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    Landscape of the Heart

    Every day we see Christians whose lives have been exposed to the Bible and its teachings but are not changed by it August 21, 2009 by Nancy Turley
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought
    2009-02-18_0019Biblical geography brings new understanding and meaning to Scripture. The hillside leading to the Mount of Beatitudes is filled with rock, thorns, beaten paths and occasional lush areas of vegetation and growth. In Matthew 13, Jesus uses the agriculture of the land to explain why some fail to grasp the truth. Jesus knew that the people would naturally identify with and understand the farmer and his methods. The land was used to illustrate the message on His heart. This landscape became a great challenge to me as I now understood why Jesus referred to the ground and plant life when describing the hearts of His followers.

    Jesus was a master teacher. It has been estimated that one-third of Jesus' teachings were done through parables. By telling stories in parables, Jesus created curiosity by revealing just enough truth to heighten the desire for more but He also concealed enough truth that those who really weren't interested in hearing about the Kingdom would be uninspired. By using parables, Jesus would simplify the hard concepts of Scripture. Still, many failed to understand. It's ironic that He would use a parable to explain why this would be!

    Parables place the truth of the Kingdom along side every day events and situations. Jesus' hope was that the people would relate to the truth by realizing the profound lessons of Kingdom life in the world around them. The ability to understand these teachings from Jesus was determined by their willingness and desire to know Christ himself. People were not restricted from understanding; rather they limited themselves by being satisfied to live lives without God.

    As we left the Mount of Beatitudes, I had to wonder how often I failed to understand a truth that God wanted to reveal to me because my heart was dull and my ears hard of hearing? Have I been content when, in fact, I should have had a holy discontent because I longed for more Kingdom truth? I was reminded that the more I knew Christ personally, the more I would understand the principles of His Kingdom.

    1 Corinthians 2:12-14 reminds us that it is impossible for unspiritual people to fully understand spiritual truths.

    “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

    Every day we see Christians whose lives have been exposed to the Bible and its teachings but they are not changed by it. They are content with mediocrity and never go deeper in their faith. This is very sad because they will never truly understand the joy of abundant living.

    Scripture is very clear that the impact of Jesus' teaching in our lives is determined by our fruit. This is possible only when the soil of my heart is receptive to His word. Understanding is reserved for those who are serious about living for Christ. Only then will we begin to grasp the secrets of the Kingdom.

    nancy_turleyNancy Turley is the territorial abuse advisor for the Canada and Bermuda Territory. She and her husband, Joel, attend the Bracebridge Corps with their three children: Ethan, Aidan and Jordan. Nancy enjoys hiking in Algonquin Park with her family. Her column will feature reflections from her journey to the Holy Land.

    Comment

    On Wednesday, September 23, 2009, Rodey Burt said:

    Nancy once again you have inspired and challenged me in my own spiritual life. It is so true that people fail to move on into the deeper more abundant life in Christ because they are just not serious about living for Christ.

    Once again you have caused me to reflect on a song this time, from our Salvation Army Song Book.
    Song 435
    Only as I truly know thee
    Can I make thee truly known;
    Only bring the power to others
    Which in my own life is shown.

    Show thy power in me, show thy power in me,
    That I may be used for others;
    Show thy power in me.


    Thanks Nancy for the inspiration!

    On Thursday, September 3, 2009, Sandra Cooper said:

    Hi Nancy:

    Thank you for once again sharing spiritual insight from your own personal experience that inspires me on my faith journey.

    Blessings!

    Sandra

    On Saturday, August 22, 2009, Philip said:

    My dear Nancy,

    Thank you for your 'reflection'. Why is it that so many of us 'Western' Christians "are content with mediocrity and never go deeper into [our] faith"?
    Wordsworth was not far off the mark:

    The world is too much with us; late and soon,
    Getting and spending we lay waste our powers,
    .............................................
    We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon...

    An apt depiction of modern life, don't you think?

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