Heart Conditions.

As I was recently growing frustrated with a certain person and situation in my life, I grabbed my Bible and begged for peace.  It felt like my heart was struggling for oxygen and I knew the only way I could find relief was through fellowship with my Daddy.  I was passing through pages, vision blurry with tears of anger, when I came across Luke 8.  Luke 8 discusses the Parable of the Sower.  I had heard it more than a dozen times and had probably read it ten more than that.  But what I discovered in that moment of reading was new and refreshing.

We all know the Parable of the Sower.  If you don't, allow me to enlighten you: Jesus describes a sower who throws his seeds every which way.  Apparently aim is not really his thing.  Some seeds fall by the way side, never really amounting to much.  Some fall on rocks and die as soon as they start to grow.  Some fall in with thorns and are choked.  And some fall on good soil that allows them to grow abundantly.  Why was Jesus talking about seeds and rocks and thorns and choking, you ask?

The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11) and the terrain the seeds land on is the condition of our hearts.

1. Way Side Heart (Luke 8:12): A Way Side heart hears the word of God, but doesn't really care much for it.  My Bible defines them as "indifferent hearers" and I think that sums it up pretty well.  The word of God is nothing more than a collection of words to them.  This heart condition makes it easy for Satan to come in and steal what little godly concern is resting within the heart.

2. Rock Heart (Luke 8:13): A Rock Heart hears the word of God during a time of emotional distress and clings to God only when their emotions allow for it.  A Rock Heart is the picture of instability.  It's a heart condition that doesn't seek God out of love, but rather out of desperation.  Rock Hearts thrive on the emotional freedom found at first, but they don't stick with it long because emotions are fickle and change quickly.  Their relationship with Christ is not based on Christ Himself, but rather how they feel. 

3. Thorn Heart (Luke 8:14): A Thorn Heart hears the word of God, but allows possessions and cares to matter much more.  It's a heart condition that not only allows for the development of idols, but results in no spiritual fruit.  They may look like they have it all together, but the word of God has not been given the opportunity to reside in their hearts.  There's too much other stuff taking up the place where Christ asks to be.

4. Grounded Heart (Luke 8:15): A Grounded Heart hears the word of God.  And receives it.  It's an odd phenomenon that is so incredibly easy, yet so few choose it.  It's a heart condition that results in a great relationship with Christ and the growth of spiritual fruit.  And it's a heart condition that I personally strive to achieve.

I have discovered that in life, we're going to have to deal with all four types of heart conditions.  We're going to grow frustrated, heartbroken, and feel hopeless at times.  We're going to feel like we're wasting our prayers on people who will never change. We're not going to be able to understand people and we're going to wonder why God can't just backhand our loved ones into some intelligence and wisdom.  I understand that; I've been there. 

But verse 16 encourages us to be examples, to be good influences so that all heart conditions know what a Grounded Heart looks like, even if they don't choose it for themselves.  We can't change people.  We can't control people, their actions, or their choices.  They determine the condition of their heart and, as difficult as it may be at times, we have to leave that to them.  But it is our job to check our hearts and to be a lighted candle before the world. 

Don't grow weary in doing good, for you will reap if you faint not.  Keep praying, keep believing, and don't lose heart.  Let God have control.  And don't allow the condition of someone else's heart or the choices of someone else to beat the life out of you.  Remember that your prayers are worthwhile, but that the ultimate choice is not yours.  And you shouldn't beat yourself up over that.  Live your life abundantly before God!  There is joy unspeakable found in His glory.  God bless. 

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