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IEA Devo 2021 HardenedHearts • Becoming a Disciple-Maker

Hardened Hearts – The Disciple-Making Lifestyle

“they had not understood about the loaves
because their hearts were hardened.”
(Mark 6:52)


Part One

You may not realize it – when your own heart is in a hardened state. However, there is one sure way to find out about your condition. Simply look behind you! See if you can recognize where and how God’s hand has been guiding and providing. If you can understand the spiritual significance related to yesterday’s provision (the loaves), then you should have no difficulty in trusting the Lord during your next assignment. Reflect on the lessons learned by the disciples through the miraculous feeding of the 5,000. Jesus’ power proved adequate for every situation.

After feeding the multitude, Jesus helped the 12 understand His relationship with nature. He did this effortlessly by walking across the Sea of Galilee which He created! Because He made the water in every ocean, walking on water posed no problem! The message behind every miracle was the same vivid reminder. We can fully trust in who He really is, has always been, and will always be. He will forever have power over everything that He made. The Bible says, “… All things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)


Part Two


While the first century’s uncertain world lingered in amazement over the events that were taking place, many people’s hearts were hardened by their doubts (see John 6:63-66). However, most of Jesus’ disciples continued to mature. They grew because they did not skeptically seek to reason away what they were observing. Nor did they reject the awe-inspiring truths which they were hearing from the Lord (see John 6:67). Today, just like the first disciples, we are also being called to believe and follow our Master. Our sincere trust brings the many facets of life together. By faith, we experience His power and the joy of life’s intended purpose.

While walking on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus exclaimed, “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid. Then He got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded.” (Mark 6:50-51) Why? Simply because their faith was still young and growing. It required time for the 12 to comprehend what it meant to actually be in the presence of their Creator! They had not yet personally understood the important spiritual lesson of “the loaves.” Their own hardened hearts were still the enemy of their understanding.


Part Three

Spiritual connection between hardened hearts, and the absence of sincere faith must not go unnoticed. Remember that these two factors are closely linked together like “cause and effect”. Stop to quietly think – what do you personally believe about God’s miracles? The Bible vividly describes each one of them as fully reliable historic facts! Over the centuries they repeatedly took place and were observed by countless people. Moreover, they occurred because God specifically planned for them to validate heaven’s redeeming message. As an example, Jesus said, “… if you do not believe Me, believe the works that I do…” (John 10:38)

It was through the Lord’s healing concern, miraculous signs, and sinless character that our Father revealed His Son’s messianic identity and purpose! This is why Jesus’ miracles are called signs. As an illustration, the Lord continually created the flow of broken pieces of fish and bread as the thousands were fed! The twelve each watched this miracle spontaneously taking place. Writing about this later Luke records, “… He kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people.” (vs. 9:16). However, sadly, the twelve were slow to grasp the important spiritual lesson being taught through this miraculous event.


Part Four

Beware of a hardened heart! A lack of sincere faith will leave your life spiritually empty and powerless. Without faith, you can accomplish nothing that is not logically explainable in human terms. Instead, remain steadfastly focused on seeking to become increasingly usable. Always trust and draw close to the One who continually kept creating the “loaves!” Through faith, as His activity increases in your daily life, you will experience new joy and the rewarding benefit of growing spiritual maturity. The Bible declares, “… it shall be done to you according to your faith.” (Matthew 9:29)

Today, as you have the privilege of ministering as the Lord’s witness, you can proceed with full boldness. Why? Because He can do anything through you – that pleases Him! The Bible clearly explains, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13) Obey Him with a tender heart and simply ask Him – to let you experience whatever He most desires!

By Billie Hanks Jr.

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