May 05, 2010

Challenge to Change

Hebrews 3:7-11

“Do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing …”
Hebrews 3:8


Times are tough, spiritually tough. In some parts of the world it’s harder to live as a Christian than it was years ago. I find that true for myself. The Christian virtues of humility and contentment are out of step with the culture I live in. But thankfully there are other parts of the world where it is now easier to live as a Christian.

Whether our culture makes it easier or harder to be a Christian, we are all challenged to soften our hearts so that the Holy Spirit may shape us to become like Jesus. That was the challenge for God’s Old Testament people (see Psalm 95), and our verse for today quotes those same words so that none of us will miss the point personally.

But how soft is my heart? How open am I to the Spirit’s work? How easily do I accept the place God has for me in his world? How do I react when I am spiritually tested and I fail by giving in to temptation?

If we are honest, we’ll admit we are often like the Israelites who grumbled against God. After all, we are as human as they.

We need to continually take stock of our openness to God’s Spirit. The spiritual disciplines of prayer and meditation on Scripture will help prepare the soil of our hearts for God’s leading.

O Holy Spirit, make my heart warm, soft, and pliable—open to your work. Heal my spiritual hard-heartedness for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Jack Gray

Jack Gray recently retired after forty years as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. During that time he served seven churches from coast to coast in the United States. He and his wife, Wanda, have four sons and three grandchildren. They also have ministered to 44 foster children. This month’s devotions are inspired by his reflections on time at this transition in his life.

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