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“Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7
One cause of hard-heartedness is the presence of apathy. The definition of apathy is "complete lack of emotion about a human being, a thing or an activity." Apathy is our enemy. We must reject this bitter spirit. We must choose to love. We must choose to feel. God is an emotional God. The Bible says that He created us in His image. He masterfully created our hearts to experience many emotions, such as love and joy, but also anger and sorrow.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary says "apathy, impassivity, and indifference all denote a lack of responsiveness to something that might normally excite interest or emotion; apathy suggests a puzzling lack of passion; impassivity stresses the absence of any external sign of emotion in action or facial expression." Jesus was not passive or indifferent, nor did He behave with apathy. He was filled with emotions and His emotions (or passions) led Him to act. When He saw an injustice, He was filled with emotion and was led to try to put an end to it. We see an example of this in a story found in the book of Matthew. Here we see Jesus filled with righteous anger when He observed that His Father's house was not being treated with reverence. We read, "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out those engaged in selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves" (Matthew 21:12).
Many people think that if they get angry then they are sinning. Jesus got angry in this account, and yet, the Bible tells us that Jesus was without sin. "He made Him who knew no sin" (2 Corinthians 5:21). What is a sin, is if someone has offended us in word or deed, and we let our anger fester and turn into hatred. And if hatred is allowed to live in our hearts, then this becomes murder. The Bible says, "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (1 John 3:15). This Biblical concept reminds me of a scene from a well-known true story called The Hiding Place, which tells of the life of Corrie Ten Boom, who endured the horrors of a concentration camp during WWII. Corrie had just witnessed her sister Betsy get beaten by a female prison warden when Betsy approaches her and says, "No, don’t hate, Corrie. You must love and forgive.” Corrie knew that she was unable, so she prayed to God and felt that He reminded her of a Scripture, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). She goes on to say, “At that moment, when I was able to forgive, my hatred disappeared." It is only by the grace of God that we can allow our hearts to love in the face of hatred.
We must not allow any part of our heart to harden, because if we do, then we become unfeeling toward others, ourselves and God. When we build a fortress around our hearts, it becomes easy to give into the enemy's temptations, such as to kill ourselves, to take another person's life in revenge or to blatantly work for the devil as a witch who chooses to curse God and His people. I know of a "church woman" who put a hit out on a man who raped her handicapped sister. She felt justified in releasing vengeance against her sister's perpetrator. I know of a man who bought a gun and went to the house of the man who was having an affair with his wife. In both these cases, hatred had settled in their hearts, and a spirit of murder crept in through the door. By the grace of God, neither person went through with their act of hatred.
A hard heart can also manifest in passivity, which is often found in association with apathy. The definition of passivity is "acceptance of what happens without active response or resistance." Passivity keeps us from taking action to stop an act of injustice. We often read of stories in the news where people idly stand by and watch a terrible crime unfold in front of them. Another example is a person who hears his neighbor beating his wife and does not call the authorities to put an end to it. Apathy, passivity and indifference have crept into these hearts. They have chosen to put up fortresses around their hearts so that they don't have to feel, because feelings can be painful. However, we see throughout Jesus' years of ministry, how He was filled with compassion for others, and this caused Him to do an action that relieved others of their pain and burdens. Compassion is the opposite of apathy. The definition of compassion is "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others; feeling or sensitivity; soft-heartedness; or brotherly love." Jesus displayed compassion in this account found in Matthew, "Jesus was deeply moved with compassion...He touched their eyes and instantly they could see!" (Matthew 20:34TPT). Because Jesus shared the sorrow found in the hearts of the blind men, it caused Him to want to do something to relieve them of their sorrow. Jesus clearly did not possess a spirit of passivity.
Jesus was filled with sympathy. The meaning of sympathy is "understanding between people; or support in the form of shared feelings." We see an example of Jesus' sympathy in the book of John when Mary was weeping because her brother Lazarus had died. "When Jesus saw her weeping...He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled...Jesus wept" (John 11:33-35). Jesus shared Mary's feelings and so we see that Jesus displayed sympathy or soft-heartedness. I did an internet search and found an article that lists 23 Bible verses in Jesus' 3 years of ministry that speaks of Jesus having compassion and some include that He wept.
Tears are a sign that a heart is soft and feeling. A heart that weeps is a heart that is alive When the Tin Man wept in the movie The Wizard of Oz, he said, "Now I know I've got a heart!" Over the years, I've heard several people tell me, "I haven't cried in years!" These people may have the weed of apathy growing in their hearts.
My fellow-Christ followers, let's choose to love and feel. Let's pray and ask God to soften the hardened areas of our hearts with His hot, liquid love. Let's ask Him to pull out the weeds of apathy, passivity and indifference and cause the flowers of love, compassion and sympathy to grown in their place. May we pray and believe God's promise for us...“God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).
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To seduce means to entice someone into sexual activity; attract into sexual activity; attract powerfully; attract someone into a course of action that is foolhardy; lure or tempt.
There are 2 voices that claim to love; one is a voice that comes from the spirit of seduction, and the other is a voice that comes from the spirit of God. Both voices speak of love. Seduction says "Come, let us drink our fill of love," (Proverbs 7:18); and the spirit of God (Holy Spirit) says "Eat friends, drink! Drink freely of love!" (Song of Solomon).
The love we read of in the book of Song of Solomon is a pure and authentic love; love that gives life to one's spirit and soul (which leads to eternal life). The love we read of in chapter seven of the book of Proverbs is a fabrication or counterfeit love; a love that leads to death; death to the spirit as well as the soul (eternal damnation). The definition of fabricate is to invent or concoct, typically with deceitful intent; counterfeit.
How do we know pure love from counterfeit love? 1 John 4:8 tells us "God is love." We need to get to know God, and He will teach us what authentic love looks like. We need to ask Him to fill us with His Spirit so that His love will fill us and pour out of us. Once we know LOVE, Godly love, then we will be able to discern impure love; love that Seduction entices us to "drink." Don't do it! Don't even take a sip! It'll lead to your death! Run away! Run into the arms of God.
Continuing in Proverbs, we read, "She wins him over by her repeated urging; with her smooth lips she leads him astray. He follows her stupidly, like an ox that is led to slaughter" (Proverbs 7:21-22). You may be a married man whom Seduction entices to click on the blinking pop-up picture that you know leads to a porn site. Don't do it! It'll lead to the sin of adultery. It'll lead to you cheating on your wife. Shut it down. Run to your Bible. Jesus said "I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery in his heart" (Matthew 5:8). Or maybe you are a wife who's been married for 18 years and you haven't received the affections of your husband in months. Seduction may tell you that you deserve to be loved so you should accept the bouquet of flowers that a co-worker gave you. Don't be deceived! Look behind the cunning voice and you will find an evil snake that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy your life (John 10:10).
You may be a lonely 25-year-old, single woman whom Seduction tempts to accept a date's offer to just come up to his place for 1 coffee before you say goodbye. Seduction may tell you that you've waited long enough and that you can't abstain from sex any longer. Don't listen to that voice! Don't even take a sip of the counterfeit love that Seduction is offering you. Run into the arms of your Beloved Jesus who will offer you love that is authentic. Or maybe you are a young man who recently overcame same-sex attractions. Seduction may tempt you to make a quick stop at your old stomping grounds just to say hello to your old friends. Don't do it! Run to God's Word instead! His Word says "Let not your heart turn to her ways...for many are those she has struck down dead" (Proverbs 7:25-26).
My fellow Christ-followers, let's listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and choose purity, which leads to authentic love and life. And let's reject the voice of Seduction, the snake that leads to counterfeit love and death. Jesus said, "I have come that they would have life, and have it to the fullest" (John 10:10).
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Many men seek sex from a woman. They don't want to love or feel from their heart. Many women seek love from a man's heart. She gives him sex in hopes that one day he will return love with his heart. I am sure that there are women who fall into the same category as men who only want sex, but the numbers are far higher with men, as we see in the context of pornography users, buyers of women’s bodies for sex, customers at strip clubs, and modern brothels (such as massage parlors).
In today's secular world, lust is equal to love. They are one in the same. Some people wrongly think they love someone or that they are loved by a person, when what they are really feeling is lust. The definition of lust is "intense or unbridled sexual desire." This definition is not even close to the meaning of the word "love," as is defined throughout the Bible, God's instruction manual. Some people choose lust over love because they do not want to risk having their hearts broken. They settle for lust; an empty act; void of love.
Many men choose to have sex with images on a screen. They engage in acts of self-pleasure. They don't have to give their heart to the woman on the screen. There's no threat of having their heart broken. It's safe. There's no love to be found here. Only lust. Some married men choose to lust after women on the screen instead of giving their heart in love to the woman in their marriage bed. Lust leads to heartless acts, void of love. Lust does not equal love, nor does it lead to love. It only leads to loneliness and lovelessness.
"I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:28
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