Overcoming a heavy and hardened heart

Each week I face an immense struggle. It is one that sometimes is easy but sometimes feels like an immense task.

This is my struggle: to tap my smartphone screen three times.

Ridiculous, isn’t it.

Yet these three taps of a smartphone screen are what is needed each week to open up my Bible (tap #1), find my place in the Bible (tap #2), and start the audio player so that the silken-voiced David Suchet can speak God’s Word to me as I read (tap #3).

Three taps of a screen… yet the effort that is needed sometimes feels immense.

Do what you know not what you feel

While filming for Video Bible Talks last week down in Eastbourne, I was privileged to catch up with some friends from my time at Bible College.

As we sat on the pebbles, my friend asked us if we had any tips for reigniting our hearts for Jesus. For my friend, the summertime brought a lull in regular ministry opportunities which meant a lull in the times that she needed to open her Bible as she met with others.

For me, this was a really encouraging conversation. Here were people who I respected and looked up to as faithful Gospel ministers… and they had the same hard and heavy heart struggles as me.

The reality is that the times that we eagerly open our Bibles to hear the King of All Creation speak to us will be eclipsed by the times that we come to our Bibles feeling like a lead weight is hanging round our necks and dragging on our hearts.

This morning was one such time.

What do I do in this situation? What was the consensus among my friends of the best way to overcome the onset of apathy in our fervour for Jesus?

The answer: do what you know, not what you feel.

I feel like reading my Bible is the last thing I want to do… yet I know it is the best thing for me and one of the key points in my week*. This morning I felt that reading about Jeremiah speaking to Zedekiah (Jeremiah 34) in my Bible was going to be hard work and probably not that relevant or applicable, yet I knew that by the Holy Spirit the LORD himself is and will speak to me as read his Word with an open and penitent heart.

And you know what?

As I did what I know to be best rather than what I felt was best, my heart was encouraged, my burden lifted… and it felt like I was doing the right and best thing.

I don’t think the same could be said if I had gone with my feelings, do you? If I had followed my feelings and not read my Bible, I doubt my head would be thinking, ‘Hmm… you know what, not reading your Bible is the best thing after all.’

So stick with what you know, not what you feel.

Grab your Bible and spend some time listening to your Creator and Redeemer.

 

* I have a weekly pattern of ‘quiet times’ where I read and meditate on a big block of the Bible on a Monday morning and then have shorter devotional readings each day.