Hard Hearts

Mark 6:49-51 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.”

There are many things that harden a heart.

Sin, neglect, wounds, abuse, and hurtful words to name a few.

But we read in the very next verse:

Mark 6:52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.”

The disciples record of what happened allows us to read and reread the accounts of what took place. We often judge them harshly, but they had to live in real time. There was no “do over” or reset button they could hit. They dealt with things as they saw them. We often forget the spiritual battles they faced as well.

Nor do we realize the subtlety of the enemy today. Think of it…

We read the accounts of the miracles of Jesus and take it all in stride – because that is what the Son of God should do, because He’s God. We lessen to miraculous because we’ve seen Hollywood do those things over and over. We’ve become numb to the true miracles all around us.

A person becomes a child of God and we are ‘Ho-Hum’ about it – we’ve seen it before.

God thinks it a big deal:

Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Satan has been able to ‘dupe’ us time and time again into believing that we can do what God can do. The rise of ‘super heroes’ like Thor, Iron Man, Superman, Captain America and so many more are placing a seed within us to desire to be more than we really were created to be.

I have found that each so-called ‘super hero’ has their weakness. Their enemy exploits it and they are rendered useless for a time. But I have come to see my God has no weakness. He is always strong on my behalf. But I must realize as well, that I am more than I seem to be.

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

But I allow my heart to harden – just like the disciples, when I neglect the path God has laid out for me to follow. When I forsake the gathering together of the church; when I forget to remind my heart just who I am in Christ Jesus.

So many little things; subtle things that creep in and capture our attention. It might be a sick child, a project at home or work, a financial crisis, or just the tiredness that sets in when we fail to balance our life accordingly. Satan lays before us a cornucopia of substitutes for our walk with God. He doesn’t care which one we choose – just so long as we don’t read, pray, and meditate on God’s Word.

The devil rejoices when we take a voice of criticism or gossip about our authority – especially our spiritual authority. Many will smile, shake the Preacher’s hand and set out to have ‘roast Preacher’ on the way home – tearing down every bit of work done in their hearts.

It is one of the devil’s tools to separate the sheep.

Once he has us alone and disconnected, we are ripe for the kill.

It ought to catch our attention that our hearts aren’t stirred over the salvation of a soul; a child of God taking the steps to be baptized, or join the church. It ought to cause our hearts to rejoice when we see a wayward child of God come back to get right. We ought to run with the healing balm of fellowship and friendship; welcoming them, loving them back to a close, personal relationship with the Lord.

All too often, we shoot our wounded. We neglect the hurting, depressed, and ones that don’t cry loudly for help. Paul admonished the church at Galatia:

Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

If we were to be found in such a state, we would crave someone to come along side us to lovingly guide us back to the Savior. We need to adopt the attitude:

Jude 22-23 And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

All too often, we are numb to our own sin; the stink and the stench that must rise up of the disobedience; the laziness, and outright rebellion, to which we often fall prey. Our need is simple.

Confess and repent. We must be open, honest, and utterly transparent with God. He was there when I committed the sin, I am not telling Him something He doesn’t already know. His love is all that we will experience because the justice that may have been meted out for my sin was complete in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.

Ask for strength, wisdom, and discernment to not return to the path that took to that sin in the first place. The triggers that allow me to contemplate losing my temper, overeating, laziness, apathy, depression, and so many other ‘fruits’ of my sin, must be dealt with.

Become accountable. Find a man or woman of God that will not be afraid to call us out on our behavior – not partake with us. Testify of the work God is doing to bring you back to Himself. Often, when we share the realities of our walk with God, we find that there are others struggling with the same.

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Every trial has a pathway out. Maybe not to lessen the results of our sin, but a way for us to continue to serve. We cannot bypass the laws of sowing and reaping.

This being Monday, we are faced with a new work week. Another opportunity to be Christ to our co-workers, neighbors and those in our community. They need to see Jesus, not the carnality we allow. Pray to ask God that He aid us in being more Christlike in our words and actions.

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

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