You have a heart, it cannot function under its own power, so you must have a surgeon work on it. Depending on who you choose for this weighty undertaking, you will find that your heart has been fashioned after the heart of your operator. Of course you will want to choose wisely. Therefore, may I make a few helpful pieces of information to help you decide?
First of all, You have only two options here:
One is God–the Maker of all things, the Beginning and the End, the great “I Am What I Am”, the great Physician, etc–
and the other is His enemy, Satan (or Lucifer, the Devil, the Father of Lies, the antichrist, the beast,etc).
Beyond their names and various titles I can offer you a brief sketch of their characters and histories and methods of infiltrating the human heart…
I’ll start with God. As far as God’s character goes, He pretty much steals the show on morality, but He does it with a finesse that suggests He’s been doing all of this since before there was even a concept among us of such a contest.
As for history, again, God totally created the parameters and definitions that even enable us to have such a thing. In case you’re not aware of this, the word history actually means His Story–as in the sovereign-ly executed treatise on divine glory in which we all play a part in unfurling throughout time.
Moving on to methods now, keep in mind that God wants you to be clear on this point (just as He does in all the others): God accomplishes heart change by working with and in us using two primary means–His Spirit and His Word (the Bible). Now, if you are like most people, these terms of methodology are a bit foreign to you (actually, they are to all of us) and they may make you a bit uncomfortable at first. Do not be discouraged. God will not do anything to coerce or manipulate you; in all things He absolutely respects your free will–after all, He’s the one that decided you should have it!
Always, with each bit of territory that for you is new and untested, God will invite you to come along with Him and test it. He will not tamper with your results, though He may enlighten you regarding the import of the results you find (as desired). God’s ultimate goal for your heart is that it might know Him and return the love He keeps pouring over and then (when we’re willing to receive it) in to us.
In case the above is not convincing enough or you are the kind of person who likes to get the full story before they make a decision or judgment, let’s spend some time talking about the other surgeon on our list.
Satan has a character all his own. The only way to define it is to contrast it with that of God–for Satan was created by God to be subservient to Him, but chose to rebel against Him and alter the imprint of God’s design upon Him. He chose to turn against God and war for glory and a position that would make him equal to, if not capable of override, God. Satan’s glory is in his corruption of the glory given to him by God–he seeks out evil in all his ways, thoughts and ambitions; in this he finds his one joy.
Regarding his history, Satan would like you to be in the dark. He would like you to think that he has always been and will always be and complete power belongs to him. He does not have to be greater or more powerful than God in actuality, so long as he can make you believe that he is. He is constantly trying to get God out of the picture so that you will not perceive the larger story unfolding beyond you and him.
I have hinted at his methodology frequently in my descriptions of his character and history, but just to be clear, let me go a little deeper here. Satan is a deceiver–the Bible tells us that he is the Deceiver. Everyone who knows or practices the art of deception has him as their teacher. Satan does not work on your heart for nothing, and he does not work on it for your sake–he has a larger scheme. He targets you and exposes you and intimidates you and works out ever form of destruction upon you (yes, all this centers around your heart) so that he can grieve God as much as he possibly can. He knows–likely much better than you do–that God loves you and what that really means. He wants to destroy the investment God has put into mankind by coaxing you to reject Him in sinning against Him without remorse or repentance.
Satan is not more of anything than God except evil–He is totally evil and will one day be defeated and God is totally good and will one day pronounce His victory. At the same time, God is not afraid of Satan, or without the ability to keep him in check. God knows all of Satan’s schemes and how he targets us to unleash them. God promises to guard our hearts against the evil he constantly has prepared to work against us, but He lays the invitation at our doorstep and waits for our reply. He will not join Satan in his tactics of manipulation; in truth, He does not need to.
You are precious to God, but He will not go against His decree that you would be like Him in having the freedom of choice. He wants your love–the overflow of your heart–not your fear-driven service. He is waiting…have you decided yet?