CAN GOD CHANGE A PERSON'S MIND?
This question is on the mind of many people for various reasons. Often the thought is to see someone have a change of heart towards the Gospel, or a change of mind in a public official, like a judge, to render a decision that is in harmony with Biblical ethics and morals. There are decisions that have to be made whether or not to grant permission for an event to be held or for another event to be banned from taking place. There have been many Christian workers and missionaries who have prayed for "doors to be opened" where the Gospel had been forbidden to enter, or a decision made simply to allow a Bible study to be held during lunch break in an office building. People make decisions. Can God change people's minds so they make the "right" decision? Consider the following examples of God's intervention in these Biblical passages: (All passages quoted from the NKJV unless otherwise noted).
Proverbs 21:1 - "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes."
God is able to change the course of a river! He can also change the thoughts of a king, or any ruler for that matter. Watch how this is noted in the lives of Ezra and Nehemiah:
In Ezra's time the Lord placed on the heart of a pagan king, Cyrus, the desire that the temple in Jerusalem would be rebuilt.
Ezra 1:1,2 - "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia...the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus King of Persia, so that he made a proclamation to...build Him [God] a house in Jerusalem..."
Ezra 6:22 - "And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them..."
Ezra 7:27 - "Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem."
When Nehemiah heard of the conditions in Jerusalem and the need for the walls to be rebuilt he prayed for God to intervene.
Nehemiah 1:11 - "O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and to the prayer of your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man [the king]. For I was the king's cupbearer."
Nehemiah 2:4,5,8 - "Then the king said to me, 'What do you request?' So I prayed to the God of heaven, and I said to the king, 'If it pleases the king...send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it'...And the king granted [this] according to the good hand of my God upon me."
What about a person's decision to trust the Lord as their Savior? Consider these two passages:
Jeremiah 24:7 - "Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord..."
Acts16:14 - "Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us...the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul."
Can God give a Christian the right kind of desires to have in their heart?
Psalm 37:4 - "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." Or perhaps it could be rendered, "He shall give you the right desires to have in your heart." Is that true? Look at the next passage:
Philippians 2:13 NLT - "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him." Paul clearly teaches that God can place His desires in a believer's heart.
GOD'S KNOWLEDGE OF EVERY PERSON
This presentation is but one of many on this subject. There are at least 25 clear passages in the Bible which indicate that God is absolutely aware of every human being and knows them perfectly! This study hopefully will provide you with passages to share with anyone who wonders whether they can hide from God or if He even notices them! (All passages quoted from the New Living Translation unless otherwise noted).
1 Samuel 16:7 - "...The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
1 Kings 8:39 - "...Give Your people what their actions deserve, for You alone know each human heart."
1 Chronicles 28:9 - "...For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought..."
2 Chronicles 16:9 - "The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him..."
Job 31:4 - "Doesn't He see everything I do and every step I take?"
Job 34:21-22 - "For God watches how people live; He sees everything they do. No darkness is thick enough to hide the wicked from His eyes."
Psalm 7:9 - "...For You look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God."
GOD'S LOVE DESCRIBED
I'm sharing something I wrote in my Bible quite a few years ago which I heard from someone else. It's taking the Fruit of the Spirit given in Galatians 5:22,23 and showing how God's love is described. I want to give you the passage and then the comments.
Galatians 5:22,23 NKJV - "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."
The Fruit of the Spirit is LOVE:
JOY is LOVE'S EXPRESSION - 1 Peter 1:8 - "Whom having not seen, you love...with joy inexpressible..."
PEACE is LOVE'S CONFIDENCE - Romans 5:1 - "...we have peace with God..."
LONGSUFFERING is LOVE'S HABIT - 1 Corinthians 13:4 - "Love suffers long..."
KINDNESS is LOVE'S QUALITY - Ephesians 4:32 - "And be kind to one another..."
GOODNESS is LOVE'S ACTIVITY - 3 John 11 - "...He who does good is of God..."
FAITHFULNESS is LOVE'S QUANTITY - 1 Corinthians 13:8 - "Love never fails..."
GENTLENESS is LOVE'S TONE - Ephesians 4:2 - "With all lowliness and gentleness...bearing with one another in love."
SELF-CONTROL is LOVE'S VICTORY - Mark 13:13 - "...he who endures to the end shall be saved."
The verses or passages below give instances where the praying for the lost takes on a "let's-be-ready-to-do-this" response. It's one thing to pray for those who serve the Lord to keep serving the Lord. It's another thing to recognize "those who serve" should include YOU and ME. As you read each passage take time to look at the context and what it took for the Word to be shared with the lost. It wasn't always a "jail house" experience like Paul in Philippi, it was also a natural conversation like Jesus had with Nicodemus. (All passages quoted from the NKJV)
John 3:1-3 - "There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, 'Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these things that You do unless God is with him.' Jesus answered and said to him, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'"
John 4:4, 7-10 - "But He needed to go through Samaria. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give Me a drink.'...Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, 'How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?' For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.'
Acts 8:26-30,34-35 - "Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, 'Arise and go toward the south...and he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority...was returning and reading Isaiah...So Philip ran to Him, and heard him reading...So the eunuch answered Philip and said, 'I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or some other man?' Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him."
Acts 16:13-14 - "And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman Lydia heard us...The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul."
Acts 16:25-31 - "But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God...suddenly, there was a great earthquake...and the keeper of the prison...drew his sword and was about to kill himself...But Paul called with a loud voice, 'Do yourself no harm'...then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas...and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' So they said to him, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.'"
Now, these are just a few places in Scripture where personal evangelism was done. Please note how natural it was for the conversations to be held. Though there was certainly excitement in the jail, still there was a sense that the believers knew it was just the right time to share about the Lord. And that is the point of this study: our conversations about Jesus don't have to be planned for like a "foray into the enemies' stronghold!" We just need to be ready, 1 Peter 3:15, to just talk about Jesus with those whose hearts the Lord has opened. Note that in the conversion of Lydia!
Pray that you and I will stay alert and sensitive to the Spirit's leading when we, too, can simply talk about Jesus to those whose hearts are ready.