Author: Ron Graham
When you turn your heart against God, it tends to become set and stubborn.
Don't allow your "stubborn will" to become unyielding. Rather, turn to your Heavenly Father through his Son Jesus, and receive his Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of your sins (Luke 11:13. Acts 2:38).
Having made that plea to you, I would now like to tell you, simply and briefly, how you can yield your heart to God.
Jesus doesn't force himself on anyone. If you want Jesus to change your heart, you have to be willing for him to do it, and you have to invite him to do it. It's your choice whether you invite him, but not how you do so. Jesus dictates the steps to take, and you must take them, not invent your own way of inviting him.
Some preachers will say, "Just invite Jesus into your heart right now" as if there is no more to it than a "believer's prayer". By all means pray. But make your prayer this: "Lord let in me Thy will be done". Then go ahead and do his will. Do what he says is necessary for the salvation of your soul.
It is evident, of course, that one cannot merely ask for salvation, for that very act implies a prior belief in Jesus which is essential to salvation (John 3:16). Belief, however, must evoke more than just an idle prayer for salvation. It must evoke commitment and compliance in doing what God wills.
Many folk get hung up on the question of "salvation by works" and claim that the alternative is "salvation by faith alone". James however says, "A person is justified by works, not by faith alone" (James 2:24). We cannot be saved by works without faith, for those works would be "dead". Just as truly, we cannot be saved by faith without works, for that faith would be "dead" (James 2:17,26).
Peter preached the gospel, on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. Many who heard him were "cut to the heart". But they saw that they needed to do more. This conviction, this faith, was good, but not good enough. They asked Peter and his companions, "What must we do?" Peter's first word in reply was, "Repent" (Acts 2:37-39).
Repentance means a change of heart concerning the sin in one's life. It isn't enough to believe. You must also repent. James pointed this out when he said that demons believe (James 2:19). The Legion of demons called Jesus "The Son of the Most High God" (Mark 5:7-9). But demons don't obey Christ. They don't repent of sin.
Both faith and repentance require action, and those actions that follow faith and repentance are the subject of our next lesson.
At last I yield my stubborn will
To Jesus Christ who loves me still,
Though from his Way I strayed and lost
Eternal life at frightful cost.
I change my heart and now repent,
No longer on the hell path bent.
For now by faith I'm given wings,
To soar on high, and my heart sings.