ZECHARIAH 12:10 – And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
THEME OF THE DAY. KEEPING A TENDER HEART. There are a lot of dangers confronting us in our world today. Just a daily sampling of cable news paints an ever-increasing picture that is frightening, worrisome, and shows no sign of getting better. For the follower of Christ, we know this. We are warned about the last days before Christ returns. The Apostle Paul calls these days “times of difficulties.” He writes of such to his son in the faith, Timothy, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5). But Christians face another danger. It might not be something we think about enough and that reveals the danger may actually have “captured” us.
In our Lord’s last public teaching, He warns His disciples and us of what last days before His coming will be like. He said, “As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:3-14).
Pay attention to the portion of Jesus’ words I placed in bold text. This is one of, if not the greatest, spiritual dangers we face as Christians; a heart growing cold or desensitized to the violence, sin, rebellion, and anti-God sentiment saturating our culture. We are so surrounded by sin; so exposed to the evils of the world readily available through the internet, news, and social media that if we are not spiritually on guard, we will become numb. And when spiritual sensitivity is lost so is Biblical Christianity and the salt and light we are to be in the culture is removed.
So, how do we prevent this spiritual callousness from coming upon us? Today’s scripture. Two applications. First, beg, yes, beg God, to keep us in a praying posture. Notice where the spirit of prayer originates. Not us, but the Lord who pours out the spirit of prayer for mercies. Remember, we never initiate any spiritual movements. If we are prompted to prayer, it is from God and one purpose of His prompting is to prevent a spiritually desensitized people. The other thing to do to keep a tender heart is to remember often the death of Jesus on the cross – when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. Nothing keeps a heart tender more than meditating upon our Suffering Savior. Visit His sufferings often. It will prevent a cold heart.
We live in dangerous times, but remember the danger that is worst of all for the believer – a cold heart. Guard against it. The whole of our Christian life depends upon such guardedness.
PRAYER: “Father, help me keep my eyes on Your Suffering Son that my heart may be tender toward Your Saving Son.”
QUOTE: “Never drift away from meditating upon the sufferings of Christ and do so remembering it was for you.”