Monday, April 02, 2007

“THIS Is What I Was Talkin’ About!”

In the last edition of “Fanning The Flame” I wrote about the importance of cultivating “family friendly” churches and the metaphor of “preparing for rain.” The idea of the “rain” is that God sends revival showers throughout history. These are often outpourings of spiritual blessing that can often be experienced simply “storms and floods” for those who are unprepared.

The difference between the rain becoming a life-giving blessing or a perilous curse is in the preparation of the soil. When Jesus uses soil as a metaphor for the human heart, or spiritual receptivity, He says that hard soil represents the hard, resistant heart while soft, broken up soil pictures the receptive heart that is ready to produce multi-generational fruit.

This week I have had the privilege of watching God soften the heart of a man as an incident occurred with his young daughter. I cannot give many details here out of respect for his privacy. But what I saw in this man was a father’s heart becoming truly softened toward the Heavenly Father and toward his daughter at the same time as he humbly sought the Lord’s grace through confession before a few other men, asked forgiveness of his daughter and became committed to personal holiness.

It was amazing to watch the Heavenly Father use this situation to cleanse, purify and revive this man’s heart. As He did this you could just see that with this husband/father leading the way, his entire family’s hearts were becoming more cultivated, more receptive to God, more ready for the “rain.” The result is that multi-generational fruit will be born in this family. As I watched God do His work in this family I believe I heard the Heavenly Father whisper, “This is what revival will be like, except it will be the norm, as it will happen to many of my sons and daughters!”

Keeping with the soil metaphor, I have come to believe that the biggest problem facing us men is that we have small areas, hidden areas of self indulgence, lust or pride in our hearts that we allow to harden through our ability to “compartmentalize.” Compartmentalization isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. We have been created as men with a special talent to be able to screen out one thing in order to focus on another. That is what makes us great hunters and warriors! But spiritually, our ability to compartmentalize can be a liability if we are not willing to bring it under Christ’s loving leadership.

I have found the biggest protector for me in this area of compartmentalization is my wife and my children who are truly “Compartment Busters” in my life. The process is often not very pleasant, but the Heavenly Father uses my family members to shine His light into the areas I have foolishly attempted to seal away, allowed to harden or to be kept in the dark. But if I am willing to listen and not harden my heart to them, they will give me the feedback I need that leads me towards integrity or “integration.” I can be soft hearted and ready for the "rain" in my life and the life of my family.

How has your family helped you break up the soil of a hard heart in a specific area of your life? Please click the comment link below.


Anonymous said...

I like your soil analogy and know that only when the soil of my own heart has been "broken up" is there any chance for God to do His work in my life. Often this is somewhat painful but always the results are well worth the pain of the process. Come on rain!

Pastor Michael Hunter said...

My heart is always tilled by the reality that I am to lead my family and in doing so I can't close off areas of my life if plan on being an effective leader in my home. So I have had to swollow some hard thing,talk about uneasy topic and learn that being ridgid hurt the whole family which in return quadruples the problems and hurts I must be compasionate to my family if I am going to be a succeful Husband, father and pastor.


Anonymous said...

The soil within all of us goes through constant changes in preparation, tilling, fertilizing, planting, growing, etc. You get the picture. But if this soil is not nurtured and fed with the rain that God has provided it does become hard and begin to crack. If left untended, it will do nothing but kick up dust.

As one who has the ministering gift of perceiver, that heart can also stumble into the pitfall of being judgemental and a critical spirit. My family has helped me to work through the DNA that God placed in me of always being so black and white. They have helped me to look at the glass as always half full... never half empty. Thanks for your message Jamie.