Summary: In order for God's Word to enter our heart, we must create the proper conditions for reception
When you hear the phrase, “Just follow your heart,” do you believe that if you do, you will be kept out of trouble and on the right path in life? If we follow our heart sometimes we get into a real mess. What about the phrase, “Follow your head not your heart?” Which one of these phrases is a motto for our lives?
The disciples asked Jesus in Matthew 13, “Why do you tell stories?” He replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understanding flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of interest soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories – to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it; listen till they are blue in the face and not get it; I don’t want Isaiah’s forecast to be repeated all over again – Jesus says.
“Your ears are open but you don’t hear a thing.
Your eyes are made awake but you don’t see a thing.
The people are blockheads!
They stick their fingers in their ears so they won’t have to listen.
They screw their eyes shut so they won’t have to see,
So they won’t have to deal with me face to face and let me heal them.”
Does this sound familiar to us today? Do we have a readiness for the insights from the Bible to help us live the kind of life that in the end will bring us peace and a strong relationship with Christ? Are our eyes screwed shut and do we have our fingers in our ears?
He said, “But you have God-blessed eyes – eyes that see! And God-blessed ears, ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing. But never had the chance.”
You know I am reminded that a calling to preach God’s Word is an incredible honour and with it comes a responsibility to try to get people to see that Word and to really hear that Word. It has a lot to do with the condition of people’s hearts.
I can talk all day long and we can sing God’s Word till the cows come home, but if a person doesn’t have their heart ready to receive the message, it is all just nonsense to them. Speaking of famous phrases; What about this one. “He just didn’t have his heart in it..” What do you think the outcome of that venture would be? If the person doesn’t have their heart into something then you can be pretty sure that very little is going to happen.
We have to have our heart in a condition to see and hear and understand. Notice what Jesus says about human hearts. What does He draw attention to about our interest to His message, His Word? How does He deal with our resistance? What does He want for us?
I’m going to read a part of this passage again.
Listen to the words as if Jesus is talking directly to you, personally to you, privately to you. Meditate on these words as you hear them until the message becomes familiar. Then ask yourself, “What stands out that relates to my life?” (Matt 13:18-23)
Something I want you to do… Search your memory for any insights that God has given you in recent weeks. You may brush it off and say that He hasn’t given you any insights at all. Is it because you haven’t had your ears open in church? Is it possible that God hasn’t given you any insights because you haven’t done a devotional in the morning in ‘who knows how long?’
God has supplied you with His entire Word. You are the blessed. While your thinking about it, has there been a time when God has invited you to act on or think about something, but you ignored the request? Or did you put it off? Do you know why you do this - knowing that you are one of the blessed who have His Word at your disposal. And if you call yourself a believer – Have you thought about why you continue to resist what you know to be true?
God’s greatest desire is not to get you to act in any particular way – It is to engage with you in a relationship. Think about how you have participated in that relationship.
This is the motivation of the church – to enable people to develop a relationship with God, through the Holy Spirit to accept Christ as their Saviour and to live in His light.