In ministering heart transformation, we need to help people understand how they are opposing God’s desire for them to have the heart of Christ and lead them to comply. This method of heart transformation has been successful in churches and ministries, including a maximum security prison, women’s and men’s prisoner reentry programs, and discipleship and drug addiction programs.
In the mission where I worked, we found that the more we focused on heart transformation in the addiction program, the more the men began to experience lasting breakthroughs. One man who had not slept through the night for 10 tormenting years began to sleep soundly every night. Another man, intensely frustrated because he could not comprehend scripture, became able to quote passages and discuss them with understanding after addressing his heart issues. Overall, those that genuinely pursued a transformed heart faired better than those who didn’t. And even though these profoundly addicted men continued to struggle, the occurrence, depth and duration of their failures were notably less self- destructive as they worked on transforming their hearts.
Of course the call to have a transformed heart is for all who reside in the Kingdom of God. It is not just for Christian addicts. Romans 8 uses words like “obligation”, “debt” and “requirement” to describe the importance God places on His desire to mold all of His Children to reflect His son’s image outwardly and inwardly (the heart). The “call” is really not an option for those who share God’s desire for them to have a life of peace, joy and wellbeing. Our ultimate hope and blessing is described in II Peter 1:4: “becoming sharers of the divine nature.” Can you think of any aspect of a person’s life that would not be improved by progressively sharing in the nature of Christ?
For our heart to more reflect the heart of Christ it must reflect less of the characteristics of the world. It must be less dominated by the flesh. The person we are today must make way for the heart of Christ. Withholding forgiveness is an example of a flesh urging encouraged by the world. To forgive like Christ forgave, requires dying to that urge and allowing the Light of Christ to invade that part of your heart. The Holy Spirit who leads us in this process of transformation is planning a funeral for the person we are today. He knows that for us to truly be free we must first obey, and to truly live we must first die.