later, science has made even more strides in medicine. However, there is only one way to be completely transformed into the likeness of Christ.
Have you allowed God to capture and clean your heart? When you do, He’ll also set a guard around it. Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
After a 30-year teaching career, Carol Round found redirection as a Christian columnist, author and inspirational speaker. She is the author of nine books, all available at Amazon.com. (See her website at www.carolaround.com for more information.) When she isn’t writing, she can be found spending time with her seven grandchildren, working in her yard, volunteering, shooting photos, hiking, going on mission trips and playing with her spoiled rotten dog, Harley.