Is your heart a stone?

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There is a fine line between dedication to one’s cause and plain old mule-headed stubbornness. I applaud that person who sticks with their plan, who gets back up and keeps fighting even when they get knocked down. There is something to admire in that one who gives himself to God’s Spirit, dying to Self in humble surrender.  How do we respond when the Lord is trying to change us, asking us to adjust our attitude? Do we dig in our heels even when it is in our best interest to adjust, accept, and adapt;  or do we humbly yield to Him?

Moses and Aaron appeared in Pharaoh’s court to request that he let the Israelites go. They said,  The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. But until now you have not listened. This is what the LORD says: By this you will know that I am the LORD.” (Exodus 7:16-17, NIV)  It’s a crazy request with which Pharaoh will not agree. After all, these people are his labor force, critically important to the Egyptian economy.  He says, “No,” and subsequently the plagues were introduced to Egypt, starting with inconvenience and escalating in their misery and impact. The story of the ten plagues (Exodus 7-12) is a familiar one.  After each episode we read this – “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.” (Exodus 8:15 NIV)

The final blow was the visit of the Death Angel, taking the first-born of every household that did not have the blood of a lamb on the doorposts, which was placed there in faith and in obedience to Moses’ directive.  A lamb became the substitutionary sacrifice. Only after this awful consequence of his hard, stubborn heart visited his palace, did Pharaoh let the Israelites leave Egypt. “During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.” (Exodus 12:31-32, NIV)

Is there some part of your life where you have hardened your heart to the will and purpose of the Lord?

Are you refusing to do what He asks of you – forgiving another, serving in some way you find undesirable, holding onto a sinful habit?

When the Holy Spirit whispers an invitation to greater faith, pointing you in a new way, do you silence His voice or readily listen?

Persistent disobedience produces callousness towards our Father!  Jesus spoke of the spiritual plight of the people who would not respond to Him. Quoting Isaiah, He said, ”‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’” (Matthew 13:14-15, NIV)

Let’s pray to have tender hearts that quickly respond to our Father’s love. Fear of what follows our obedience can make it hard to say a ready “yes” to Him. Replace that fear with faith, expecting that He will provide. Pride can hinder our willingness to follow Him, too. His way can appear as foolishness when viewed with natural wisdom. Be humble enough to be seen a fool for Christ!

Our word from the Word is a beautiful promise. Make it yours today. Know the beauty of a tender heart. And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so you will obey my laws and do whatever I command.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27, NLT)

Lord, give us a child-like heart,
ready to follow You in faith
wherever You would lead.
For Jesus’ glory. Amen.

______________

I Surrender
(a prayer in song)

 Here I am
Down on my knees again
Surrendering all
Surrendering all 

Find me here
Lord as You draw me near
Desperate for You
Desperate for You
I surrender

 Drench my soul
As mercy and grace unfold
I hunger and thirst
I hunger and thirst

 With arms stretched wide
I know You hear my cry
Speak to me now
Speak to me now

 I surrender
I surrender
I want to know You more
I want to know You more

 Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me
Like a mighty storm
Stir within my soul
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

Matt Crocker © 2011 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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