John Piper’s article, “Satan Takes the Word” from DesiringGod.org resonates as it explains the parable of the sower. In the explanation detailed in the above article, Piper tells his audience how to prepare their hearts for the Word. It is tremendously valuable; I advise you to read it. It is in reflection of that article that I pose the following question: how do you prepare your heart for God’s Rhema Word? If you follow the reference link, you will find that rhema is the insight/knowledge/message that the Holy Spirit would like to speak directly into your heart personally to direct, lead and encourage you. How does one prepare for such personal communication from the Holy Spirit and when it comes, are you willing to be led?
I am like a donkey, I kick my heels in and find myself “kicking against the goads” pushing against the very One who loves me the most in this season of singleness. Sometimes when my heart has not been properly watered, lacks nutrients and hasn’t been recently tilled, my heart refuses the One I love, Jesus. Yet, during this season, nothing is more important than leaning into the comfort, the love, the affection and the validation of the One who loves me more than everyone on the planet combined.
In my exploration of what it means to have a tender heart to the Lord, to be willing to obey, to have the desire to please Him and to say “yes” every time His beckoning calls, I must have a tender heart. (My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” Psalms 27:8 NLT).
Here are a few things I’ve noticed about permitting the tenderizing process of my heart- from stone to flesh:
- Worship – When I find myself grumpy, or silent in spirit, I need fertilizer. There is a drastic difference between the atmosphere in my heart when I have been listening to worship, and not secular music or nothing at all. Worship stirs the affections of the lover toward the loved and should not be taken lightly. What is the difference between a pastor getting up to speak first, instead of worship first? The atmosphere! To change the atmosphere of your heart, try worship music. After turning on the style of your choice, your heart will tilt towards your Beloved King of Kings and the dull moments of your life will turn into extraordinary meetings with the divine. Turn it on, leave it on, watch your heart grow!
- Community– Sometimes it’s nice to stay in. Sometimes work is hard, and you are tired, and there is this and that to do, but community life is vital! Through the fellowship of other believers, we are made strong. When we are weak, we have prayers from our brothers and sisters. When we are discouraged, we are encouraged! “Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense.“ (Proverbs 18:1 NLT). Community is the kneading done in the heart. It is the massaging, the tilling and it works the Word past the tough rocks like unforgiveness, bitterness, and unanswered questions of your heart. Without tilling the soil, the fruit is hindered.
- Word – The Word is the seed. If it does not go in, nothing can grow! In times of intense discontentment and frustration, the cause is often missed my Bible reading. When we read/listen to the Word, we find ourselves thinking of how to apply the Word through various situations. Scriptures that respond to everyday concerns pop into our heads and tell us to press on. The Word is as critically important as food, and we need it every single day. As in the natural, in the spiritual, there are many ways to get your daily Bible allowance.
We were all born into iniquity. None of us are righteous. Since we still live in the flesh, we have to daily choose our spirit man over our flesh (refer to Galatians 5:17 below). The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
To win the fight, obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading is required, and to achieve a transformational obedience, a fertile, ripe, and ready heart’s is necessary. When we have a tender heart, we are most ready to receive the rhema Word of our Heavenly Father who leads, guides and orders our lives.
Galatians 5:16-18 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. (NLT)
Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. (NLT)