Sunday, February 26, 2012


If you'd like to see this video full screen, first click of the top portion of the video where your see the title "Listening to Jesus as a Lifestyle." Then click in the box in the lower left hand corner of the YouTube projector to play it full screen.


God is always speaking, but are we actually listening? Throughout the entire history of the Bible, God pleads with His people to open their hearts and ears to Him. Sadly, most people turn God a deaf ear. Only exceptional individuals truly listened like Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Job, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, etc. in the Old Testament. Then In the New Testament we read of listeners like Jesus Himself, Mary Magdalene, John, James, Paul, Priscilla, Timothy, and others.

A crucial and indispensable thought that’s repeated in both the Old & New Testament is:

   From Psalm 95:7-9
For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers tested Me, they tried Me, though they had seen My work.

   Hebrews 3:7-8, (Also in Hebrews 3:12, and 4:7
Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness.”

The word in NT Greek for heart is kardia, while the word for harden is skleruno. In English, the medical term cardio sclerosis can be traced back to combining these two Greek words. The literal meaning of cardio sclerosis is the “induration of the heart, caused by development of fibrous tissue in the cardiac muscle” (Source).

However, according to the teaching the God’s word, cardio sclerosis can also be a spiritual illness. Many of would-be disciples of Jesus Christ are infected by this impoverishing illness.

The primary obstacle to hearing from God in a personal way is the induration of the spiritual heart leading to lack of inclination and closed receptivity to the supernatural communication from God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 


Most of us have gone through huge disappointments in our lives. We may have been abused in some way growing up, never known good parenting, lost a loved one, experienced divorce in marriage, failed at something that was extremely important to us, been hobbled in life by an accident or threatening disease, been overlooked for a promotion, been sexually touched against our will, been beaten by one of our parents, lost all the money we invested, … the list goes on and on and on.

Hebrews 12:15 gives us some excellent advise: See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled. Loses can induce us toward developing a stubborn and life-threatening case of spiritual cardio sclerosis.


(Lipitor and Zocor are the two most well know medications to prevent hardening of our physical arteries due to high cholesterol).

You won’t have to go to your family doctor or visit the pharmacy to deal with the spiritual version of cardio sclerosis. You also won’t need to spend a ton of money in expensive medical bills. But … you will have to do something to bring about a change in your heart!

The biblical word “repent” (Greek-metanoeo) means “to change one’s mind for the better, adopt another view, or to change one’s thinking.” This is God’s remedy for a hard that’s been hardened. This is God’s remedy for the hardness of heart that keeps us from hearing the voice of the Master.


Lord Jesus, You said You came to bring healing to the brokenhearted. One aspect of brokenness that I struggle with is cardio sclerosis. Jesus, I see in Your word that You were in touch with your heart. You experienced emotion and expressed your heart in appropriate ways. Your capacity to live from Your heart enhanced Your ability to be intimate with the Father and to connect with needy people.

I recognize that over time I’ve hardened my heart. I want to repent, to change my thinking, and adopt a new and better point of view. Would You be pleased empower me to truly repent? I ask You to come now in a special way to reconnect my head with my heart.

I know this is not just an event, but it’s also a process. As You connect me more deeply to my heart, would You allow me to hear more clearly from You? Would you let me experience Your love more fully, Your joy more deeply, and Your peace more profoundly?

Would you also permit me to grow in compassion, sympathy, and empathy so that, like You, I would be moved with compassion toward the lost and broken people who surround me? I thank You that this is something You’re willing and eager to do for me.

The above prayer is adapted from A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer, NavPress, pp. 48-49.

The late songwriter and prophet Keith Green had an evangelistic song entitled Soften Your Heart.” If you click on the title you can watch it on YouTube. The song repeats this line several times: “You won't find a thing until you soften your heart.”

I’d love to hear from you. Where are you at in your journey of listening and inner-healing prayer? What questions to you have? How is God at work in and through your life? What stories can you tell to encourage others?


  1. Rusty, a good word. Thankyou. Today I had a fight with my wife on the phone (we are separated by my duty assignment). Now I am about to enjoy a second glass of wine and a meal of comfort food. I struggle with porn in moments like this. I am trying to turn my emotions to God and to listen. I also feel emotional pain and feel distance from God most of the time. I want to hear God. How can I know the tangible presence of Christ? I don't know if I am hard but in the OT he came to the patriarchs tangibly so they knew his presence. Thanks. I believe you are on to something very important here.

  2. To anonymous,

    I’m glad you sensed the post on the relationship between listening to God and the condition of the heart was a good word. I’m sorry to hear of the argument with your wife and your separation due to your duty assignment. Most men are especially vulnerable to sexual temptation when they are experiencing marital distress due to an argument. By what you wrote, it sounds like you're aware that this “trigger” can easily lead you into acting out with porn.

    Due to the fight and being away from home, you probably feel pretty disconnected from your wife. You also said you were feeling emotional pain and distant from God. Perhaps looking at sexually explicit content gives you a momentary false kind of emotion sense of connection … and it kind of medicates the pain. The only problem is that after acting out, most Christian men feel lots of shame and self-contempt. It can be a vicious cycle that repeats itself over and over.

    I was wondering if you might be willing to ask God to help you identify what emotion(s) you were or are feeling in the midst of your pain. If you have a hard time identifying your feelings, there’s a list of emotions that might help you discern the exactly what you’re feeling on the blog under “Tools.” Then, if you’d like to drop me another note to let me know the emotion you discovered, we could take some additional steps that could be helpful in seeing God meet you in the midst of your pain.

    Thinking and praying for you - Rusty