“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him” (Jeremiah 18:1-4).
We see the picture of a Potter with the clay, working on it over and over again. He was able to re-shape the clay because it was soft. In our Christian lives our hearts can become hard and therefore God is not able to speak to us or help us change our ways.
Let us listen to Bible teacher K.P. Yohannan as he gives us 3 reasons for our hearts becoming hard and 6 wonderful remedies for our heart to remain soft in our walks with God.
What Causes Our Hearts to Become Hard?
1. Being poisoned by negative talk. One person in a church or ministry is dissatisfied, bitter, critical and unwilling to change. He starts to talk negatively and poisons others. Soon the atmosphere of love among the brothers and sisters is replaced by disunity, anger and hardness of heart toward each other and the Lord.
2. An elevated view of ourselves. We feel important because we do something significant for God's Kingdom, and we don't recognize that our heart is filled with pride, arrogance and an exalted view of ourselves. Often the symptoms don't show up until years later when our heart is no longer soft in the Potter's hand.
3. Rebellion. Any form of rebellion is like a tiny seed that, if not dealt with, will grow and eventually harden our heart and bring destruction. It begins with a tiny issue or a thought like this one: “Who does he think he is to tell me what to do? My life is none of his business!”—and it ultimately ends in death.
What Should We Do to Keep Our Hearts Soft?
1. Don't take God's grace for granted. Grace is given to those who are humble, not to those who are right or feel indispensable.
2. Watch over your heart (Proverbs 4:23). Don't keep company with those who spread negative talk, sow disunity or have a rebellious spirit. Love them and pray for them, but have no part with them. Believe me, you and I are not strong enough to withstand the poison they spread. It's in the atmosphere, and we breathe it in whether we intend to or not.
3. Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21). Don't fight for your rights. Be willing to give up something. Learn to let it be.
4. Don't think of yourself more highly than you should (Romans 12:3). Remember that all the gifts, talents and ministry you have are given to you by the Lord. Nothing is of yourself. It's all God's grace.
5. Be careful from whom you receive your counsel. That's especially important when you are disappointed because your expectations are not met. Don't go to a brother or sister who is not mature in the Lord and who sympathizes and agrees with your complaints and tears. Instead, go to someone who is mature and who can help you see the hand of God and His purpose behind the things you face.
6. Repent and run to the cross. If need be, do this a thousand times a day to maintain the tenderness of your heart. Whenever you seek the limelight, want to take credit, get hurt or when your expectations are not fulfilled and your plans don't work out, don't fight; go to the cross.
God always seeks to do one thing with us on the Potter's wheel—not to make us more powerful and famous, but to make us more like His Son, the Lord Jesus.