Harden not your heart

Hebrews 3:8-10 KJVS
[8] Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: [9] When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. [10] Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Sufferings, trials, afflictions and even temptations are allowed by God in our lives for a reason. In the midst of a grievous trail it is easy to lose sight of that fact. For years the words “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation in the wilderness” echoed in my mind. A incomplete spinal cord injury can be quite painful and frustrating, naturally after 30 years a man can oftentimes become bitter and develop a hard heart. Many a time I have repented of having a hardening and embittered heart towards God. Many a time God has softened and lifted that great weight off my heart by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5. The definition for the Greek word translated as “temptation” in verse 8 is full of meaning in regards of knowing the ways of God.

G3986 peirasmos pi-ras-mos’

from G3985;

a putting to proof (by experiment (of good), experience (of evil), solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication, adversity.

KJV: temptation, X try.

God is putting to the proof the godly character He is instilling in those of us in the body of Christ. I remember Army boot camp in 1971, a war was going on, and the drill instructors made life very hard for every one involved. They were trying to get raw recruits ready for war. Obedience and discipline was hammered into every man. Not only was the body being brought into shape but a willing and obedient mind also. Back then I was in good shape, as my father worked me like a man since I was a child. I grew up along the Mississippi river, climbing the hills and bluffs, taking long walks in the woods. I could scamper up trees like a monkey. So in boot camp, I could easily do all the drills and physical training, obstacle courses and so on, quite easily. I had a little bit of a attitude, a bit cocky and towards the end of basic training the drill instructors kind of keyed in on me, even taking it to the point of trying to push me into a fight. They wanted to put me in my place, humble me. Even though I had done everything they asked of me and was in good shape, I was not torn down and humbled to the point where I was obedient from what they deemed the proper motivation driving the obedience. This is a apt analogy of what God is doing with justifying and sanctifying the members of the body of Christ. A humble Spirit and contrite heart is not something you can fake, especially with someone who knows the thoughts and intents of the heart, Heb 4:12 . Paul makes a analogy of being a soldier in 2 Timothy.

2 Timothy 2:3-7 KJVS
[3] Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. [4] No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. [5] And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. [6] The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. [7] Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

God has chosen us to be soldiers in Christ but our warefare is not carnal.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 KJVS
[4] (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) [5] Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

And Paul’s words are still a challenge and call to duty for the body of Christ today. It is not a easy thing bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Especially when we are being tested and tried. It is all about the heart. Those in the wilderness always erred in their hearts and we are warned not to develop a evil heart of unbelief.

Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

We are kept by by the power of God through faith and faith worketh by love, 1Pe 1:5, Ga 5:6. Keep in mind that the qualities God is developing in us, are the fruit of the Spirit. Love , joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. These are not the qualities with which the people in this world hold in high esteem but we are not of the world. If you look at the definition for the word “kingdom” as it is used in the New Testament, in regards to the Kingdom of God you will find a interesting fact.

_____Strongs_____

G932 basileia bas-il-i’-ah

from G935;

properly, royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm (literally or figuratively).

KJV: kingdom, + reign.

The very first part of the definition is,”properly, royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule”. The kingdom of God is largely associated with Jesus Christ and those that will rule and reign with him for a thousand years. The members of his body, the body of Christ, are being prepared by God for this task and a good many of the churches in this world have entangled themselves with the affairs of this world, 2Ti 2:4, and have lost sight of this fact. Maybe that is what it means in He 13:12&13, when it says we are to go outside the camp. In the coming age, the age of righteousness, things will be much different, in that those that rule and reign with Christ, will be no longer subject to the lusts of the flesh, as they will have died to the flesh. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, Ro 8:3. It will not be the same old same old of the last 6 thousand years. Peace, equity and love for God and one another will rule in that 1,000 year long day. It helps if one keeps this in mind when he is being tested, tried and chastised by God.

Hb 12: 11, Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.