Last week I shared an excerpt from Paul Tripp’s book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change. I trust you have had a chance to reflect on what I shared with you. Today, I want to share with you three principles that Paul Tripp brings from this passage. But first, let’s read the passage again.
Matthew 23:25–26: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.”
Christ’s illustration establishes three principles that guide our efforts to serve as God’s instruments of change in the lives of others.
1. There is an undeniable root and fruit connection between our heart and our behavior. People and situations do not determine our behavior; they provide the occasion where our behavior reveals our hearts.
2. Lasting change always takes place through the pathway of the heart. Fruit change is the result of root change. Similarly, in Matthew 23, Christ says, “Clean the inside of the cup and dish and the outside will become clean.” Any agenda for change must focus on the thoughts and desires of the heart.
3. Therefore, the heart is our target in personal growth and ministry. Our prayer is that God will work heart change in us and use us to produce heart change in others that results in new words, choices, and actions.
We know that the Apostle Paul encourages believers to ‘take off their old clothes’ and ‘put on their new clothes’. This would be something that we do with the help of the Holy Spirit. Those old clothes are things of the world – character and identity. New clothes are things of the kingdom of God – character and identity. This is part of the process of ‘heart change’, sanctification.
Paul Tripp says, “our prayer is that God will work heart change in us and use us to produce heart change in others that results in new words, choices, and actions.”
Praying for change is confessing that something isn’t right in our heart. In our ‘talking to ourselves’ and to others, are we pointing them to the need for heart change? Are we pointing them to the Savior who is the only one who can bring real change?
I encourage you to desire real change – heart change. I encourage you to call out to Jesus. He’s the only one that can make it happen.
Walking with you,