What sort of heart do you want to have? I sometimes picture mine being soft and squishy like a marshmallow. But I know at times life can cause my heart to harden up and become brittle and over sensitive due to experiences, hurts, disappointments, un-forgiveness and offence.
The great thing is that God understands that and more than anything He says at those times when we have clutter and hardness in our hearts to, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls“…(Matthew 11:28)
Jesus did not condemn Matthew as a tax collector who was despised by his own people, but chose him as a disciple and simply said “Follow me” (Matthew 9:9-13).
He didn’t despise the adulterous woman that everyone else was ready to stone to death. He loved her and saved her life (John 8:1-11).
He chose Zaccheus, a thief and one of the most unpopular people in town to go and have dinner with him, forgiving and changing his course of life forever in the process. (Luke 19:1-10)
Jesus doesn’t reject us when we are feeling bruised and battered or when life seems too hard or empty. Even when our hearts are cluttered, angry, fed-up and burdened, He simply says, “Come to me”.
Jesus is the cure for hard, battered and closed off hearts and His love never fails. When we experience and accept this love and subsequently the love of others He directs into our lives this love softens our hearts.
In fact His love received will change our life completely over time and any life that you pass that love onto.
Here are a few things I have learnt which help to keep our hearts soft and subsequently healed up:
- Deal with anything you know is not right before God. Sin causes hearts to grow hard, especially continual and unrepentant sin. Now we know that “if we confess our sins, [Jesus] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9) However, if we choose to keep on doing things our way and don’t turn away from sin and seek to change there will be a de-sensitizing effect on our conscience and hearts making it eventually difficult to even distinguish right from wrong. This sinful and hardened heart will over time cause us to have a “seared conscience”. God’s word makes it clear that if we relentlessly continue to engage in sin, (those things not right before God and His Word) there will come a time when God will give us over to our “debased mind” and let us have it our way. (1 Timothy 4:1-2
- Keep short accounts – Walk in forgiveness. It is powerful to forgive others and to receive forgiveness. We let go and let God in and as we do we let His love wash all the “rocks” and hardness out, making room for His love.”Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor… do not let the sun go down on your anger“ (Ephesians 4:26)
- Find out who you are in Jesus. If we can get a God view of who we and how much we are loved it will change how we see ourselves, those around us and bring perspective to what is really important. You are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- Worship – God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3) Take time to be thankful and invite God into every area of your life. “He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist. (Acts 17:28)
- God’s best for us is a soft uncluttered heart. Of all the things in our life that we spend our time seeking after and working towards perhaps the most important is to, “Watch over our heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. For the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart”. (Matt 15:18)
Prayer: Lord please forgive me where I have hardened my heart towards you and others and have held onto sin and my ways. Would you create in me a clean and soft heart free from offence and sin. I make room to let your love in today. In Jesus Name Amen