Replacing My Heart of Stone

Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12

By nature, and maybe due to certain life experiences, I struggle with being callous of heart. I've struggled much of my life with indifference toward the hurt and needs of others, and I've also struggled to feel. For years, I couldn't cry, even when it was so desperately needed as an outlet. The bad thing I noticed is that, because I couldn't cry, I couldn't laugh too much either. When your heart is soft, a spectrum of feelings comes naturally. When your heart is hard, feelings of any kind, except maybe anger and loneliness, are few and far between.

Here's the worst news about being hard-hearted. It makes it tough to sense God's presence and love. It is really hard to care about the things He cares about. It makes for a very small and passionless life.

God cares about things like, what happens to orphans and widows. He cares about His people acknowledging Him and finding joy in His creation. He especially cares about His children spending time getting to know and love Him.

Todd Agnew, a Christian musician produced a CD called, "The Better Questions." He explains that he was asking God why He allows such bitter suffering in this world, like hunger and disease. After spending time praying and studying his Bible, he realized the better question is: Why do I allow suffering? I am God's hands, feet, and heart for this hurting, broken world. The truth is, I am often hardened and selfish.

These days, my heart is much more soft, but I still have to work at allowing God to plow it up. Occasionally, I can even cry at a tide commercial. I care much more than I used to about God's people and plan for this world.  I care much more about suffering and emotional hurt of others. How? One thing I've begun to do is ask God on a continuing basis to give me brokenness. In other words, to tenderize my heart and peel away the callouses.

I encourage you today, if you have become hardened toward God, God's people, and God's heart for this world, ask Him to begin the plowing process in the hard soil of your heart. Ask Him to help you really live, and laugh, and love again. That is one prayer He is sure to answer.

And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts instead, so they will obey my laws and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God." Ezekiel 11:19-20 (NLT)

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