I think the past few days, God may have been speaking directly to my heart. Ok, I know he does every day...but I'll explain in a minute why I phrased this the way I did.
The scripture today from the Proverbs 31 devotional is:
"One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart and she accepted what Paul was saying." Acts 16:14 (NLT)
I've always loved the scripture about Lydia, she always seemed like one of those women you'd see at church, older and respected but still so open to the will and heart of God, that she didn't ever feel embarrassed to be rocked by Him.
Now Suzie talks about praying for the heart if others, but also for yourself...that your heart would be changed.
She uses some amazing imagery, she talks about the soil of your heart and that of your friends. Yesterday, Pastor Dave talked about the parable of the seeds and the different soils of the heart (he also happened to reference a scripture that made quite an impact in my ladies group Ezekiel 36:26-27)
Those of you that have read all my posts probably think I'm a little bit of a hippie. You wouldn't be wrong. I live in an apartment, have a compost bin and grow my own veggies many years. I recycle as much as I can, try to live as in harmony with God's earth as I can. (I still shave though lol)
These past two days, God has put wording and reading in front of me that speaks to the planter/cultivator in me. Pastor Dave made a good point that ties so directly to this particular devotion that it makes me a little speechless (only a little). He said that when he was younger he thought the parable in Luke was talking about four different people, that you could be one or the other...but as he's studied it more and more over his years, he started to realize that this particular story could be one heart in different times. I feel like, that's part of what Suzie is saying.
We need to pray for others, intercede for them. Especially those that haven't ever known the relationship and grace of God. But we can't forget to remember to pray that our own heart REMAINS open and soft for God to use. I know that as Christians we can get a hardened heart. We already know it all. Why do we need to listen? Freedom in Christ - check! Read the entire Bible - check! Prayer time - check! (I like to call this rubbing the lamp when you have a hardened heart, you're not really talking...you're telling your genie what you want. Might make you laugh, but it totally happens) We're good Christians because we have all of that down. Now, I'm not saying that you aren't if that's your routine, I'm just saying that if we don't check our heart and pray for it to be soft soil for God, all those become just that - a routine. Going through the motions because we know that what we should do.
Tell me though, where's your love for others during all that? That's why we HAVE to not only pray for change in others, but for change in ourselves. I can't speak for you, but I know I am way too selfish and self centered to keep on loving and not judging people if I don't first pray that God would change my heart to His.
Father, thank you for speaking to my heart. For reminding me of my need to fully put my heart and will in you and what you would have for me. Thank you for placing my friends and family on my heart so that I would bring them to you, trusting them to you. Continue to change and shape my heart and keep it fertile soil for your love.
What do you think?