April 19th

Responsive Heart 

11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. 13 "Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD's anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us." 18 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD , 'This is what the LORD , the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD . 20 Therefore I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.' " So they took her answer back to the king.  2 Kings 22:11,13,18-20 NIV 

The books of I and II Kings give many examples of kings who did evil.  There were a few kings who followed the Lord and King Josiah of Judah was one of them.  This passage described Josiah’s reaction to the reading of God’s Law.  Josiah humbled himself before God, mourning the sin of his country and himself.  He tore his robes and wept in God’s presence because of the sin.  These actions were meaningful to God, but what meant most to God was the fact that Josiah’s heart was responsive to truth when it was revealed to him.    

Considering our own struggles with sin, we can ask ourselves if our hearts are being responsive to the truth about our sin.  Repentance is easy to talk about, but difficult to carry out to completion.  I believe that part of the problem comes from the pleasure we love to get from sin.  We are reluctant to surrender our bodies completely to God, because we don’t want to give up pleasure.  We have difficulty believing that God is good and has better pleasures reserved for us than sin could offer us.   We may say, “Lord, I’m really sorry I sinned,” but then continue on our way, failing to make meaningful changes in our routine that will help us avoid temptations.  We may even keep a secret spot in our minds where we keep cherished memories of sin (often sexual) that we can go back to in a moment of need.   

When our hearts are responsive to the truth, we make changes that show true repentance.  True repentance takes action that makes it difficult or impossible to continue on in the same sin.  Here are some examples of true repentance:

·        Throwing out the porn videos AND canceling the membership

·        Turning control of the computer over to the husband or wife; installing a filter with a password that only they have

·        Destroying the porn mags before throwing them out

·        Changing your travel route so you don’t drive anywhere near the strip club/porn shop/bordello/etc.

·        Training your mind to think on godly things whenever you catch yourself fantasizing about sex

·        Looking away before your gaze turns to lust

·        Committing to not viewing any movies or TV shows containing sexual images or innuendo

If your heart is not responding to the truth the way it should, you can pray for help to revive it.  God is available to help any person that calls on him, no matter how far into the pit he may have fallen.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer (for reviving a responsive heart):  

"Lord Jesus, I confess that my heart is not as responsive as it needs to be to follow You.  I am tired of backsliding into sin. Lord, please cleanse me from my sin of thought and deed. Please allow Your cleansing blood to flow through my hardened, crusty heart. Please give me new life in my heart and revive it according to Your righteousness. Please restore my sensitivity to sin and help me to see sin as You see it. Jesus, please give me the strength and commitment to move forward confidently and walk with You in obedience. I offer my entire being, body, soul and spirit, to do Your will from this point on. Thank you for helping me! Amen."