Can you name one thing you want right now?
God loves to make promises. And God loves to keep his promises. Why? Because he loves us very much and he wants to have a relationship with us. And a relationship happens when two people love each other and make promises to each other. This is called a covenant. Like when a man and a woman get married, they make a covenant (promises) to love and care for each other.
In the Old Testament God made covenants with his people. Some of these covenants were kept by God alone. God promised to love and care for his people no matter what – even if his people failed and sinned and didn’t love God back. But one of God’s covenants with his people, the “Old Covenant” required God’s people, Israel, to love him and obey him and serve him. If they did love and obey and serve God, they would be blessed. But it they didn’t do these things, they would be “cursed” or punished by God.
Do you think Israel obeyed the Old Covenant?
You’re right, they didn’t. And that is why God allowed Israel to be taken into exile by the wicked Babylonians.
But here’s the real problem – we can never love and obey and serve God perfectly can we? Not Israel and not us. Not you and not me. We all sin all the time. And God knows this. And so God decided to make a New Covenant with Israel and with us. But this time it would be very different. Listen to how the prophet Jeremiah describes the New Covenant:
Jeremiah 31:31-33. 31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the [old] covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
You see, God hasn’t given up on having a relationship with us – “I will be their God and they shall be my people.”
But God knows something needs to change or else we will just keep sinning and breaking his laws over and over and over again. Just like you tend to sin and disobey mom and dad over and over (am I right?).
So what changes in the New Covenant? Did you hear it?
That’s right, it’s our hearts. God says he will “write his law on our hearts.”
What in the world does this mean? It means that God will change our desires, he will change our wants. He will make it so that we want to love him, and obey him, and serve him. But how?
That’s where Jesus comes in. Literally. Jesus comes into our hearts when we put our trust in him and receive his eternal life and love. Jesus takes over our desires and our wants. Jesus makes it so that we want to love God. How? By loving us first at the cross. At the cross Jesus loved us enough to die for us and to forgive us and care for us no matter what. And that love will melt your heart if you’ll let it.
Because of Jesus we can have a changed heart.
With Jesus we can love God and others because he first loved us.
DO SOEMTHING TOGETHER
Learn this verse together – 1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.
And then watch the heart melting scene from Frozen again (one of my personal favorites). Talk about how Elsa was tired of being controlled by the law (Let It Go) but when she knew she was loved unconditionally by her sister she was able to love in return.
You loved me first so that I can love you and others too. Please continue to change my heart and make it more like yours each day.
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