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New MusicEd Sloan

By Ed Sloan

October 2013

 

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

 

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says that God created all of our desires: hunger, thirst, comfort, companionship, reproduction, and so on. By themselves, our desires are neutral; they are like the keys on a piano. When played alone, no key on a piano is right or wrong. What determines a key's correctness is when it is played in sequence or companionship with other keys. Struck at the wrong time, the sound is cacophonous, but when played next to a correct key, the sound brings great joy. The Laws of Music and written sheet music are the directions to make beautiful and joyous sound. If followed, the musician will play the right keys at the right time to produce the "right" music.

 

The Bible and its commandments are the "sheet music" to guide the symphony of our desires. It tells us the right key to play at the right time. If the Bible is the music then our hearts are the conductor, guiding the playing of our desires (like keys on a piano) to make a joyous and honoring sound before the Lord. However, the sinful heart we are born with is a disobedient and rebellious conductor. It resists playing the correct note at the right time according to the Word of God and the Laws God has established. For the concert of our lives to be salvaged (redeemed), there must be a new conductor, a new heart.

 

God desires to replace the old conductor. This is the necessity of being "born again." We are re-born with a new heart (a new conductor), one that is made of flesh, not stone, tender. Our new heart is guided by the Holy Spirit, and thus it has the ability to respond in subjection and obedience to the commands of the Lord.

 

Does the new heart submit all the time? No. Unfortunately, the old conductor battles for his place at the podium. But when under submission to the Holy Spirit, those listening to the music of our lives will hear a new sound.

 

This is the point of God’s declaration to Israel in Ezekiel 36:26. For too long they had worshipped idols made of stone and their hearts had become like those idols – hard, unmoving, unfeeling and resistant to God’s commands. If Israel was to be the people God intended them to be, if this people were to ever sing a song that brought glory and honor to God’s name, their heart had to be replaced. It’s exactly the same for us.

 

For us to become the Christian disciples God intends us to be, we need heart transplants. Our hearts that were slaves to sin and worshippers of everything but the Living God must be replaced.

 

There is abundant evidence that God is faithful to keep His promise and give us new hearts. Look at the life of someone that has moved from darkness to the glorious light of the Gospel. Look at the lives of saints, young and old, who are faithfully, sacrificially and effective demonstrating God’s grace to others. Look at movements and ministries like Friends4One. God continues to give new hearts to those who respond to His call.

 

As you walk with the Lord, I encourage you to consider your heart today. What song is it conducting? Do those around you hear a new song? Do they hear a melody so joyful that they wonder about the Source? Do they see in you desires yielded to God, like keys being played according to the will of the great Conductor?

 

Do two hard things today. Ask someone to tell you what "music" they hear your life playing. And secondly, honestly consider the burning desires of your life. How do they match the desires of God?.

 

Lord Jesus, give us new hearts and a new song.

 

Ed Sloan serves as the headmaster of Thomasville Christian School. He is an ordained pastor who has served churches in the United Methodist, Baptist and independent church traditions. He has also served for more than a dozen years in Christian education as a teacher, chaplain and administrator. Ed currently lives in Thomasville, GA with his wife and three children. 

 

A Word From James 

I think all of us can relate to heart problems, both personally and globally. Indeed, the problems of the world – like war, famine, and human trafficking – are all heart issues. These evils will be defeated not by bombs, programs or even education. Lives and cultures change when there are enough “new hearts” to become a critical mass in an area. Is there a way FollowOne can help you, your children and your church sing a new song with more boldness, taking new steps in response to God’s call to serve lost and hurting people?

 

Cruciform Music — This Month's Featured Song

This month’s featured song is Here I am, Send Me by Matt Papa Watch and listen here.

 

 

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