A Malleable Heart. What does that mean?
There are some things that are best when they are “hard” – like ice or concrete. Cement just wouldn’t be the same if was “soft”, and though steel must be “softened” in order to form it into various shapes, it only becomes useful after it has hardened. Personally, I prefer my marshmallows hardened or stale for some strange reason. Some people prefer a crunchy cookie as opposed to a soft, chewy one. Chocolate is one of those wonderful treats that can be enjoyed soft – as in syrup or fondue – or hard, as in the form of your favorite candy bar or frozen chocolate dessert! Other things are only best when soft (like real leather), and steps must be taken to keep them in that condition or they will become useless for their intended purpose.
Hearts fall into that category, too. Even though hearts were created to be soft and easily touched, exposure to the “elements” of this world – like selfishness and sin – tend to make our heart prideful and self-occupied, resulting in a hardness of heart that reveals its condition in moodiness and greediness. Such a hard heart doesn’t happen overnight. Like the hardening of arteries it slowly progresses, little by little and nearly unnoticed, until our life is wholly affected.
The only remedy that Scripture offers for the “hard” heart is the infusion of His Word. For the sinner, this infusion results in a spiritual transplant where God takes our “stony” heart and gives us a “soft” heart in its place. That “new” heart, which comes by yielding to and trusting in Jesus, is not only a miracle of spiritual re-birth but it is the only way communication and relationship can be established between us and God. The Lord graciously gives us this new heart that brings our first taste of eternity and heaven while we are still on this earth, and opens our minds to the life-changing instruction of God’s Word. Even though this new heart can become hardened like the old one, it can be “re-softened” through the same infusion of God’s Word. It is part of the joy and adventure of this new life to learn how to keep it soft! As we infuse our hearts with God’s Word, life grows fuller and brighter as we walk in the soul-softening warmth of His love.
How exciting to be His people,
Pastor David Vanderpool