"A new heart also will I give unto you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them."
This reminds me of a John Donne sonnet, which starts out "batter my heart" ... and is basically asking God to force him to be good... but, as there is usually a difference between scripture and poetry... this is probably saying something different, even though the desire is similar... perhaps identical. There are bunches of scriptures that talk about different ways of being born again... through baptism, primarily... but also many that talk about people having their hearts changed, or King Lamoni's father... wanting "this wicked spirit rooted out" of his breast... so, what is the difference between these scriptures, John Donne poetry, and Satan's plan... which was to force everyone to do the right things?
And, not that I am pretending to know the answer, but since I brought it up... I think that one of the differences is our desire and commitment level. after these verses above, God goes on to say "I will also save you from all your uncleannesses" etc... first, the fact that we *do* make mistakes, and have a chance to learn from them... and then the fact that God doesn't change us until we have both the desire and the motivation to action to bring about the change... not that we can bring it about ourselves, but there are things that we can do to show our commitment to God, and our need for him in our lives. Satan's plan never offered the freedom, and there would have been no learning opportunities. John Donne's poem expresses a sincere desire, but no commitment to action... and this scripture, even though it doesn't have the entire chapter of context around it... it still talks of things that the Lord really will do for us. Not forcing, but changing our hearts, giving his spirit, and influencing our actions.
Anyway, that was a big issue to bring up... the real reason why I chose this scripture is because sometimes I feel like John Donne... and I wish that God would come and change my heart... and my mind... and my soul, and root this wicked spirit out of *my* breast... take the stone that is there and give me "an heart of flesh" ... and make me obedient and good and better than I am. But, I guess since we just talked about the difference between wanting it and doing something about it... I’d better stop typing and start doing, eh?