Listen and Understand

01 February 2021 | Reflections | Anthony Luxton

As we have been drawing our Choose Your King series to a close, we have reflected on the importance of aligning our hearts with God.

In King David’s actions, late one afternoon when he lusted after Bathsheba and took her for himself (2 Samuel 11:1-5), we see the danger of when we put our desires above God’s. David’s actions remind us that even when we have found God we are in danger of hardening our heart towards him. A hard heart deceives itself living for self-satisfaction; It is blinded to the value and life of Jesus (Romans 11:7-12; Mark 8:17–18).

Jesus’ life reveals the corruption of self-satisfaction and offers another way. A way that throws off our sinful nature and instead lets the Spirit renew our heart (Ephesians 4:17-24). Jesus came as the seed of life and sowed Himself in our lives through his Word (Luke 8:4-15). His seeds have been scattered, but where they fall is up to us. How we respond to God’s word, the quality of the soil that we give it, affects the seed’s growth. Jesus said that:

The seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest. (Luke 8:15)

David W. Bennett writes that ‘the true follower of Jesus is not one who merely hears his word, but also responds in obedience. Discipleship is not a passive state, but an active engagement.’ (i) During the current lockdown you might find yourself having a lot more time or have had to reorganise your schedule. Certainly the latter has been true for me. It has been challenging how we prioritise our time, perhaps the first question we should ask is how am I growing in Jesus? How am I growing in God’s word?

In order to soften our hearts we must put on a new nature revealed to us in God’s word. Doing this might be easier than you think. It begins with honestly answering the question: will I fully embrace Jesus Christ as the greatest treasure in my life?

Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. If we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. (Hebrews 3:12-14)

i. D. W. Bennett, Metaphors of ministry: Biblical images for leaders and followers (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1993), 32.

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