Mark 8:17 (ESV)
17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?
It sure would be nice if I would do my SOAP for today instead of writing titles and then having to discover what God is prioritizing over my plans.
This topic is never one that I have to spend much time trying to figure out why it’s come up though. As easy as it would be to drop the title in the drafts folder, once again I will be obedient.
The truth is, when our heart hardens against the price of sin, it also hardens against the Goodness of God.
A heart that doesn’t pain for that which pains God also cannot experience the joy for those things that God provides for our Joy.
A heart that wants to be served, will never be able to serve.
Is there pain that just won’t go away, ever wonder why? I have been lately.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Matthew 13:15 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’
Why does my experience seem to be the opposite of God’s desires?
Believe me, I may be writing to you, but I’m looking in the mirror. There are things in my life that still don’t belong.
I don’t believe they got there by choice, but I suspect they remain there through complacency or comfort in their proximity.
And there is no escaping God’s Word in these matters.
Jeremiah 13:27 I have seen your adultery and lust, and your disgusting idol worship out in the fields and on the hills. What sorrow awaits you, Jerusalem! How long before you are pure?”
Living by the Spirit’s Power – Galatians 5:16-25
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.
Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
Do you have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in your life?
Pride, Fear, and denial are the brick and mortar of the hardness surrounding a heart, the justification for all of our sins, and the foundations for all our strongholds and addictions.
If we don’t first acknowledge, confess and repent of our own condition, then we will never have the proper hunger and thirst for the righteousness that becomes the very conduit through which we are able to drink from the Wellspring of life.
Matthew 5:4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:6“ Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
There are nearly 300 verses with the word righteousness in it. You think it is a topic that matters to God?
Should there be any doubt or confusion that if we are preserving a small locked closet in our hearts that is reserved for the things not of God that it won’t infect everything we do and feel?
If you put one bad apple in with a hundred good apples, the one will infect the many and not the other way around.
Death begets death
As I heard a pastor say at a men’s conference recently, “partial obedience is 100% disobedience.”
Don’t mistake this call to holiness as false condemnation.
Jesus came to set the captives free, not to condemn.
He came to fulfill the law, not disavow it.
The Law convicts, but the price was paid by One much greater than us.
But just because our past, present and future debts or covered, that does not make the law less relevant.
Psalm 112:1 [The Righteous Will Never Be Moved] Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!
Paul’s Final Instructions
1 Timothy 11-12 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.
Father God, I confess that I see myself in these exhortations. To be mostly of You is to not know You at all. I have felt so incredibly blessed to be in the presence of your mercy, but as I question what a hardened heart would feel like, I realize that it could easily be mistaken for grace. You know the pain I suffer, you know the fears and insecurities I battle, you know the weaknesses of the flesh of which I bring to you constantly. I trust Lord in Your promises that You intend to prosper and not destroy, to bring to completion and not forsake. I trust that I am where I am supposed to be Father, even if I am not where I want to be, or think I should be. I decree that as long as there is breath, the fight is not over. Thank You for Your mercy, please continue to strengthen in me that which glorifies You, and cast out that which still remains from my former days of allegiance and reliance on darkness.