"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God."
You know, there is this John Donne poem that this reminds me of... it starts out talking to God, and it asks him to "Batter my heart" and through the entire sonnet is basically telling God... please, I can't let you into my life, please break your way in. And you know, when I memorized it for a class I thought about how God would never do that... that forcing people to do what you wanted them to do was Satan's plan, not God's. I thought that all the way up until 5 minutes ago. :) And, you know... I'm not even necessarily saying that I was wrong (that would be unthinkable)... just that I see nuances there that I never did before. this scripture talks about God taking away our stony hearts, and giving us a new spirit, and a new heart... the heart almost seems like one that is shared among a group of people... Zion anyone?... since they are "of one heart and one mind..." Now, don't go all Science Fiction on me and assume that God is making us into little robot people; that isn't the case at all. But, I feel like I have an incredibly stony heart sometimes... don't you? And, I *know* that I need some of that refiners fire... King Lamoni's father talked about rooting "this wicked spirit" out of his breast, and that is what this scripture is saying, right? and... what John Donne's poem is saying too in a lot of ways. God *will* change us, not against our will... but according to our faith. And, if we ask him to do it, then he can change our hearts from stone to flesh... not creating robots, but turning us, like Pinocchio, into "real" men and women. God will help us to be good, show us how... change anything that prevents us from going there. We don't have to be perfect for him to listen to us... we just have to WANT to be. We have to ask for it... and he can correct all of our stoniness, take all of the blackness from our souls... not forcing us to be good, but making it possible. Lamoni's father was willing to forsake his kingdom, and give away all his sins... and God changed his heart. That can happen to each of us as well... if we see the value of it, and are willing to make the same sacrifices. So, today... if you have a stony heart or a wicked spirit... as I definitely do... ask God to help you with it. He will.