Luke 23:39-40 Then one of the criminals who was hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?
There is a mystery that continues to baffle me. I know the theological answer through the Parable of the Sower, but I still wonder why some people find it easy to turn to God, to run toward Him and believe. Yet, others are filled with cynicism, doubt, and unbelief.
Here we have one criminal casting insults at Jesus. Yet the other, even whilst hanging on a cross finds his heart is softened and he seeks Jesus’ forgiveness.
One heart is hardened and the other is softened. Why is this?
Why do some people freely hear and freely give, whilst others find it so difficult to give and even to receive a gift, saying – "what’s the catch here?"
Obviously, it has a lot to do with the influence of the environment we have all grown up in. But what about when two people grow up in similar environments? I find it fascinating that two people can be subject to a similar message and yet, respond differently. The ‘attitude of your heart’ is the key.
There is a great passage in Proverbs 4:23-27 that provides us with some wisdom into this mystery:
23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.
The heart is the centre of life. We have to protect our heart. How we treat it and what we allow it to receive, will determine whether it grows hard and cynical or soft and humble.
Proverbs reveals three things that influence the heart:
1. Vs 24: Your words – Words are powerful. Speak words of life and not death over situations and people.
2. Vs 25: Your eyes – they are the windows to the soul. Fix your eyes upon Jesus allowing Him to become the image you are growing into.
3. Vs 26, 27: Your choices – When you choose to find yourself regularly in the house of God, that’s going to produce the right heart within you. This is how you protect your heart – it’s through your words, what you focus your eyes and mind on, and the choices you are making everyday.
When you feel yourself becoming cynical, negative or picky, this is a time to make an adjustment, a correction. Don’t act on the cynicism, the negativity or pickiness. Do the opposite. That’s how you protect your heart.