Change, and Practicing What We Hear
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I have been thinking about some things in regards to the teaching we received on “teaching” a few weeks ago. HAVE WE BEEN FAITHFUL WITH WHAT WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN?? Can each of us name *at least* five observable, visible instances that we have put this into practice since that night? Are we “hearers only,” or have we gone on to be those who put it into practice? Have we taken the responsibility to make sure that fellow sheep have green pastures to feed on? Here is an excerpt from a recent email that I think has everything to do with where we are at:
“As you consider God answering that prayer to give us hearts that care, consider this: it’s possible, according to the scriptures, to sear your conscience as with a hot iron. Jesus spoke of the parable of the seeds and the sower. He said one kind of seed falls on the path, and the birds of the air come and take the seed. Some people call that the ‘gospel-hardened’ people. They’ve heard the word of God so much, they have trampled the ground so often, over and over again on the same spot that it’s become a path. The seed falls onto that hardened path and it doesn’t penetrate—it just sits there. Then satan comes and takes away the seed and it doesn’t exist anymore. If you allow yourself to go back and forth, over and over again, on the same path without responding, you won’t have that seed very long. You can’t grow a crop without seed, and therefore no crop whatsoever springs up from God.
There are times early in your walk with God (and in certain other seasons of your life) when God essentially moves you. He brings such a deep conviction and such a sweet spirit over you that it becomes almost impossible not to respond to His word. It strikes you, it cuts you, it causes you to break down in tears and humbly say, ‘God, I want that!’ There are other times (and, in fact, the majority of the time), as you go on through life, when God isn’t going to move you quite that way. He is going to call you to respond to His word without making it so easy for you. He won’t always just overwhelm you so you can hardly stop yourself from crying. It won’t always be that way. Sometimes you are just going to have to respond to it yourself.
If you don’t respond, if you cut corners and go back and forth over the word He gives to convict you, your conscience will be seared as with a hot iron. That’s the way Paul put it. Suppose you hear a song about being a servant, but you don’t change anything tomorrow in your own life? You hear a song or a teaching about something that convicts your heart (or ought to convict your heart), something that’s not yet a part of your life. If you don’t do anything about it tomorrow, this is what happens: you tread that path so much that you can harden yourself. Before you know it, you’ve seared your conscience.
You think you are doing okay because you know so much. You will be able to tell all kinds of people about all kinds of deep truths. You will be able to write glorious letters and share with people who have never heard these things. But you will do it for your own ego because you will want to impress people with what you know. God isn’t going to be very amused with that. If you are not applying it to your life such that your heart is continually soft, allowing yourself to be cut by the word of God, then you will sear your conscience as with a hot iron and lead yourself down a path that is extremely destructive, if not fatal. That’s what will happen if you harden yourself to it and don’t respond from the heart, whether you are ‘moved’ to or not. If you know something is right, respond to it.
Let me admonish you that ‘Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your heart.’ That’s a command. Do not harden your heart if you hear His voice. Don’t be naive and foolish enough to think that you can hear it, and not respond to it, and everything will go well with you anyway. It’s not like that. Things will not go well with you if you sear your own conscience by not obeying the word of God. You’re self-deceived, James said, if you’re a hearer and not a doer of the word.”
I know none of us wants that and that is why I thought I would send this out as a reminder and spur for us all. What have we put into PRACTICE since that night? What HAS (past tense) changed? It is not too late for us who have not grabbed a hold of this as we should have. TODAY if you hear his voice, harden not your heart. If you need help or direction…GET IT! Do whatever it takes to make this a priority in your life. God does want so much for us to step out in faith and just see what He has in store for us. I know for myself He has been so patient and merciful to continue to draw me back to Himself over and over again. It reminds me of the phrase we have heard too often, “Wooing me (us) to Himself.” He is bent over longing to meet us at whatever place we’ll step out. Another excerpt….
“Satan tried five times to get Nehemiah to veer off his course, to at least slow down the progress of his work. The sixth time, he threw a curve at Nehemiah, hoping to catch him off guard. You have to appreciate Nehemiah’s heart and his relentlessness as he refused to give up what God placed on his heart so long before. I want to encourage you to have the same heart Nehemiah had. Be keenly aware of the work in front of you that God has given you to do. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your heart, even though there will sometimes be a lot of opposition. Nehemiah had five or six things coming at him at once, and the same may happen to you. So be aware that satan is always looking for one more opportunity to spoil something that God would like completed…”
We can have the attitude and heart of Nehemiah. We need to know what the work is that God has put in front of us to do and then DO IT. In spite of all our fears, feeling inadequate, cares and affairs that want to crowd in, etc…WE CAN BE FAITHFUL AND FAITHFILLED! He would not have brought forth His word if we had no means of responding to it. And He is longing to give provision for the work if we’ll turn to Him.
May this spur us on to take hold of ALL God has for us. Let’s do it for the King and His Sheep!
Love in Him, d