At times I wonder if I will ever be able to convince some people I know that Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6, NIV). No matter what I say, I cannot get them to understand my life in Christ. In Ephesians 4:17-25, Paul wrote “they are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God (verse 18, NIV).” Paul attributed this to “ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts (verse 18).”
My desire to share Christ is not to convert them to a religion, but a desire for them to have life to the fullest (John 10:10). I want them to have the same peace in Christ that I have in my life. Yet no matter how much I try, how much I pray for them, it seems their hardened hearts will not budge. Sometimes I feel I am the barrier to them seeing Jesus as the way to salvation.
I want them to see Christ Jesus, not the flawed person I am who still has struggles in life. I want them to know that I am not perfect, that I still wrestle with my old self seeking to corrupt me with “its deceitful desires (Eph. 4:22).” I want them to see that I am following the “truth that is in Jesus (verse 20).” The same truth they can have.
I don’t want them to merely come to church, nor do I want to just win a theological argument. My deep desire is for them to have the hope of a new self, to see that they are “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (verse 24).” I want them to be truly changed by Christ Jesus, to share the richness of life I have in Christ Jesus.
© 2019 CGThelen
17 thoughts on “A Loving Desire for the Hardened Heart”
We all know people whom we wish would accept God’s gift of grace and accept Christ’s salvation. However, everything in life is part of God’s plan, and we must remain patience, yet optimistic.
Being patient and waiting on God is difficult. Yet I have seen his wisdom at work. Recently someone I have known for more than 20 years accepted Christ. Her faith is much more solid now than it would’ve been years ago. It reminded me to keep praying and to be patient.
This is the first post of yours that I’ve read, and I think you’ve mirrored some of the conflicts so many of us have. I really don’t like for people to see my flaws because those flaws have made me very vulnerable in the one relationship in which I should have felt safe – with my mother. I don’t think, though, that being transparent means that we have to open ourselves up as a side show in a circus in all of our ugliness. But I think it must help to show others that we ARE sinners, but that we’re FORGIVEN SINNERS who have been and continue to be forgiven by a loving Father. I think the biggest reason people think we’re hypocritical is because they don’t see our lives honestly. Personally, I want my blog to show how much God loves us anyway and always, that there’s nothing we can do that makes him love us more or love us less. I want people who feel inherently unloved and unlovable to know they have hope in Christ. It’s a tough line to walk. I don’t want to turn my readers into my therapist! But the more I write, the more the Holy Spirit has shed a light on the lies so many of us believe. I want to be able to get “on the other side” of these issues to show that victory is possible. I’m not sure what “job description” for the Kingdom God’s got for me, but what I guess I’m trying to say is that we aren’t expected to do all of it ourselves. I’m really looking forward to reading more of your posts!
That is great insight. It is such a difficult line to walk. I try to rely on the Holy. Spirit to direct me, but I am still learning to trust God’s direction more than my own instinct. A heart for God makes us want what’s best for the people in our life, yet even David in the Bible didn’t always get it right. Thanks for the comment. Blessings to you as you pursue God’s Kingdom work.
As Paul says several times, some are seed planters and some get to water but it is God who make the flower to grow and bloom. We must always be ready top plant and water depending on what is needed and let God do the growing. May all of us who have a heart for this continue onward without discouragement.
Before God got a hold on me, preaching and Jesus words meant nothing to me. It wasn’t until God’s timing, when He quickened my spirit, that I became alive to Him. So it is with everyone. We are called to obey God, not to knock folks over the head with anything, just to obey Him in what He calls us to do. If we witness someone coming to a saving knowledge through us, that is our blessing. Everyone who God calls will come to Him. Those who obey see the blessing.
Yes, just obey him. Too often I want to know why things don’t turn out the way I expect them to. God’s timing is perfect. I need to wait on him. Thanks for your insight.
I love your passion for Him.
Amen, Chris. Thanks for sharing echoes from my own heart.
Reading this reveals to me that our hearts are united in the desire for the lost to find Jesus. I would submit, however, that the best way for folks to see Jesus is through us is in the very flaws you and I still carry. The appeal of Christianity has to be the peace that we have been given, in spite of the struggles we still contend with. That we love others, both believers and those who have not yet come to the saving knowledge of Christ, should be the beacon of hope we share with all around us.
Blessings to you and your ministry,
Good point. The people who have impacted me the most have been those who live out their faith in a real way, flaws and all. Blessings to you.
We share your passion to witness and our edict is to go out and preach the Word and He does the rest. His timing not ours is the mantra we speak over and over again in our minds.
Well said. His timing is perfect.
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