Have you had an EKG lately? You know...getting all wired up, maybe even doing a treadmill, but having your heart checked out to see how it goin'?
Well, the message Sunday on the parable of the sower and the seeds provides us with the opportunity for just that...a spiritual EKG. What could be more important than making sure your heart is functioning properly? In the parable of the sower that Ron brought us last Sunday we found out that the Lord wants to perform an EKG on our hearts thru this parable.
We saw that there are four kinds of hearts; the hard heart, the shallow heart, the divided heart and the trusting heart. The hard heart says "I can't be that bad"...and "the solution can't be that good". It doesn't even let the seed get down into the soil. The result is the enemy comes and snatches the seed of God's word away. The shallow heart is a heart that has little soil to grow in. It is a heart that is marked by emotion. We go by how we feel...we do not perceive the depth to which God wants his word wants to penetrate. When feelings rule, the word becomes ineffective. The divided heart has competition. The word comes to us but there are so many other things vying for our attention that we miss it. It gets choked out by other things. This is the most miserable kind of heart. Two loves are competing and unless there is a change the word will get choked out. Ron put it this way..."God is entirely intolerant of anyone else being in his seat"(his throne). The last type of heart is the trusting heart. This is the heart that hears and understands. Unlike in the garden when Adam and Eve heard God but did not listen and chose not to trust God, the trusting heart hears and understands. The heart that trusts will bear fruit...the fruit of the Spirit.
One day, one of these hearts will be the final word over our lives. Only thru faith in the finished work of Christ can we be confident what kind of heart we have. But on a very practical level, until then what we need to see is that any one of these hearts can dominate us at any given time. We could wake up with a hard heart and end the day with a trusting one. We can allow God to work in us to produce the kind of heart he wants. This is amazing to realize. We can experience any one of these on any given day. We need to submit to God's EKG and get the readings on our hearts so we can allow the Lord to change our hearts to conform to his will. He wants to change our hearts. Thru faith in Jesus he has done this. Ezek. 11:19-20 says "And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them, I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a new heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statues and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God." This is the reality. At the same time God wants to continually help us see our need and change us. This is the sanctification process. How do we do this? Well...we apply the good news! As we gaze at the reality of what Jesus did for us on the cross to pay for a new heart for us we will be motivated to recognize the condition of our hearts. If its not right we just acknowledge this. Confess the brokenness of our hearts, ask for his forgiveness, and ask God to give you a pure and undivided heart. God wants to give you a heart to listen and understand him and do his will. God will graciously answer the prayer that desires this kind of heart for him.
Some questions for discussion:
1. What are some of the things God uses to perform his spiritual EKG?
2. Can you recount a time when you have had one of these different kinds of hearts?
3, How will meditating on the Gospel help you in discerning and seeing your heart change?