Fall Devotional. Week 2: Turning Your Heart Back Towards God

September 16, 2013

It can happen slowly. Without intention. A drifting. Until one day we realize we’re at a crossroads, not sure how we got there. Or maybe there’s a temptation. We know we shouldn’t give in, but we just can’t help it. Maybe we’re caught in old patterns of behavior that are hard to change.
Photo by Neal Sanche on Flickr

Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, there is a way back to God.

For this week’s devotional, we’re highlighting Christa, who shared her story in chapter four of The Ruth Experience about how she walked through a season of desiring something that wasn’t God’s best for her life and how she turned things around. Here’s part of her story:

“Once I became right with Jason [her husband] and took the action to say ‘okay, this is going to stop,’ then I was able to cry out to God, because I knew I could wholeheartedly,” she said. “Numerous times throughout the day I would say, ‘Put a desire in my heart for my husband. Put a desire in my heart for him. Change my heart.’ All the time I would say it.”

Within a couple of months, Christa felt changed, and her prayers changed, too. Instead of simply calling out to God, she began thanking him, praising him. She posted Psalm 26:3 (NIV 1984)—“For your love is ever before me and I walk continually in your truth”—on her bathroom mirror as a daily reminder to actively live out her faith.

“If I focused on his love, the love he had for me and me for him, I knew the other things would fall into place,” she said.

Their relationship now is amazing, she said, marveling at how God turned a situation that was meant for their destruction into something that made them a better, stronger couple.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle,” she said. “Yeah, we have our struggles, but we know what to do now…so that it never goes that direction again because we know that this where God wants us to be; this is what he intended.”

Now, Christa said, her love for her husband mirrors her love for the Lord.

“I’m a totally different person. I’m a new woman; I’m a new creation in Christ. I’m completely changed,” she said. “It drew me to God, and at the same time, it drew me to my husband. Which I think is how God intended it to be.” (The Ruth Experience, pg. 68)
 We went back to Christa and asked her specifically:

What steps can you take to turn your heart back towards God?

1. Make a decision - no turning back: First I had to make a firm decision to stop the behavior that was causing the disconnect between me and God. I had to wholeheartedly hand my life over to Christ and give him full control! I wanted to be in his will and follow his plan for my life (Jer. 29:11)

2. Find your true identity: Who does Christ say I am? If I was going to get past the shame and regret, I had to have a firm belief in who I was in Christ. Proclaiming these verses over my life came as such a comfort (Psalm 139:1-4, Psalm 139:13-16, Col. 2:13-14). I also found this identity proclamation to be a very helpful reminder: "I am a daughter of the most high God, I am loved, redeemed and renewed. I am chosen, blameless and holy. I was bought at a great price. God knows me thoroughly and yet loves me completely. He has plans for my future that include hope, not harm, blessings, not banishment. I belong to him."

3. Claim Christ as your rock, refuge and redeemer: I found comfort and reassurance in knowing he was all these things and more to me, his love for me was and is never ending. He could take what the enemy meant to destroy and turn it around and completely redeem and make new! I was so amazed by this (Psalm 18:2).

4. Seek Godly relationships: I had to intentionally place myself around people who were followers of Christ, who would accept me as I was and encourage me in my walk with the Lord. This was challenging at first because I was so ashamed and was so worried about what they would think of me. I quickly learned that they had unconditional love for me just like Christ! (Proverbs 12:26)

5. Choose praise, prayer and thanksgiving: I chose to praise him no matter what my circumstances were. He had pulled me out of such a dark place and I had so much to praise and thank him for. Through prayer, Christ began to change my thought process and eventually my life! (Psalm 34:1, 1 Thess. 5:18)

As my relationship with Jesus grew, it struck me that he treated me with the dignity and honor my soul longed for. As I continued to pray for myself and allow him to lead me, his exquisite love covered my shameful past and made me feel cherished, unashamed, and free! Today I can truly say I am a new creation in Christ, living to serve and follow him everyday.

Your Turn:

1. Have you noticed that your relationship with God isn't as close as it used to be? Do you find yourself wanting to be closer to him? What is hindering you?

2. Once you've named what is the cause of why you don't feel as close to God as you'd like, what step listed above seems most practical for you to take to begin to move back towards God? (Use the scriptures Christa listed to help you know what God has for you.)

3. Do you have people around you who can hold you accountable? Who are they? How can you ask them to help hold you accountable?

4. Be encouraged today! Realizing  you're not where you want to be is the first step! What can you thank God for today?

For week one in our fall devotional series on the topic of trust, click here.

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