Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:1~5)
How Does Change Come About?
The Bible speaks about change. Simon Peter changed upon meeting Jesus at the Sea of Galilee. People would no longer see Peter at the seaside after that day. Matthew, the publican, was no longer at the tax office, and the man with an infirmity for 38 years was no longer at the poolside of Bethesda after having met Jesus. Change came upon those who met Jesus. But how does change come about in our lives? This is what the Bible speaks to us about.
People think that they must know much about the Bible to live their spiritual life well. But in reality, that is not the case. Our doing well is not spiritual life. Because we cannot do it ourselves, God doing it for us is spiritual life.
How is spiritual life accomplished? Spiritual life begins where our hearts are different from the heart of God. For example, when Jesus was turning water into wine in John chapter 2, He said, “Fill the water pots with water.” When the servants there filled the water pots to the brim, He said, “Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.” Jesus was saying it was wine. But it was water, not wine, in the eyes of the servants.
“Go serve the wine.”
“Jesus, this is water.”
We can see that there is a difference in thought between Jesus and the servants.
The biggest problem in our lives is the difference in thought between us and God. Because our thoughts are different from God’s, our purpose and lives differ. That is why thoughts that differ from God’s must be moved back to God’s side. But people do not do this, but try to do good deeds within the state of having thoughts different from God’s.
Jesus once said to a paralytic, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” Right then the scribes said, “Blasphemy! Who can forgive sin but God only?” Jesus’ thoughts and those of the scribes were different. That is why spiritual life is discovering the heart of God within the Word and uniting my heart with the heart of God. Then change arises, and the power of God appears. It was clearly water in the thoughts of the servants at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. But if they changed their hearts to the heart of Jesus and believed it was wine, when Jesus told them to serve it, there would be no problem for them to serve the water. This is when the works of God begin to arise.
The Heart Connected with the Devil Should Be Changed . . .
When we read the Bible closely, we see that all problems begin from our hearts being different from the heart of God. God said that He would punish the world with water at the time of Noah, but the people at the time thought, “What punishment? It’s probably not going to happen,” in their hearts. That is why they did not prepare the ark. It was not that people were committing murder, adultery, and theft that God destroyed the people at the time of Noah’s flood. God wanted to destroy those who had a different heart from His heart. God only destroys the heart that is different from God’s, and nothing else.
Therefore, we must unite with the heart of God. We need to receive the heart of God for us to unite with the heart of God, but Satan deceives us to keep us from doing so. He makes us zealously try to keep the law, pray, and be loyal to God. Satan deceives us into thinking that doing so will bless us and he leads people in this direction.
The start of this is shown in Genesis chapter 3. After making the garden of Eden and having Adam and Eve live there, God said to Adam, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Such was the heart of God. But Eve listened to the serpent’s words which were different from the heart of God. The serpent said, “Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened; and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Adam and Eve abandoned the word of God and followed the serpent’s words. They thought this would be profitable.
Had Adam and Eve said, “What the serpent says is a lie. God said that we would surely die, so we will. We should not do this!” and inclined their hearts to the side of God, their hearts would have been in communication with God, and the heart of God would have been continually supplied to them. But Adam and Eve listened to the serpent, ate from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, and their hearts became connected with Satan. From then on, Satan’s heart was continually supplied to them. Shame at being naked came upon them, fear came upon them, and they tried to hide and cover their sin. Such things are continually arising in man even after Adam and Eve.
God shows us in Genesis chapter 3 that Adam and Eve leaving God was the problem. From then on Satan has continually stirred up wicked hearts inside of us. This is the reason why lustful hearts constantly arise in us, along with wicked, deceitful hearts as well as fear. People today do not try to change their hearts that are connected to Satan, but they only labor and toil not to sin and try to live as good people. They are deceived by the thought, “I only need to keep the Ten Commandments. I need only not to skip church service and be good.” But there are not many people who have truly done this, and they know that living this way is impossible and they eventually give up. But many people assume that they can do it this time around, and being led by that heart, they labor not to commit sin.
The Life of Receiving the Heart of God
What would have happened if Adam and Eve had refused the word of Satan and received the word of God? They would have become one with God, and the heart of God would have continually been inside of them, and they would have lived lives overflowing with peace and joy.
There is a pastor named Sung Hoon Kim. Pastor Kim lived inside of sin, but received the heart of Jesus and received the forgiveness of his sins. He walks with Jesus, and the heart of Jesus flows in him time and time again. This happened when Pastor Kim’s son, Joo-an, was born. His son had a fever in the brain and was dying. The child was hospitalized and there was an announcement on the PA system calling for Pastor Kim. “Joo-an Kim’s guardian, come to the registrar…” At that moment, Pastor Kim thought this in his heart, “Joo-an Kim’s guardian? I am not my son’s guardian. My son is dying right now of a brain fever and how could I, who can’t do anything, be his guardian? The hospital calls me a guardian, but I am not my son’s guardian.”
On the spot, he prayed to God. “God, my son is dying and I do not have the ability to protect my son. Now I am no longer my son’s guardian. There is nothing I can do, even if my son dies. God, you be my son’s guardian!”
Afterwards, Pastor Kim left his son in the hands of God and visited people, preaching the gospel every day. A few days later, the pressure from his brain caused his son’s eyes to bulge, and the hospital was looking for the guardian because they wanted to remove the eyes for a check up. Even though this child was facing death, the guardian was nowhere to be found because he was out witnessing. Because the hospital could not contact the guardian, no matter how hard they looked for him, they called me and I went to the hospital together with the pastor a few days later. They told him to sign an agreement that said it would be okay to perform the surgery to remove the child’s eyes. It broke Pastor Kim’s heart that his son’s eyes were being removed, but he had no choice, so he signed the agreement.
The next morning, the doctor in charge said that all the preparations for the operation were complete, but it was postponed because the bulging of the child’s eyes had decreased a little bit. The bulging decreased even more the next day, and more the day after. And four days later, his eyes were back to normal. Then the child was completely healed within a few days.
The heart of God which was not of his own thoughts would suddenly enter Pastor Kim’s heart because his heart was connected with God’s. From the day he thought, “I have absolutely no power to protect my son. I should not hold on to this, but I should leave this to God!” God began to work.
Forsake, and Return
When we receive the forgiveness of sin and have the same heart as Jesus, a channel that flows from the heart of Jesus is formed. On the other hand, Adam and Eve’s hearts were connected with Satan’s and became one with it when they ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. From then on, Satan placed various dark and wicked thoughts inside of man. This is why dark thoughts and wickedness continually spring up in man. It is truly impossible to “do good” and “live according to God’s word” in such a state.
That is why the Bible says, Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord. (Is. 55:6~7) It means that your thoughts are from Satan and thus, should be thrown away, and you should return to the Lord. It means return to the heart of God. But people put aside returning to the heart of God, but are trying hard to pray, witness, and serve God. While we are laboring, God cannot do any work inside of us.
God gave man the law through Moses. But it says in Romans that no flesh shall be justified in His sight through the law. God gave the law to man for man to realize how wicked, filthy, and sinful he is. If one thinks even a little, while trying to keep the law, he will realize this. If one tries zealously to keep the law, he comes to the conclusion, “I cannot keep the law whatsoever!” Once he realizes this and says, “Then what shall I do?” God bestows upon him His grace and mercy.
The important thing is that Adam and Eve inclined their hearts to Satan, which should have been united with God. This is the problem. Adam and Eve eating from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil itself is not much of a problem. The heart we inherited from Adam and Eve is the evil heart led by Satan. That is why this heart must be forsaken. Your heart and your thoughts must be thrown away. You must realize that all the things that arise inside of you are evil. They are evil even if they appear to be good. A con-man saying good things is saying them to con people, and thieves make people feel safe so they can steal from them. This is how it is with our works that appear to be good. We must become freed from this evilness. We must turn from this evilness, and we must receive God into our heart.
The Way Back
Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding at Cana of Galilee in John chapter 2. He told the servants there to fill the water pots with water. When the servants had filled them to the brim, He said, “Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.” This part is very important. It was clearly water in the eyes of the servants. Surely it was water when judged by their experience and knowledge. They thought, “I poured this water myself. Surely it is water!” but Jesus was saying that it was wine. Throwing your thoughts away and receiving the word of the Lord at this point is returning to the Lord. Just as Adam and Eve threw the word of God away and selected the serpent’s words, on the other hand, one must receive the word of God to become freed from this.
After Adam and Eve received Satan’s words, mankind belonged to Satan and could only live sinfully because Satan continually put filthy and lustful hearts inside of man. It is not that we should try and labor not to sin within this state, but we must turn around. You must say, “I am evil! I have been contaminated by Satan!” and turn around.
If someone was infected with hepatitis, hepatitis is found throughout his blood. And if someone is infected with syphilis, the syphilis germs are in his blood. A person infected with malaria has malaria germs in his blood. We, who are infected with sin, have sin everywhere in our heart. All of our very own thoughts, though we may not be able to distinguish, are evil and dirty. That is why you must deny yourself. Say, “It looks like water to me, but it is wine if Jesus says that it is;” distrust yourself; and believe in Jesus’ words. Adam and Eve distrusted God’s words and believed in the serpent’s words. Now you should do the opposite; distrust your thoughts and believe the word of God.
You Must Decide Now
There are many stories about change in the Bible. Beginning with the story of Jesus changing water into wine, all the stories of change have the process of denying your own thoughts and believing the word of God. Jesus once met a man with an infirmity for 38 years at the pool of Bethesda.
“Wilt thou be made whole?” Jesus asked.
“Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool so someone else goes in before me,” replied the man.
“Rise, take up thy bed and walk,” Jesus answered.
Jesus told the man with an infirmity for 38 years to rise, take up his bed, and walk. In the eyes of the man with an infirmity for 38 years, he has been long diseased and his legs are so withered that he cannot walk at all. But Jesus told him to rise and walk. Now, he has to decide whether he should believe in his own thoughts, or believe the words of Jesus! Everything is decided by this. If the invalid believes in his own thoughts and says, “Jesus, not me. How can I walk?” and lays there, he will remain an invalid and die. Although it appeared impossible to the eyes of the man with an infirmity for 38 years that he could walk, he denied his thoughts and judgment and walked, saying, “In my eyes I cannot walk, but I will walk because Jesus has told me to.” Then the works of God arose. This is how true change happens in our lives.
Our ancestors, Adam and Eve, long ago forsook the word of God and chose the words of Satan. Now we must forsake our thoughts, which are infected by Satan, and believe the word of God. Though it may appear to be water in your eyes, it is wine if Jesus says that it is wine. It seems that you cannot walk in your own eyes, but you can walk if Jesus says to walk.
When Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, be at peace. Thy sins be forgiven thee,” upon hearing this, many people thought to themselves, “How could that man forgive sins?” We, too, have many thoughts arising in us when we hear that Jesus forgave our sins.
“How could I receive forgiveness of sins? I have so many sins. I still commit this and that kind of sin. How could all those sins be forgiven? Not me. I am a dark person. I still drink and do drugs.”
Man refuses the words of Jesus through various thoughts. But right then, we must throw away our thoughts and receive the words of Jesus.
“Lord, what did you say? Did you just say to the paralytic, ‘Son, thy sins be forgiven thee?’ If you are saying this to the paralytic, then you are saying it to me. Are you saying that my sins are forgiven? Then, regardless of my own thoughts, I will believe those words. Lord, I am a man with many sins in my own eyes. I am an evil person, but now I will put my thoughts away. It is water in the eyes of the servants, but they believed that it was wine upon hearing the Lord’s words. The man with an infirmity for 38 years could not walk, but he heard the words of the Lord and walked. I too, Lord, believe in you! I appear to be dirty and filthy in my own eyes, but I believe that my sins are forgiven. Now my sins are forgiven!”
Such faith is true faith. Following the Lord when things fit your thoughts, and not following Him when things do not is not true faith. No matter what your thoughts are, throwing your thoughts away and believing the Lord’s words is true faith. I hope that such faith will be upon your heart.