Sunday, June 7, 2015

Fat hearts and fat ears

If we think about it, God’s guidance usually comes across in two different modes: mundane and unappealing, or crazily undoable. The mundane stuff is what all Christians know and usually do out of obligation, and unfortunately few do out of love. It’s in things like being faithful to our commitments, being honest and moral, controlling our whims, working hard and doing our best even when no one acknowledges it. It doesn't feel very powerful or spiritual, but when we slip and fail in these things, very powerful demonic forces are given entry to our lives. It doesn't take long before great harm is done in our relationship to God, and in our lives in general when we disobey Him in the ordinary things.  

But doing the crazily undoable is when you face a giant of a problem and determine that God will provide you with the faith of young David to slay that giant, and then you pull out the rickety little faith you have and act on it, even before you have any idea of how it'll turn out. That's when amazing miracles happen. The voice of God is right there in the Bible saying, “I am with you mighty warrior!” speaking to each of us. But our human nature shuts that down as fast as it pops into our head. We reason, based on worldly experience and our cowardly aversion to risk, that acting so radically is fanaticism. If we revved ourselves up to have so much confidence in a miracle, we’d fall flat on our face and disgrace God’s name. Who are we to compare ourselves to a hero in the Bible? That’s just plain pride, we conclude. It’s a sin to even think such thoughts. Just wait quietly for God. Be humble and seek His will. Then we impress ourselves with how pious we are.

The thing is, God has already revealed His will. He wants us to use weapons of spiritual warfare and destroy whatever evil attacks us, and to rescue and save lost souls from the evil of this world and of the next. Jesus’ own words said, “The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (Matthew 12:14) That’s pretty straightforward, and in human terms, crazily undoable. So if this is Jesus’ description of the one who believes in Him, who among us is actually trying to make that happen?

The Bible says that many people’s hearts have become dull and their ears hard of hearing. The Greek word used means “fat.” Imagine big blobs of bacon grease smeared over your heart, pumping through your veins. Most people, even Christians, are walking around with fat hearts and fat ears. It’s not that God isn't speaking, they just don't like what He says, and imagine that He’s not really speaking at all. They may submit to obeying God in the mundane, but are terrified of the undoable. In their cowardice, they see no power and few answers to prayer, which easily saps them of their strength to remain faithful in even the simple things. Their healing, their understanding, and even their salvation is blocked from them. God has given us all that we need to overcome. Let’s joyfully listen and obey, in the ordinary things and in the crazy challenges so that He will delight in us and heal us.

For the heart of this people has become dull; they are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.  (Matthew 13:15 NET)

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