I’m not calling you a nut. Really! Just keep that in mind as you read. Ok, well, maybe I am just a little. Yeah, you’re right, I called you a nut. Sorry, but anyway…
I shelled some pecans this morning – picking out those delectable, delicious bits of goodness. The thought struck me that this is so much like our hearts. I don’t know if you’ve ever shelled pecans or if you have ever taken time to examine the shell and inner parts of the pecan.
The hard, wooden shell around the outside we know about. It has to be broken in order to access the good part of the pecan. But even within the pecan there is inside the two halves a division. That division is made up of some of the bitterest stuff known to man. If you’ve ever bit into a bite of pecan pie and suddenly experienced a strong, bitter taste then you know that someone failed to pick out all the bad parts. The interesting thing is that those bitter portions grow with the nut and they are shaped and wedged into the fruit of the nut very tightly. This makes it hard to remove it all.
How is our heart like that pecan? Well, we have built up a hard shell around our heart. We resist the working of the Lord in our lives many times. We don’t want Him poking and prodding and removing all the barriers and walls we have erected. But it needs to happen if we are ever going to reach our God-given potential.
So, yes, the Lord cracks open the hard shell. He removes the bitterness from our hearts so that all we meet will encounter the incredible difference that Christ makes when He makes a man’s heart His home.
The problem lies in the fact that we deceive our own selves and lie to ourselves and pretend that all is well. We excuse and rationalize and justify our sorry behavior. Ultimately, though, God’s Word is the hammer that can crack open even the hardest heart. I’m thankful the Lord specializes in hard cases like you and me.
I’m also thankful that Jesus Christ left heaven and became a man. He fully identified with you and me in His life and especially in His death. He died on a cross to save me from my sin. When He broke through the wall of unbelief and resistance I had built up around my heart I was changed forever. I’m still not perfect. He’s digging out those bitter portions from my heart.
You have a choice. You can keep your nuttiness, your hard shell and those bitter divisions that make your heart so hard. Or you can turn to Christ and ask Him to crack you open and dig out all the bad stuff. You can give up your life to Jesus or you can keep it for yourself. Except, ultimately, you can’t keep it.
We have to die to who we have been so that we can have life forever.
I pray that this new year will be a time that God will do a mighty work in our hearts. There are worse things than having a hard head. But a hard heart is one that’s tough to overcome. May God richly bless you and your family in 2017!
Bro. Tim Hobbs
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.” (John 12:24–25, NLT)