Matthew 13:15, 16 & 19
FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL [hardened], WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’
(16) “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
(19) “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. (NASB)
As I write this today I’m remembering a situation that I encountered in my own heart some years ago…
I was in a church that God had placed me in, but I was disappointed in what I was doing there.
I felt dishonored. I felt dishonored by the pastor, I felt dishonored by the people & I felt dishonored by God.
The pastor preached & taught good sermons & lessons but I felt like I had heard them all, either through him or someone else. I found myself parched & not being fed. I was starving & thirsting for new life & he (the pastor) just wasn’t giving it to me.
One Sunday morning I was feeling rather disgusted with the whole situation & while the pastor was preaching I just started praying to God about how much I needed to be fed & watered spiritually & I just wasn’t getting it. What the Lord said to me next ROCKED me…
“Do you THINK that this service is just for you?
If you’re not getting anything out of it, the least you could do is pray for the service, the pastor & for others that are here to receive from it.” -God
I was expecting God to tell me how right I was & that I needed to go to another church, or that the pastor would soon be replaced or anything that would VALIDATE MY thinking!
BUT No. I was being reprimanded in love for my selfishness & lack of thought for others. I was being reprimanded for my lack of expectation & humility. (I’m not too big on using ‘Selah’ like I see some people using it these days, but if I ever did, this would be a good place for it :- )
Instantly, I repented & began to seek the Holy Spirit for prayers that were of the heart of God & not my own hardened heart.
I began to pray for the people, for the service, for the pastor… for the will of God to be done here in our earthly service as in heaven.
Almost immediately, I felt a change in my heart. Something lifted.
Over the next few weeks, something amazing happened. I started being fed again. I started having my spiritual thirst quenched… and by the same man that I was complaining about just a few weeks before.
But the pastor hadn’t changed. He was still preaching the same great messages he had been preaching the whole time.
It was I, that had changed. The reality that I had perceived, had changed.
In His grace, God had shown me that there was MUCH MUCH more going on than just a hungry sheep in need of nutrition. What was actually happening is that THE Shepherd was guiding my shepherd to lead me to good food & drink, but I, the deceived sheep, was not eating & drinking the good supply.
I, through my wrong thinking, had cut myself off from the overflowing supply of God.
In the verses from Matthew above, I highlighted some key words that show us exactly how this works. I think that its a very good thing to meditate on these points:
- OUR hearts can be hardened & dulled.
- It happens when we CHOOSE thoughts & actions that close our ears & eyes.
- If we choose to repent & open them, we WILL be healed.
- BLESSED are open eyes & ears!
- Stolen seeds of God’s Word happen when we choose to be closed.
You see, my wrong thoughts closed my heart & understanding & therefore cut off my supply.
What YOU DO & THINK affects what you see & get.
Another change that amazed me as time passed was that my reality started to change. I thought I was possibly in a bad church or under a bad preacher, but that wasn’t the case at all. The ministry was actually doing GREAT, but my hardened heart had changed my perceived reality. As a result, I stopped looking for the bad in other ministries around the world & started looking for the good that I could praise God for. (see Phillipians 4:8)
Through that change, the most amazing thing happened: I started to see what was actually going on AND THAT turned out to be very positive. It was MUCH more positive than what I had thought before.
Today, because of having failed in this area, I see it clearly when people are doing this. I see many pastors, ministers and leaders making the exact same mistake that I made. As a result they don’t operate in the unity, power & fullness of joy that God has for them. Instead they linger in bitterness and anger, complaining and preaching about the lack of spiritual nutrition in other ministries.
Reality is sometimes different than what we perceive, when we’ve closed parts of our hearts & minds.
As a result, my whole attitude turned to joy instead of constantly being down & critical.
All of this negative in my life was produced in a Christian, that had allowed the enemy & their flesh to influence & think on wrong thoughts instead of CHOOSING LIFE & expecting great things.
Jesus showed us that proper choices & thoughts will cause our eyes & ears to be BLESSED!
Will YOU have blessed eyes & ears today?