To Hear God You Must Cultivate An Open Mind
By Rick Warren
— March 9, 2011
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.” Luke 8:5 (NIV)
"Sometimes we don't give God a chance to talk. Our minds are made up, our hearts are hardened, and we're unwilling to listen."
In Luke 8, Jesus uses the Parable of the Four Soils to give us the keys to hearing God speak.
In Jesus’ day, farmers didn’t have tractors or planters. To sow seed, the farmer would take the bag of seed, go out and cast it, or throw it, out over the ground. As he threw it, the seed landed on different kinds of soil. The seed would sprout, grow, and bear fruit depending which type of soil it fell on.
In this parable, the farmer represents God, the seed represents his Word, and the soil represents the four different kinds of responses you can have when God is trying to talk to you.
If you want to hear God speak, you must first cultivate an open mind. You have to be willing, ready, and eager to hear from him so you can receive what he has to say.
When Jesus talked about the hard soil (the path) in Luke 8, he was talking about a person’s resistance to hearing God. Do you know anyone who is like a footpath – narrow-minded with a hard heart? No matter what you say about God, they are not going to listen because they already have their minds made up.
Sometimes we don’t give God a chance to talk. Our minds are made up, our hearts are hardened, and we’re unwilling to listen. We have the hardened soil of a closed mind.
What can cause us to have a closed mind? There are three mental blocks:
- Pride. We decide we don’t need God’s help because we can handle things on our own. We don’t pray because our pride says we can take care of the problem.
- Fear. We’re afraid of what God might say to us. What if he asks us to do something we don’t want to do?
- Bitterness. When we hold on to a hurt and choose not to forgive, our hearts grow hard. We become defensive and resistant God’s love, his Word, and his voice.
What is the antidote to a hardened heart? “Get rid of all filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your soul” (James 1:21 NLT). Get rid of all the garbage, the TV, movies, books, magazines, games and websites you shouldn’t be indulging in, and humbly accept God’s Word.
The key phrase in that verse is “humbly accept.” Pray to God and say, “Lord, I admit I tried to figure it out on my own. It didn’t work, so I’m going to listen to you.” That’s the first step.
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