But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,” says the LORD. “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people.
–Jeremiah 31:33 NET
In my private practice days, I inherited quite a few couples for marital work on recommendation from the wife of a psychiatrist. These ladies had just been released from the psych hospital where they had been admitted for depression and attempted suicide. The husband of one particular couple was unresponsive and clearly angry. Tough situation.
After a few months into our work, the husband was explaining a recent disagreement and said, “Then I asked how she was doing.” Stunned, I turned to the wife and asked whether in their 25 years of marriage he had ever inquired about how she felt? Her eyes widened, equally shocked, and she replied, “No, I don’t think he has ever asked me that.” Looking back at him I asked, “Why did you ask how she was doing?” A bit confused, this guy muttered, “I guess because she matters to me….” With tears rolling down her cheeks, the wife quietly said, “I never knew that.”
At this point, the man looked at me and asked, “Why does that question matter?” “Well,” I replied, “What matters more is that she matters to you. For nearly six months you have tried to convince me that you really don’t feel much more for your wife and she should just accept that you can’t change. Today, we caught a glimpse of more going on inside you than you even knew. Clearly, God is at work. And clearly, you love your wife.” Now he began to tear up.
An incredible provision of God’s new agreement (covenant) is the placement of God’s Spirit within the heart of every believer—God’s law is now implanted in our hearts in the form of His Spirit who is causing us to want God’s will (Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Down deep, my client not only loved his wife, but the Spirit was working in ways we would eventually see. His love had been hidden behind disappointment and anger—but it was there. After that day, the more he tasted God at work in him, the more his hope grew. Not for a better marriage, but that he could actually grow in his love.
ACTION: Are you tempted at times to assume “that’s all there is” to you? Take a moment to dream a little. If you could envision God shaping and changing you (inside out), what would you look like with new desires?