So often, as we draw nearer to God and he removes our heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh, we come to see the world differently. Compassion replaces disdain, concern replaces judgement, pity replaces scorn.
But we can also experience times of spiritual atrophy in which we outwardly appear the same, participate in the same activities, and use the same words, but our once softened heart becomes hardened yet again. This condition can sneak up on us unawares and we can become hardened without realizing it. Simple things like schedule changes, life transitions, and new routines can separate us from the daily spiritual renewal that keeps our hearts soft.
What is the remedy?
No amount of spiritual activity can shield us from this slipping. Spiritual activity, done out of obligation and not love, can actually contribute to the hardening.
Only daily seeking of God through his word, sincere prayer, and humble confession can keep us steady on the path of soft-hearted, God-fueled love. It’s only in seeing our moral bankruptcy before a Holy God, and daily receiving the mercy offered us through Jesus, that we can continually look on the struggling with compassion and grace. Otherwise we will forget the unfathomable patience of our God and grow increasingly impatient with our fellow man.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:26-28)