“Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart…” Psalm 95:7-8
How we hear the Word of God is in our hands. We have the power to soften or to harden our own hearts when the Word is preached: to respond with humble brokenness or with stiff pride.
Many think it’s a mystery how some can live for God successfully while others struggle and lose out. Many never even try, for fear of falling into the latter category.
Our pastor, Bro. Bowen, preached recently on the parable of the sower and the soils in Matthew 13 — four kinds of soil, representing four conditions of the heart when the Word is preached :
• wayside, where many people walked and packed down the soil, so the birds ate the seed before it got in the ground = stony hearts that simply reject the Word outright or don’t seek to understand it.
• stony places where the seed sprang up quickly but soon died for lack of depth = those who gladly receive the Word but are soon offended, because they lack depth for the Word to take root.
• among thorns, which grew, but was soon choked out = those who allow the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches to choke the Word and become unfruitful.
• good ground = he that hears the Word, understands it, and begins to grow and bear fruit.
The good news is, these are not preset, static situations we are dealt and have to live with.
As Bro. Bowen preached, when the “gospel plow” — the preaching of the Word that shows up where we’re lacking and what we need to do to get it right — comes down the row of your heart, you have a choice to make. You can sit with your arms folded and wait for that conviction you’re feeling to pass, or you can get to an altar and, in prayer, go behind that plow looking for the stones that have been uncovered and the thorns whose roots have been loosened up and start pulling and tossing things out of your heart.
This approach to living for God can make sure you are “rooted and grounded in the truth” and that you will be “neither barren nor unfruitful.”
The choice is yours, and there are no excuses for not trying. “Take heed how ye hear”.
The outcome is in your hands.