Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
–2 Timothy 4:2
Jesus told the parable of the sower in Matthew 13 to explain why some people receive the Word of God and other people do not. What is the significance of this story for us today? I want to mention two applications of this parable. The first applies when we share God’s Word with others: our job is not to manufacture the message; our job is simply to spread the message.
Sometimes people will ask me, “Pastor, how do you feel when you give the invitation at the end of the service, and nobody comes forward? You must feel awful.” Not really. I am always sorry when people do not respond to the truth of God’s Word. But I am not responsible for the response. My job is simply to spread the message; the response is between the listener and God.
That is true for you as well. Maybe you have somebody in your life who is not a Christian. You know you need to share the gospel with them, but you are hesitant to do so because you are not sure how they will respond. That is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is simply to share the truth. Or maybe you know a fellow Christian who is living apart from God. There is a word of exhortation, a word of correction, you need to share with them from God’s Word, but you have not done so because you do not know how they will respond. Again, you are not responsible for the response–only for sharing the truth.
The second application applies to us when we listen to the Word of God. Maybe you have heard the message of salvation over and over again, yet you have not responded. Remember, even if you feel like responding right now, you will not always be able to respond. It is possible to so harden our hearts against God that we cannot receive the truth of His Word.
Perhaps there was a time when you were so excited about your relationship with God, but your lack of spiritual foundation or the concerns of this world have strangled out the love you once had for God. You are totally focused on this world instead of the next one. What can you do to change the condition of your heart? Absolutely nothing. You cannot change the condition of your heart. But God can, and He promises to do so if you will ask Him. Ezekiel 36:26-27 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes.” God can change your heart today if you will ask Him to.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Matters Of The Heart” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org