Over the years, I have read several stories about people who said they spent some great portion of their lives searching for the “truth”. Some of them searched in literal places, like Calcutta and the summit of Mt. Everest. Others searched in the texts of ancient Greek philosophers, like Socrates and Aristotle. Still others searched in various “holy” books like the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and yes, even the Holy Bible. I wonder what kind of heart these people were searching with, was it hard or soft?
A proud and hard heart says that it takes some great effort on your part to seek God and find “truth”. A soft and humble heart says it takes no effort on your part; all of the effort was taken on the part of Jesus Christ at the cross.
To compare hard vs. soft in this context, think of a sponge that is not completely dried out. It is soft and porous, able to receive any liquid poured onto to it, until it’s filled to capacity. Liquid that is poured onto the sponge becomes liquid that is poured into the sponge. Now think of a sponge that is completely dried out. It is hard and has become non-porous. Liquid poured onto this sponge just rolls right off the sides. If the liquid stops pouring the sponge stays hard.
A soft heart is an open door and a hard heart is a closed door. If you search for the truth with a hard heart you will not find it. If you search for the Truth with a soft heart, it will find you. The Truth is the Spirit of God. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6). “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
Just like at the command of Elisha the tender faith of a widow filled vessels with oil, your tender faith can fill your heart with the Spirit of God. Open the door of your heart to receive the Holy Spirit and He will enter in. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).
Jesus wants to forgive your sin of unbelief but first you must believe that He will forgive you. Upon believing, all of your past sins will be forgiven, including your sin of prior unbelief. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
After you were born of “water” you took your first breath of air. After you put your faith in Jesus, you will be born again of the Spirit. “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘you must be born again’’” (John 3:5-7).
When you become born again, God will seal you with His Holy Spirit. “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
The Holy Spirit will keep you from falling away, even if you stumble during times of weakness, because God cannot deny Himself. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
Yes, the Lord can rain His truth down upon your heart many times, but if your heart is not tender ground the truth will sound like raindrops on a hard metal roof. “For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45b).
“The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred” (Mark 4:14-15, 20).
A soft and tender heart will accept the truth of the gospel. If you open the door of your heart God will open the door of opportunity for service to Him. The door of opportunity at the church of Laodicea is closed because their hearts are hard toward the truth of Christ. In contrast, the door of the church in Philadelphia is open because their hearts are soft to God’s truth.
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name’” (Revelation 3:7a, 8).
The soft heart of Philadelphia allows God to enter in, and as a result they will not deny His name because He “cannot deny Himself”. The heart of Laodicea is hardened to Christ and its door is closed. If you are searching for the Truth with an open heart He will come in.
Is that a knock I hear? Can you get the door?