MT 13:15 For this people's heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.'
When we walk down the street, we can occasionally find ourselves walking by
some poor homeless person with his or her hand drawn out, asking for help.
What do we often do? We look away. It is an ugly site.
The site may invoke compassion in our hearts. But rather than act on this
compassion, we choose to smother it and instead scurry on our ways towards our
important destination. After all, we have things to do. We just finished another
hard day slaving at work. Not like this person. We donít have time. Maybe some
other time. If the person had a shower and tried harder, maybe they could get a
The excuses start flying and our hearts inch further towards greater
LK 3:7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood
of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in
keeping with repentance.  The ax is already at the root of the trees, and
every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into
LK 3:10 "What should we do then?" the crowd asked.
LK 3:11 John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who
has none, and the one who has food should do the same."
In our worry over our little lives, it is easy to forget about the plight of
those who are worse off than us. We are too concerned with our own aims, goals
and afflictions that we leave no room in our hearts to care about others.
But by closing our hearts in this way, we are making ourselves numb to the
glory of the Holy Spirit we inherited from Jesus. The love and grace that
initially drew us to a dedication towards Jesus start to seem like distant
concepts and gibberish; and we drift from God.
REV 2:4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 
Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you
did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your
lampstand from its place.
But as the Jews would often drift from God and God eventually brought them
back by his own hand, we too are brought back by God into his family.
DT 29:22 Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners
who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the
land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it.  All the
nations will ask: "Why has the LORD done this to this land?
DT 29:25 And the answer will be: "It is because this people abandoned the
covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, the covenant he made with them
when he brought them out of Egypt.
DT 30:1 When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon
you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among
the nations,  and when you and your children return to the LORD your God
and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to
everything I command you today,  then the LORD your God will restore your
fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations
where he scattered you.  The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and
the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart
and with all your soul, and live.
 Now choose life, so that you and your children may live  and that
you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For
the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to
give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
So it is the same in the new testament. We start to wander away from the life
that God, through Jesus, offered us. We start to forget about the beautiful
grace and love we first felt when we were close to Jesus and start to become
increasingly consumed in our own worries. As Jesus explained about the farmer
sowing the seeds, the worries in our lives are like thorns which strangle the
word of God in our hearts. Or the pride in our hearts, like Satan swooping down
and stealing the word, the seed lying along the path.
So it is natural for us to fall away from God. It is our natural instinct to
worry about our own problems for, after all, we are only creatures of survival,
born in houses of flesh but now offered freedom from this through the spirit.
Therefore, God is always at work in our hearts. God, the farmer sowing the
seed, is at work preparing the soil in our hearts so that it can produce a good
crop. With the ox before him, God tills the soil in our hearts, overturning the
old with the new, uprooting old roots, exposing the soft parts of our hearts, so
that his word can take root and have effect in our lives.
RO 8:20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own
choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope  that the
creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into
the glorious freedom of the children of God.
2CO 1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships
we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond
our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our
hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely
on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
Therefore, when you pray, you should pray to God to help you keep a clean
heart. Not like the prayer sung by Janis Joplin, "Oh Lord, wonít you buy me a
Mercedes Benz," but the prayer that comes out of a sincere heart that desires to
be closer to God. God is our potter, and for him to form out of us the mastery
of his vision and art, he may occasionally have to break us down, like dry
unformed clay in the strength of his hand, crushed (our pride) to a powder only
to be added with water, which is his love and compassion, so that we may become
soft and wieldable. If we are not, soft and wieldable, then we are proud,
joining the way of the others who choose to serve their own selfish aims. Not
caring about their starving brother. Not expressing compassion for those who are
worse off than they (for we will always find such people worse off than us) but
choosing instead to harden their hearts and as such lose the life which we first
felt when we discovered Jesus or which we feel the most after times of
Therefore, brothers and sisters, I ask that you open your hearts to God,
wield yourselves to his will, and pray that his good work may break the pride
that Satan tries to build up in us. Pray that God may break the hard and callous
clay in our hearts, if necessary through suffering, so that we may feel the full
joy of the new life, for it is the heart, after all, which experiences any joy.