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God is Not Hard-hearted

For the first time this year, I bought a little desk calendar with a tear- off page for each day of the year. Each day has a Bible verse, and today’s scripture was one of those. I looked at it and thought, “Does it really say ‘willing to yield to others’? I don’t remember seeing that before in the Bible.”

Being a bit curious, I went online to see what the original word in Greek means, and its literal meaning is ‘well persuaded’ or ‘already inclined’ (already willing, predisposed to be favourable). It’s translated in a variety of ways in different versions of the Bible, such as: ‘submissive’, ‘easy to be entreated’, ‘open to reason’, ‘friendly’, ‘yielding’, ‘easy to be persuaded’, ‘easy to please’, ‘compliant’, ‘willing to yield’, ‘allows discussion’, ‘reasonable’, ‘accommodating’, ‘willing to obey’, ‘listens to what other people say’, ‘persuadable’.

This is a description of wisdom; the wisdom which comes from above. And that means that it’s a description of God’s character (it comes from above). I wonder if we see God in that way. He’s gentle and willing to yield to us. He’s willing to be persuaded. In fact, He’s already willing before we ask, because He’s predisposed to be favourable towards us, His children.

There are many examples in the Bible of God being willing to yield when asked. Moses cried out to God on behalf of the people, and God relented from punishing them as they deserved. When Abraham asked God not to destroy Sodom if there were some righteous people there, God agreed to Abraham’s request. Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18 to encourage us not to stop praying, because God wants to help us. Many of the psalms also speak about God listening to prayer and responding (e.g. Psalm 22:24). He allows discussion and listens to what people say. He’s not hard-hearted.

Of course, God loves us too much to give us everything we ask regardless of whether or not it’s good for us. He knows vastly more than we do, and has infinite wisdom. He also knows what the obstacles are to giving us the good things we’re asking for.

There are many such obstacles, because of our fallen world, which is why we may need persistence and patience in prayer, while God overcomes spiritual blockages on our behalf. But when we’re asking for things we know are God’s will, let’s remember that apparent lack of response from God is not lack of interest. He’s very open to being persuaded by our prayers. There’s something in His heart towards us that’s like a person with a soft heart towards a young child. He wants to give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4).

Do you see God as hard-hearted? I wonder if that could be a reflection of your experiences of how adults were when you were a child? Your Heavenly Father isn’t like that. He’s soft-hearted towards you. He’s compassionate, kind and loving. Can you start to believe this? If we hold on to wrong beliefs about God’s character, it can become one of those spiritual blockages I just mentioned.

The verse is speaking about wisdom that comes from above. It’s not only a description of God’s character, but also of the character He wants to develop in us. Am I soft-hearted? How willing am I to yield to someone’s request? Am I gentle at all times? It may seem unwise to be too soft-hearted, but God says it’s actually a feature of true wisdom to listen to others and to be willing to yield, out of love, not out of fear. As we get to know God as He really is, we will become more and more like Him. Isn’t that a wonderful goal?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I really want to thank You for Your wonderful, gentle, kind character. Thank You for all the times You’ve answered my prayers. Thank You that You’re soft hearted towards me. Please forgive me for any wrong beliefs I have about You. Help me to get to know the real You. Thank You, Amen.
 

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Scripture

"But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favouritism and is always sincere."
James 3:17, NLT

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Today's Writer

Grace Bull is a member of the Ellel Ministries team, working in course development and the support of Ellel centres worldwide, having previously been a full-time GP (family doctor) for 15 years. Her passion is relationship with God and doing anything that will help other people to find that close relationship too.

Grace Bull


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