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For the One Who Feels Hopeless

Even When My Heart Feels Cold, I’m a New Creation

by Vera Schmitz

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." — Ezekiel 36:26

I first trusted Jesus years ago, as a small child. And when I did, he saved me. He saved me in a big, once-and-for-always kind of way, rescuing me from sin and darkness and worry and fear. On that day, he gave me a new heart and a new spirit. I often remember that day, and I celebrate with such thanksgiving that miraculous moment when God saved me. 

But life is hard, and circumstances come swinging, reminding me that this world is still marred by sin, and can feel cold and threatening. And sometimes it feels like the only thing I can do when relationships disappoint, diagnoses kick loved ones in the face, and hard times linger longer than feels bearable is to harden my heart to stone in an attempt to protect it. 

But the truth is, the miracle of Jesus saving me never stopped for me, and if you’ve trusted in Christ, it hasn’t stopped for you either. God turning what was once dead to life—removing my heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh and his own Spirit—is an unchanging reality. The truth is that even when my heart feels cold and hard, I am a new creation in Christ and don’t need to live in the despair that exists without the hope of Jesus. In the middle of the mess, when I’m tempted to live like I’ve forgotten what he’s done, he is still working out miracles. He never stops saving us. He never stops offering everything we could ever need. 

So for the one who feels hopeless, whose heart feels like stone, and who finds themselves believing that God does not care, I want to remind you of the truth you once believed: Jesus saves. He rescues in a big, once-and-for-always way—and he is still coming for you, every day. 

Below is an excerpt from the new book my sister Natalie and I wrote, Dwell Differently, where I write about the gift of God’s salvation, focusing on Ephesians 2:8: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” I pray it encourages you to remember all that Jesus has given you, all that is true of you—right this very minute—if you’ve believed in him. I love you, and I am praying that the transformative power of Jesus would feel as real as it is in your life today.

Accepted and Blessed
When we accept Jesus, and therefore are accepted by God, we have a whole host of blessings available to us that go way beyond our immediate rescue and status as people who are reconciled to God. Yes, we have been saved from our sin, which is the ultimate gift of God, but he doesn’t stop there. Let’s look at the verses immediately surrounding our verse in Ephesians 2 to find out what else God gives us in Christ:

We are made alive in Christ (v. 5)
We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (v. 6)
We are brought near to God (v. 13)
We are granted peace (v. 17)
We are given access to the Father (v. 18)
We become members of God’s household (v. 19)
We are citizens of heaven (v. 19)
We are standing on the shoulders of past believers (v. 20)
Christ is our cornerstone (v. 20)
We are a holy temple (v. 21)
God lives in us (v. 22)

That’s a lot! How do I even begin? I could write a whole book just on these things God gives us when we’re accepted by him, but two of them truly make my mind explode. First, when we are accepted, we are raised up with Jesus and seated in the heavenly realms with him. Can we just imagine for one second the true, miraculous, mysterious reality that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms like right now?! I want you to just take a minute and close your eyes and visualize this: You. Seated with Jesus. In heaven. When I stop and consider myself seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, it’s a total perspective shift. I’m able to zoom way, way, way out from my everyday life and all the details of my circumstances and all my negative thoughts and feelings. I’m able instead to remember the greater spiritual reality that is happening all around me. If Christ is seated in the heavenly realms above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every title that can be given (Ephesians 1:21), and I am seated there with him (Ephesians 2:6), and I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:3), then I can also be victorious alongside Jesus because I have all I need in him. Again, he is the center of the story, carrying it all, and I am not. My tiny, zoomed-in world seems a whole lot different when I’m living in light of the zoomed-out spiritual reality. When I am accepted, I am also victorious with Christ, because of Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes in Jesus.

Second, not only is there this supernatural, outside-of-us, above-us, otherworldly thing going on because we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, but when we are accepted by God, we become a place where God lives, a holy temple, a home for God himself, right here in our very physical, right-now bodies. I wish I could put a mind-blown emoji right here . . . Did you hear that?! God, the same God who created everything out of nothing, the one who is all knowing, all powerful, and all loving, lives in you when you are accepted by him. This is no small thing to pass over. Those spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms? They are unreal! And God in us? What a holy privilege, what a fall on your face, weep, and tremble kind of moment. God has made us a home for himself. Who or what could ever be against us (Romans 8:31)?

When we’re accepted, we are victorious, and God lives in us, giving us everything we could ever need.

*Excerpt taken from Chapter 5 of Dwell Differently: Overcome Negative Thinking with the Simple Practice of Memorizing God’s Truth by Natalie Abbott and Vera Schmitz

Vera Schmitz

Vera Schmitz is the co-founder and chief creative officer of Dwell Differently. She lives in Missouri with her husband and 3 sons.

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